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Why You Should Use Primer on Furniture

These days, a lot of furniture paints claim to be the perfect all in one that you need. No prep, sanding, priming, or sealing needed. We all love convenience and saving time. Companies are built upon making life more easy for their customers. Minimal hassle and effort are appealing especially for a beginner. There are ways to cut corners and save your time, but as we all know, quality is not something that is minimal effort. A little bit of extra work here and there saves you time in the future. I’m going to explain why you should prime your furniture pieces before painting.

Peeling latex paint

Primers help with paint adhesion and can cut down the amount of layers you need to use with the paint you’re using. If you’re using thinner paints, a primer will save you time in painting. When I use certain milk paints or enamel paints, I will prime so that I get better coverage. Some milk paints are more sheer than chalk based paints so primer helps with coverage. Primers help you to get the best foundation you need in order to apply your paint.

Depending on the type of paint you use, a primer is necessary, such as with latex paint. Traditionally latex paint is meant for walls and walls are not high traffic areas like furniture pieces so cannot be scrubbed or cleaned with chemicals. Additional products are needed to make it suitable for the use of furniture. Latex is however cheaper than most of the boutique paints you can find on the market and can offer more variety of colors so it may be more practical for you. If you are painting on glass or plastic, a primer will help with adhesion as well. With a high traffic surfaces that get lots of wear, using a primer will help the durability.

If you are a painting with a light color such as white, a primer is your best friend. It will block staining which happens when wood tannins seep through the paint causing yellowing and bleed through. It will also cut down the amount of layers you need to get a full white coverage on furniture. Make sure you get the type of primer that is stain blocking as not all have this property. Primers can also block odors which you will inevitably encounter when refinishing antique and vintage furniture.

Many paint brands offer their own line of primers now. Wise Owl has an excellent primer that will save you a lot of extra effort work to get the perfect finish. There’s an abundance of choices out there. Just remember, primer helps with coverage so if you are wanting the color underneath to peek through or for the paint to chip, then you would not want to use primer. There are spray can primers and primers you use a brush or roller to apply. I like using the spray primer’s such as Rustoleum’s painters touch ultra cover for ease of application.

Spray primer used on desk before painting.

Metallic paints need a base such as primer to help with coverage. The nature of metallic paints makes them a bit sheer so using primer first will save you money with using less layers of metallic paints and give you a truer shade of the metallic paint. Modern Master’s has their own primers for warm tones and colder tones of their metallic paint colors. They come in beige and gray with customizable levels of darkness. It helps with adhesion and also helps enhances the shade of metallic paint you are using.

It may seem like an extra cost and effort to apply a primer but overall it actually saves you money and time. You can rest assured that your finish will stand the test of time as well with the proper prep which is the foundation for lasting durability. Do you need to prime all furniture pieces? No, it depends on the look and style you are wanting to achieve. If you are painting over an already painted piece then some scuff sanding will suffice unless the paint peels off easily just by scraping your nail on it. In that case, you will want to strip off the paint and just start with a clean slate as the proper prep was not done to begin with. If you are distressing and want the wood underneath to come through or going for a shabby chic look, primer may make it harder for you to get that rustic look especially if you are wet distressing.

Distressed chest of drawers.

If you are painting over metal, a rust blocking primer is wise to use such as the kind Rustoleum carries. Metal corrodes and a primer will help protect it from corrosion due to the paint you apply on it and natural elements. Not only does it protect the over coat but also what is underneath as well. If painting over raw wood, definitely prime first before painting.

Don’t take shortcuts when you are prepping your piece of furniture or surface. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig and hoping for the best results. Certain steps should not be skipped no matter what the paint brand advertises. For long lasting results, taking a couple extra steps saves you the hassle of having to repaint in the future.

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