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Can You Prime And Paint On The Same Day?

Priming and painting the walls are usually the last things to be done before finally moving in furniture and completing your remodeling or building project. Some might feel too eager to get it over with to see the final result, or maybe the project deadline is approaching soon. Nevertheless, to know if you can prime and paint on the same day, we've found the answer for you.

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Priming then painting on the same day is doable only if you work with latex-based or shellac primers. On average, these two primers take about 1-3 hours to dry per coat.

On the other hand, if you are using an oil-based primer, you would need to wait for 4 hours up to a whole day for the coat to dry. Different surfaces require different primers, and different primers need varying amounts of time to dry before you can apply the paint to them.

So what are the things you need to know if you want to prime and paint on the same day? First, we must understand what the purpose of a primer is, then we’ll find out what primer best fits your project, and finally, we’ll discuss what factors play out and influence the length of time needed for the primer to dry. Stick around!

Roller is wetted in a liquid primer in a plastic container before painting the walls with paint of renovation room - Can You Prime And Paint On The Same Day

What happens if you don’t use a primer before painting?

Priming the wall with roller, hand in glove close-up, painting work

It is a generally accepted rule for experienced DIYers and paint professionals alike that a primer must come first before painting. The thought of skipping the primer might seem very tempting, especially since it feels like it would save you time, money, and energy, but that is the exact opposite of what it will do in the long run.

If you skip priming, there will be no surface for the paint to properly adhere to, resulting in easy peeling, flaking, and overall poor appearance of your paint job, especially if you are working with porous and uneven surfaces. 

Does primer cover wall imperfections?

A primer will cover wall imperfections, but only to a degree. This is why prepping your surface is very important before anything applying anything. One of the primer’s main functions is to cover the repairs, but not to function as the repair itself.

Holes or cracks cannot be fixed by a coat or two of primer, and so when these are the types of wall imperfections you are dealing with, the correct solution is to patch them with a spackling compound. Normal compounds take an average of 1-2 hours to dry, although professionals advise a 24-hour wait before sanding them and preparing them for priming and painting. 

What type of primer do you need?

Man painting window frame at home, closeup

Waiting time for a primer to dry varies on what type of primer you use. There are many different primers formulated for specific needs, but there are three most commonly used because they can solve a large scope of problem areas. 

Standard Latex Primer

This type of primer is water-based and dries within 2-4 hours, which is great for projects you want to finish in a day. This type of primer is used with acrylic or any water-based paints and works well on woodwork, drywall, plaster, and painted steel. 

Shellac Primer

Shellac primers are great for covering stains on the wall, such as water or smoke stains. Additionally, this primer also does a better job than standard primers when it comes to getting rid of odors on the walls that would not come off with scrubbing and washing. This primer is another good choice for one-day projects as it can be dry to touch in 60 minutes.

Oil-based Primers

Considered an industry-standard, oil-based primer can be used on walls with pre-existing oil-based paint on it, as well as on steel, other metals, and wood. Much like shellac primers, oil-based primers do wonders when hiding stubborn stains on walls, and not only that, but they can protect from stains as well. This type of primer takes the longest to dry, taking a whole day or even longer.

Is paint-and-primer-in-one good?

renovation relocation - painting walls and ceilings

Paint-and-primer-in-one products were created with the promise of convenience compared to buying a primer and a paint. However, in reality, these two-in-one or self-priming products are just a thicker blend of paint formulated to hide surface imperfections better than normal paint will.

That being said, paint-and-primer-in-one products are not all bad, and in fact will do well if the surface you are working on has already been primed prior, like an old wall that has paint on it. In this situation, then paint-and-primer-in-one will provide good coverage.

But again, this product would not hold well on an unprimed surface. A primer will support your paint well and will also act as a good base for colors to appear brighter and more solid. 

How many coats of primer do you need?

Different textured surfaces require a different number of primer coats before paint is applied. For painting a bare wall, two coats of primer are needed, as the first coat will most likely seep into the porous surface.

If the wall has a bright color previously painted on it, 2-3 coats would suffice. An extra layer is recommended just to make sure that the old paint is fully covered and the wall is ready to carry another shade without exposing any remnants or hints of the old, bright-colored wall.

For white walls, or even with pre-existing lightly colored paint, one layer of primer is enough. 

Painting professionals recommend that the first thing to do before priming and painting the surface is to clean it, repair it if needed, and get rid of any rust, mold, and such. 

What are the other factors at play when the primer is drying?

Long handle paint roller brush applying white primer paint on wall with home renovation

The ideal room temperature for primer work indoors ranges from 50 to 90 Fahrenheit. Working in hot temperatures will cause it to dry quickly, resulting in cracks that you do not want.

Working in cold temperatures will cause oil-based primers to become too thick for use. Latex-based primers even freeze in the winter, so it is recommended that you work in average temperatures. This goes for both indoors and outdoor work, although indoors is easier to control. 

Humidity is another factor at play, and a dehumidifier could help stabilize the condition of your indoor working space. Opening the windows and doors should be done when using shellac and oil-based paints due to the fumes that can be dangerous when inhaled too much. This will also help it dry quicker as well. 

Choose the Right Materials and Enjoy Great Outcomes!

After planning out and choosing the appropriate primer for your surface and your paint, make sure to enjoy the process of designing your project. There is no better reward than seeing great results from your hard work! 

Want to learn more? Check out our related posts:

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How Many Coats Of Primer And Paint For Bathroom Cabinets?