Over the past couple years virtually every paint company has come out with a 2 in 1 paint and primer product. The idea of successfully skipping the obligatory priming step before painting certainly seems like a dream come true, but contradictory online reviews of all in one products tend to raise more questions than they answer. To save you from endless hours of scouring through opposing opinions, I’ve done some research that will help you cut through the clutter regarding when Paint and Primer In One products work and when you’re better off using a traditional primer and paint.
|Popular Paint and Primer in One Products: Benjamin Moore Aura, Valspar Signature Colors, Behr Premium Plus Ultra, EasyCare Platinum|
When To Use Paint and Primer In One
All in one paint and primer products work best when you are painting over a surface that is already painted. This is because the effectiveness of all in one paint and primer likely falls somewhere in between the traditional two-step process of priming then painting and simply skipping the primer all together.
When advising clients about painting, Realtors Dede and Jens Persson of Sibcy Cline Realtors like to remind homeowners of the purpose of primer as a step towards selecting the right product. “Primer is formulated to work with the topcoat of paint to promote better adherence to the wall. This is important if you are changing the sheen from a slick semi-gloss to flat, or wanting to cover oil-based paint with latex.”
If you are covering an already painted wall with the same type and finish of paint in a similar shade, you may be able to get away with avoiding the primer altogether. In these situations, Paint and Primer In One may help you get better results in just one coat. Paint/primer combo products may also allow you to get effective coverage over a wider variety of shades of existing paint.
Based on a personal test of the product, blogger AnNicole Faeth of Our Suburban Cottage posted a positive review of Behr Paint Plus Primer that was seconded by many of the blog’s followers who also tried it on their own interior paint projects. These homeowners found the Behr Plus product to be thicker and more likely to cover the existing surface with just one coat.
A Consumer Reports test of the Valspar Signature Colors (sold at Lowe’s) and Behr Premium Plus Ultra (sold at Home Depot) concluded that two coats of the all-in-one paint and primer products is needed to cover extremely dark colors (Consumer Reports tested red paint on top of black and gray stripes). On a positive note, Consumer reports found that the two in one paint and primer products had better coverage than two coats of a cheaper paint (also Valspar and Behr) applied over a traditional primer.
In conclusion, all in one paint and primer products seem to work quite well for painting on top of already painted surfaces, providing better coverage in one coat and a bit more leeway in covering surfaces of varying shades of color. When painting over dark surfaces, compare the cost of using primer and a high quality paint versus two coats of a two in one paint/primer. According to the Perssons “primer is usually about half the cost of paint, gallon for gallon” and in many cases may be more cost effective than having to apply two coats of an all in one paint.
When To Use Traditional Primers and Paints
Skip the 2 in 1 products when changing the paint type (including changes in sheen) or painting over a surface that has never been painted before. In these applications, traditional primer will do a better job of preparing the existing surface for the paint to effectively adhere. This is one area where the opinion of contractors and professional painters is decidedly against so-called self-priming paint.
Dave Tingle, owner of Tingle Painting, knows that 2 in 1 paint plus primer can work in certain situations. “I have used one of the all-in-one products on exterior wood trim and it worked really well. The trim was already painted.” However, he cautions that all in one paint and primer doesn’t work as a one for all blanket solution. “If you are working on a new surface such as new drywall or new wood, I would suggest using a good quality primer first.” Because paint tends to be absorbed quickly by new drywall, primer will not only create better adhesion, but will also save you from wasting paint (and money and time) on extra coats. For best results, use primer and paint of the same brand.
The Bottom Line
Paint and primer combination products do work, but not as effectively as traditional primer and paint. Use Paint and Primer In One products when freshening up existing interior spaces with simple color changes. All in one paint/primer is more likely to cover in just one coat compared to traditional paint. However, stick to the two-step process of priming then painting when changing the sheen of the wall, changing from oil-based paint to latex or acrylic paint, covering extremely dark walls or when painting a brand new, unpainted surface.
This post was written by Katie.
Best Websites for Paint, Wall Paper and Wall Appliques