Priming before painting isn’t always necessary – not any more.  Many paints have primers built-in and so the extra step isn’t necessary.  There are times though when priming is a must.  If you’re covering stained walls, walls with smoke odors, or if you have a mildew problem, then you’ll need to take this extra step.  We did need to prime the ceiling after we had the 1970’s popcorn ceiling removed*, so we primed all the surfaces.

Priming the walls after patching and before painting

Priming the walls after patching and before painting

Before you prime the walls must be clean and dry.  We primed after using a TSP substitute to remove wallpaper paste, dirt, and debris and then we allowed it to dry.  We checked for peeling paint and sanded any lose areas.  We also patched the nail holes left behind by removing our 1990’s decor from the walls with Spackle.

The hubby used a small 2″ wide Spackle knife and overfills the holes and then sands off the excess when it dries.  While this is technically the correct way to do it, I think his method is too time consuming. I use my finger and fill the hole then fade the Spackle out from the hole so it mimics the wall’s texture – no sanding necessary!  Whatever way you decide to do it, be sure the hole is filled well and the allow the Spackle to dry completely (check the container’s instructions for average drying time) before beginning your priming.

Once the walls are clean, dry, and patched the priming can begin. Be sure you have adequate ventilation – we used a fan in the room and had the window open.  My husband chose KILZ® PREMIUM PRIMER which is water-based and can be used in interior and exterior applications.  It does have less VOC and odor than the oil version, but it’s not no-VOC.

KILZ  does have an option that’s greener, their KILZ CLEAN START® PRIMER which is no-VOC and low odor.  I wish he’d chosen that type, but my husband did make some concessions to my wishes by going with the water-based option.  This is a can we had leftover from another project and I’ve request that we try the no-VOC option next time.  If it’s available locally, I suspect he’ll give it a try.

Priming the walls after patching and before painting

Priming the walls after patching and before painting - Kilz Premium Water-based Primer

We chose to prime because of the vast difference in color between the top and bottom portions of the wall and the possibility of wallpaper paste residue even after cleaning with the TSP alternative.  Also, we hadn’t chosen the paint at this point in the project and didn’t know we’d ultimately go with a paint and primer in one.  Still, the one coat of primer gave the walls a fresh and even start and had we had a mold or odor problem, it would have taken care of that as well.

Next up:  Finally the wall color is going on!

*It’s illegal in our county to remove a popcorn ceiling on your own – check with your locality before attempting this DIY project.


Previous DIY Master Bedroom Makeover Articles

Previous DIY Articles

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