Choosing Drywall Primer

You’ve got the gypsum board up and now the time has come for choosing a drywall primer. Specifically formulated, primers are types of paint utilized to smooth surfaces and ready them for painting.

Because of the need to fill in tiny depressions, holes, pores in the gypsum board, and other imperfections of a soon-to-be-painted surface, primers are used. Their high filling capability – due to a high solid (pigment) content -makes primers a must-have before painting. They also have low resin content, making the primers film surface course, which is a very good surface for paint to adhere to.

Primer Not Sealer

Some people confuse drywall primers with sealers. It’s important to differentiate between the two. Sealers do just the opposite of what primers do. With a high resin content and low pigment content, sealers create a barrier resistant to paint.

Choosing the right kind of drywall primer is important, as well. The decision lies on where the drywall is and how much moisture there is to be dealt with. Although latex primers are known to have enhanced “breathing” characteristics and to dry much faster, oil/alkyd primers penetrate the gypsum board easier and stick to it better than primers with a latex additive.

Preventing Drywall Moisture Problems

Oil/alkyd primers far exceed latex primers in their ability to prevent trapped moisture from occurring between it and the drywall, a leading cause of paint to peel, crack, and blister. Oil/alkyd primers do take longer to dry, so it’s important to ensure plenty of time between application of this type of primer and the actual paint.

Some experts claim it takes up to two weeks for oil-based primer and/or paint to adequately “cure”. If you decide to use an oil/alkyd primer, you can also use either an oil-based paint or a latex paint. The reverse, however, is not true. Do not use an oil-based paint over a latex-based primer.

Priming gypsum board drywall must be done; there’s no getting around it. So, in a nutshell, buy the highest quality primer you can afford – either latex or oil/alkyd – and apply it to your drywall well before painting. Not only will it look better, you’ll have lower, long-term maintenance costs by not having to repaint sooner than if you bit the bullet and primed.

Preventing Yellowing

Speaking of painting drywall, here’s something you might want to keep in mind. You shouldn’t let drywall sit too long unpainted after it’s been taped and sanded, particularly if it’s surface will have any direct sunlight falling on it for any time.

Drywall facing paper can fade or yellow, and it may cause a slight bleeding-through and show a noticeable streaking effect. If facing paper has yellowed at all, you should seal the drywall with a top-quality latex stain-resistant paint prior to putting on the primer coat.