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How to Prime Walls for Painting

If it's time to redecorate, a little extra time priming your walls can help you paint like a pro.


  • Step 1: Decide if your walls need priming Assess your walls. Patched, sanded, stained, bare wood, and darker-color painted need priming. Primer also works well if you are applying latex paint over an oil-based coat. Pain
  • TIP: When priming your walls, keep a window or door open so fumes can escape.
  • Step 2: Choose primer Choose between latex and oil-based primer. Latex primer is an inexpensive, all-purpose choice. Choose an oil-based primer if you have a dark stain and are opting for lighter paint color.
  • Step 3: Shade primer Bring your paint-color sample when purchasing primer. Primers are white, but tinted ones are available to match your top coat.
  • Step 4: Apply primer Lay down the dropcloths, and apply the primer with a brush, a roller, or paint sprayer.
  • TIP: If you don't want to prime your entire wall, spot prime to cover trouble areas.
  • Step 5: Let primer dry Let the primer dry for 24 hours. Dry time will depend on the type of primer used, if the walls are porous or sealed, and if the room is hot or humid.
  • Step 6: Paint Follow up with a great paint job.
  • FACT: Latex paint is actually water-based, with the paint itself forming miniscule droplets in the water.

You Will Need

  • Dropcloths
  • Latex or oil-based primer
  • Paint sample
  • Brush
  • Roller
  • Tinted primer (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • Paint sprayer (optional) (optional) (optional)

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