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Old 11-08-2011, 05:58 PM   #31
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NEW DRYWALL, new addition, Need Primer


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Originally Posted by jschaben View Post
I'm not a pro, just a DIY type but found that if I don't prime when should, I'm gonna have problems. Conversely, if I prime whether I need to or not, I don't have problems.
That's a pretty good way to put it.

Priming is certainly not a problem. The problem is confusion, caused mostly by the manufacturers and stores. I actually know people who think, as you do, "prime before painting". Well you can never get into trouble this way. But you can waste time and money.

Example. Master bedroom, drywall finished properly. Drywall primed properly. Drywall finished properly with good quality paint, let's say flat (to remove the sheen variable from the argument.) 1 year later, with the room in good condition, they decide they want a new color, again in flat. "Prime before I paint." Complete waste of time.

This wouldn't even be so bad if I did it, because I get paint at a discount and I can prime that room in about 2 hours. But the homeowner spends 6 hours doing it, with the added cost of 2 gallons of primer. Not only that, but inexperienced painters are more likely to make mistakes, so you've got double the risk of a spill, overpaint, roller marks, drip marks, etc. on a job that didn't need any of it to begin with.

But as you said, in principle you can never be wrong to prime under anything that I can think of.

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Old 11-08-2011, 06:05 PM   #32
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To add to this discussion, if you really wanted to save a few bucks, tint the PRIMER, & apply ONE COAT of finish.......I would feel much more comfortable doing that as opposed to 2 coats of FLAT paint.
Yeah that is often the best idea. It's just that it sometimes saves a few bucks, and sometimes costs more. It only really saves when the square footage is a nice round number that matches with the spread rate of the primer and paint, or the primer costs *way* less than the paint

If you've got a 10x10x8 bedroom, then 1 gallon of $20 primer and 1 gallon of $30 paint, and Bob's your uncle - you just saved $10.

If you've got a 15x13x9 bedroom, then 2 gallons of primer (1 coat) and 2 gallons of paint (1 coat) and you just lost $10 (3 gallons of paint gives 2 coats.) Not that it's $10 poorly spent necessarily....
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:46 PM   #33
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Jeff, rarely do you have to prime a room that has already been painted. Only if it's a deep color like red or if it has a high gloss would you ever consider a primer on a repaint. I would never try to sell a customer on repriming his walls unless it was absolutely necessary.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:13 PM   #34
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Jeff, rarely do you have to prime a room that has already been painted. Only if it's a deep color like red or if it has a high gloss would you ever consider a primer on a repaint. I would never try to sell a customer on repriming his walls unless it was absolutely necessary.
I would add to that - and this is obviously a rather extreme exception - when painted walls are so old & filthy & chalky that you just don't want to take a chance.

We bought an investment house, about 4 years ago, that was built in the early 60s. I'm pretty sure that some of the rooms had the original paint - and you can imagine what shape that paint was in. I decided that for the (approx) extra $25 per room for good primer, it was well worth it to just prime everything and be done with it. It was the right choice. The paint in all the rooms still looks as good as new.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:34 PM   #35
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ok- as long as were looking at exceptions to the rule- when going to eggshell (or even matte) from builders flat it is a real good idea too.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:35 PM   #36
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I would add to that - and this is obviously a rather extreme exception - when painted walls are so old & filthy & chalky that you just don't want to take a chance.
I'm actually working on a house right now built in the 60s, with gross walls. They're getting a TSP substitute no-rinse cleaning. But that's basically like a primer, since it's a deglosser and also leaves something on the wall that paint bonds well to. Ceilings are yellowed and water stained looking, so they've gotten BIN, as has the trim.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:40 PM   #37
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Jeff, rarely do you have to prime a room that has already been painted. Only if it's a deep color like red or if it has a high gloss would you ever consider a primer on a repaint. I would never try to sell a customer on repriming his walls unless it was absolutely necessary.
Yeah, just letting the guy know that always priming by default is OK, but you'll be wasting your time and money sometimes.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:52 PM   #38
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I'm actually working on a house right now built in the 60s, with gross walls. They're getting a TSP substitute no-rinse cleaning. But that's basically like a primer, since it's a deglosser and also leaves something on the wall that paint bonds well to. Ceilings are yellowed and water stained looking, so they've gotten BIN, as has the trim.
Yeah... In the house I was speaking of in Post #34, I ran into some weird unidentifiable stains. One was on the wall where the head of a bed had been. I think somebody spent years sleeping with his greasy hair rubbing on the wall all night every night. Bizarre & gross. Some of the other stains were beyond recognition of any kind.

Primer. Yep!
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:10 PM   #39
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Bizarre & gross. Some of the other stains were beyond recognition of any kind.
Some of these older houses for sale - especially foreclosures - the mind reels imagining what might have been going on to cause those......
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:27 PM   #40
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Something that can have 2 different outcomes does not make it a "crapshoot". Listen carefully to what I'm saying. You guys are saying if you don't prime, the paint job will fail. You're wrong. It won't necessarily fail, and it won't necessarily look bad.
Then remove the probablity of it "not Necessarily" failing and go with the sure thing. The ones who will insist on priming have probably had to fix a few jobs where no primer was used, myself included.
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:49 PM   #41
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Then remove the probablity of it "not Necessarily" failing and go with the sure thing.
Hey, do what you want. I'm just telling the truth to homeowners listening. It's a basic risk/reward calculation we make consciously or subconsciously every time we do a home improvement task. You can make your headers over doors out of 2x12s instead of 2x6s as well, to go with a "sure thing". You can put on 4 coats of finish so your color is a "sure thing". You can prime over a painted wall before painting again just to be sure. I've seen enough unprimed examples of good results to know that sometimes it's not worth priming. If I have to redo 1 out of 10 of those choices because I figured wrong, it's worth it. And don't forget priming isn't a sure thing anyway. That can go wrong too and you still might have to redo it. Maybe you like water based products, and you try to block a water stain with water based primer because the label said it would. But it didn't. You took a chance, now do it over.

But hey, do whatever you want.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:02 PM   #42
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True, nothing is a sure thing, but you can stack the odds in your favor. Also, tell the homeowner that a coat of primer may cost a little more but will give you peace of mind. But re-doing it can be a huge mess with peeling paint. Redoing 1 out of 10 jobs is not a good ratio.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:15 PM   #43
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Also, tell the homeowner that a coat of primer may cost a little more but will give you peace of mind. Redoing 1 out of 10 jobs is not a good ratio.
When I say "homeowner", I mean the people listening here. If I'm working in a homeowner's house who is a customer, I'm not skipping the primer, as I mentioned earlier. But I've done it rooms in houses I've lived in, and I've seen the results in dozens of other peoples houses.

I was being completely arbitrary with 1 in 10, but since you went with it, it's a fantastically profitable ratio depending on what you're redoing. For example, I will often spot prime some ceiling water stains. After spot priming and painting one ceiling, I realized half the ceiling had some sort of pale water discoloration, which was hard to tell because of the crappy texture job. I had to stain block the whole ceiling and repaint. Make that mistake only once in ten and you just saved a whole bunch of time and money. I'm certainly not priming every previously painted ceiling I repaint.

If it were a risk like having to take off your finish and completely strip and start from scratch, that's probably a different calculation.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:32 PM   #44
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No pro here, a true DIYer.

I always use a Sheetrock primer, it just seems to even out all the bad seams and awful sanding areas I tend to leave behind! Could be just my imagination.
As far as a brand goes, I don't go with anything special for drywall primer.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:12 PM   #45
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Jeff, if you won't do it in a customer's home, don't recommend that people do it here, period. They may not be paying, but in a sense, the readers here are our customers. If you're here as a homeowning DIY, then identify yourself as such so that people can apply the appropriate weight to your advice. If you're a pro, then act like one, and make recommendations that meet professional standards. All of this arguing for the sake of arguing about whether you have to do, or not do, something is a waste. Do you want an HO to come back here with a problem and say that this was the advice he took from you? What we could discuss and advise on a pro forum is not the same here, and arguing about what is and what isn't good advice only confuses and could come back to haunt. Step it up.

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