What Is Primer? Types Of Primer | Uses Of Primer | Advantages And Disadvantages


What Is Primer?

Primer is an undercoat sticky, flat paint without any pigment that is developed to stick well, and it delivers a consistent base for the top coatings of paint.

If a surface is not coated with primer, you will likely need additional paint coats for good coverage, and the paint may not stick as well to the actual surface as it would to the primer.

The main purpose of primer application is to attain a polished and professional look to the material.

Primers also help to seal any porous surface and control the material from absorbing paint by making a barrier between the paint and material. It also helps in controlling the cracking and chipping of the paint coatings.

There are various types of primer obtainable in the market. But one should take into account the primer supported the surface, material to be applied.

Types Of Primer || Primer used In Construction 

There are mostly three types of primer that are used in construction:

1. Oil Based Primer

2. Latex Primer

3. Shellac Primer

Each and every type of primer comes with various Advantages and Disadvantages, which we will discuss below in detail.


Oil-based primers are the numerous preferred primer and have been used for decades. Oil-based primers work satisfactorily with oil. and latex paints making them more universal for application on various surfaces.

Oil-based primers are most suggested for materials like Wood, Steel, other metals, and surfaces with existing paint, such as interior and exterior walls. 

Advantages Of Oil-Based Primer

1. Oil-based primers are superior at standing temperature changes and they provide an elastic surface that controls the paint coats from expanding or contracting due to temperature variations.

2. Oil-based primers are sufficiently suitable for areas with a lot of hand contact because they help control stains.

3. Any permeable wood surface can be sealed using oil-based primers, and these kinds of primers are used to prevent tannins from percolating through the paint product.

4. Oil-based primer is suitable for unfinished wood, formerly varnished wood, and heavily weathered wood.

Disadvantages Of Oil-Based Primer

1. Oil-based primers require a well-ventilated work area and protection kits during application as they produce significant VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

2. The drying period is too long; they take around or more than a full day.

3. Cleaning oil-based primer is tough from painting tools.

4. It is not a significant practice to use Oil-based primers directly on masonry. Surfaces of raw wood, raw drywall, and patched walls, and rough or stained surfaces are numerous ideal for this kind of primer.


Latex primer is a water-based acrylic primer, and it is a healthy alternative for those concerned with VOCs(volatile organic compounds).

Used on dry surfaces materials like softwood, bricks, and concrete are ideal for this primer type as the water base helps to deliver a thin and even coat before you apply paint.

These are the best choices for painting spaces for children rooms or occupants with breathing problems. Latex primer is utilised either with latex paint or acrylic paint.

Advantages Of Latex Primers

1. The drying time of Latex primers is rapid than the oil-based primer, Usually taking 3 to 5 hrs (some time based on the dryness of surfaces) , and these are better flexible than oil-based primers.

2. Latex primers can cover repaired surfaces of wall, wood and make them even surface.

3. Latex primers do not make volatile organic compounds and provide a healthy climate.

4. Latex primers are water-based; hence, they are comfortable to clean off from paint supplies or equipment used during application.

5. Latex primers provide a better durable paint finish than oil-based primers.

Disadvantages Of Latex Primers

1. Staining and inadequate coverage on the surfaces are the main disadvantages of a latex primer.

2. Latex primer is not desired for hardwood and metal surfaces

3. Latex primers do not give perfect cracking resistance.


Used to seal some water damaged wood on a hardwood floor before placing a rug over it. These kinds of primers are the best choice for interior paint works. These are perfect in preventing stains and severe water and smoke harm to walls. It is used for metal, wood, plaster, plastic, etc. Shellac primer is mixed with oil or latex paints and used on wood and wall surfaces.

Advantages of Shellac Primer

1. Shellac primer is a quick-drying primer among further primers as it just takes 1 hour to obtain dryness, and it is highly sticky.

2. Shellac primer is used to seal wood knots, pitch pockets, and stubborn tannin bleeding.

3. Shellac primer has optimal stain-blocking qualities.

Disadvantages  of Shellac Primer

1. The major disadvantage of Shellac primers is that they are not as universal as latex or oil, and they create the most harmful fumes.

2. They need that you use denatured alcohol(tinner) to thin them and clean applicators.

Important questions related to  Primers

1. How many types of primers are there, and what are those?

There are three types of primers: 1) oil-based, 2) latex-based 3) shellac-based.

2. What are the volatile organic compounds?

Volatile organic compounds are chemical compounds that contain high vapour pressure and low water solubility. These chemical compounds can relate to the number of the sample's molecules in the surrounding air and create the air volatile.

3. What will happen if we didn't use primer on wood and wall surfaces?

Painting directly onto a material surface (especially the wood surface and metal surfaces ) can cause paint absorption by the material. This is a poor practice, and you'll end up going over your surface again (and again, and again).

Behind some time, peeling off paint takes place, which means you will require to recondition the painting again. Primers help you to reach a smoother surface. So it is always advised to use primer for long-lasting results.

4. What type of painting brush should I use for Primer?

It all depends on the kind of primer you are using. In the case of latex primer, synthetic brushes are suggested, and while in the case of oil primer, natural brushes are recommended.

5. How to prepare the surface before laying the primer?

The surface must be cleaned thoroughly with a cloth to clear dust without cracks or holes.

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