Self Priming Paint

Many People have asked me about Self Priming paints. They want to know if there is truly such a thing as "Self Priming" paints and if they are any good? From what I can determine, most if not all the talk about these paints is nothing more than good marketing. But, the final arbitrator of this question is the Data sheet for these products. Data sheets will tell a person whether or not a primer coat is required. In all cases, the data sheet instructs the need for a primer coat on any bare surface with a true primer, be it wood, metal or other substrate, before using a self priming paint. Also, in most if not all cases, when a self priming paint is being used as a primer, the data sheet for these paints recommends a primer coat and 1 to 2 topcoats.

I have included a couple of articles written on the subject of "Self Priming" paints that talk in greater detail about the marketing aspects of these products. 

Self Priming – Is This a Good Idea with Most House Paints?

In recent years there has been a proliferation of "self-priming" paints hitting the market.

Very few products can be considered self priming and most normal paints are not a part of this category. Primer plays a very important role in providing a stable foundation for the house paint. Why? Well, the short answer is that priming first produces a more attractive and durable finish.

Primer and paint are two completely different products! Paint is designed to provide color and varying degrees of shine. Primer, on the other hand, is specifically designed to prepare a raw surface to be painted.

 Characteristics of a Good Primer

Interior and exterior primers have similar characteristics; the only real difference is that exterior primers are formulated to withstand the elements, whereas interior primers are used in more sheltered environments.

Primers bond to the substrate, creating a more uniform surface for the paint to adhere to. They also act, to some extent, like a glue, holding together questionable surfaces and preventing further deterioration. The slightly rough surface of a good primer allows paint to "grab" the surface and adhere better. It can be sanded smooth, which is difficult or impossible with many types of paint (especially glossier formulations). Because the paint bonds so well to primer, a correctly primed surface will last longer than a self primed one.

Primer, especially if it's tinted, will increase the coverage of your paint. Self-priming is no bargain if it means applying four to seven coats to achieve an even finish.

Finally, primers are unparalleled for blocking stains and even odors in drywall and wood. The last thing you want is for an ugly water or smoke stain to appear- but this is virtually guaranteed if you use self-priming paint.

Why Do Manufacturers Sell Self-Priming Paints? 

Painting is a time consuming process, and many individuals are eager to skips steps when they can. Producing two-in-one products caters to this mindset. If saving time is that important to you, a single coat of self-priming paint might well produce a "good enough" finish. However, if you look closely at the label, most self-priming products encourage the use of a primer as well. The remaining few require two (or even three!) coats before the lifetime warranty will be honored. Not really a time saver, is it?

Only a handful of specialized, industrial finish paints, are truly self-priming. These include floor epoxy and Direct to Metal, or DTM, finishes. These, too, provide better results when paired with an appropriate primer.

The bottom line is that proper preparation, including priming, before painting is the ONLY way to achieve a professional-quality finish. Skimp now, and you'll pay later. 

Courtesy of Crowder Painting

The Truth About Paint and Primer in One

Is "self-priming paint" a good product or good marketing?
By Lee Wallender

Is self-priming paint ready for prime-time? More and more, paint manufacturers are advertising self-priming paint—promising to lift the burden of priming from homeowners' shoulders.

For homeowners holding down a day job and living a life on top of that, exterior house paint can take weeks or months. Interior painting, while not as involved, can vacuum up weekends when you'd rather be doing something else. Now, imagine ripping away one layer of that project, and how much time you might save as a result.

What Is Paint and Primer in One? 

There is a special type of paint that goes under a variety of names: self-priming paint, paint, and primer in one, paint and primer, etc. This paint is advertised as allowing you to eliminate the priming step from your painting process.

While it is called paint and primer in one, there is no primer in the mix. It is a thicker paint that builds higher, giving you a sturdier coat of paint.

A Primer on Priming 

Even without the time element, priming is universally disliked because its benefits are not immediately evident. Primer is not color. Painting the color coat is instant gratification; priming is drudge-work that eventually gets covered up. So why prime in this first place? 

Priming is necessary when dealing with bare surfaces that are very porous, such as wood, metal, drywall, or masonry.

You also need to prime when you are worried about wood-bleeding, gloss, grease, or other areas that make paint-adhesion difficult.

While you always do want to clean the surface as much as possible and roughen up glossy areas, this still does not automatically make the surface perfect and ready for a top coat. Primer helps bring the surface closer to perfection.

Self-Priming Paint Builds Higher 

If science, not language, is what appeals to you, consider this: Self-priming paint is thicker than normal, non-priming paint.

It has a higher "build," meaning that in its cured (dry) state it builds up a thicker layer than regular paint or primer.Most self-priming paint, despite the heavier consistency, should still be capable of being run through a paint sprayer without thinning.

Great Marketing 

 As with many advertising initiatives, this notion of self-priming paint is a great selling tool. Self-priming paint, as mentioned, is a thicker paint. But saying "thicker paint" does not indicate to buyers what they can use it for. 

Few homeowners realize the value of thicker paint; every homeowner realizes the value of self-priming paint. And reminding homeowners that self-priming paint eliminates the drudgery of painting—well, that's just brilliant marketing.

Most surfaces benefit from a primer, but is it always needed? Clean, dry, and fairly low-porous surfaces in good condition may not be needed any priming. This describes the walls in a typical interior living room, bedroom, dining room, or hall.

When Should You Use Self-Priming Paint?

While not an exclusive list, here are three scenarios when you'll find that paint and primer helps out the most:

Re-Painting: Re-painting a wall in the same color as self-primer paint works well because you do not have to worry about color bleed-through.
Drywall: When you are painting new, unfinished drywall and you cannot stand the idea of separate priming, consider using self-primer paint. New drywall has to be primed.
Interiors: Interior surfaces work best with paint and primer in one since interiors do not experience the stresses of exteriors—UV rays, rain, snow, etc. 

If your house has any paint problems—peeling, flaking, bubbling—seriously consider using conventional primer instead.

Will It Save You Money? 

Self-priming paint is restricted to the more expensive premium paint lines.
This is important to note because this immediately drives up costs. You cannot go cheap with self-priming paint, even on a per-gallon basis.

Consider these thumbnail estimates.

Self-Primer x 2: Apply a coat of self-priming paint at $25 per gallon. Let it dry. Apply the second coat of self-priming paint. $25/gallon again. For an exterior requiring 20 gallons of paint and primer, your tab is $1,000 or a bit less. 

Primer + Paint: Apply a coat of primer at $12/gallon. Let it dry. Apply a coat of exterior acrylic-latex paint, non-self-priming, at $17/gallon. Splitting primer and paint quantities down the middle (10 gallons each), the grand total is $290. Even being conservative and rounding up to $500, you are still spending a lot of money with the self-priming option.

In the first scenario, you are using expensive, tinted self-priming paint as your primer vs. less expensive real primer. After all, the tint is another factor that drives up paint costs. Cut out tint, and you can shave down your printing costs.

Brands of Self-Priming Paint
A few paint manufacturers still do not expressly put "self-priming" on the front of the label. The self-priming quality is usually mentioned secondarily. To confirm, you can usually find technical specifications for paints on manufacturers' sites.

Sherwin-Williams Duration
BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Paint And Primer In One
Valspar Ultra Premium
Benjamin Moore Regal Select High Build Exterior

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