Straight Talk About Self-Priming Paints

The phrase ‘self-priming’ or ‘paint and primer in one’ are over-used and inaccurate buzz-words and statements in our industry at the moment. Their use has been fueled by some very successful advertising campaigns directed towards do-it-yourself consumers who are easily enticed by the claims of doing half the work or investing half the time and money for the same result. These ideas seem smart and even sensible to non-professional painters even when considering the premium paid for products that are labeled self-priming. There are only limited situations where these products will give a satisfactory finish such as re-coating a properly sealed and prepared surface with the same type of product or re-painting a surface with a different colour provided the change is not too drastic. Self-priming products are formulated to re-paint sound surfaces only.

As professionals in the coatings industry, we at Steeles Paint understand the advantages and limitations of these types of products. Self-priming paints are formulated with higher quality binders and resins to promote adhesion and durability. The other attribute that allows these products to be labeled in this way is a slightly higher opacity formulation than their cheaper counterparts therefore marginally increasing their hide and coverage.

When these products are used directly on bare drywall, there is a good chance of flashing – uneven sheen typified by shiny and dull areas on the surface. A proper primer/sealer’s purpose is to evenly seal the surface resulting in uniformity of sheen and colour when the finish coat is applied. On wood surfaces, if a primer is not utilized, not only is adhesion compromised, the grain of the wood is raised, resulting in an unattractive textured surface. Without the use of an undercoater, tannins within the wood can bleed through the self-priming coating leaving it spotty and streaky. Steel and damaged or stained surfaces require special prep and priming/sealing as well. Bare steel is always best when coated with a solvent-based or water-bourne encapsulating specialty primer to inhibit rust. Damaged and stained surfaces whether through flooding or fire damage need stain killing sealers – quite often alcohol based primers in order to prevent the bleed from stains and discolouration present on these surfaces.

A professional paint finish requires the right products. More often than not, utilizing a suitable primer for the job will save money in the long run. Using multiple coats of an expensive product is not cost effective – primers are markedly inexpensive when compared to the “self priming” paints on the market today. Painting contractors also have to take into account the call backs for touch-ups when the use of a separate primer would have prevented these problems.

Come into Steeles Paint & Decorating Centre in Woodbridge we have the knowledge and the products you need to make your project a colourful success!