What Color of Primer Should You Use? (Explained!)

Primer coating used to be just white or grey but today, we have paint primer products with a broad range of other colors. This makes you wonder what color of paint primer to use. Here is what you need to know.

You can use any color of paint primer before painting over it as long as the color is neutral. This is to allow the paint color to show without the undercoat bleeding through. There usually is no need for your primer coating to be tinted.

However, it’s a common practice today for painters and DIYers to pick a primer coating with the same color shade as the paint that they intend to use.

For instance, a brown paint primer for brown latex paint. This helps to give the finish a more vibrant appearance. It also helps to seal existing color when switching shades. But there is more to know about this topic and this post digs right in. So let’s get to it.

Does Primer Color Matter?

Does Primer Color Matter?

Primer color doesn’t matter unless you are changing color shades or trying to seal a defective surface. The purpose of paint primer is to create a good undercoat for the paint and to seal or cover every imperfection in the material.

Both these tasks guarantee a perfect finish and to do these, paint primer doesn’t need color. It only needs adhesion and proper coverage.

However, if you are opting for a very vibrant or colorful finish, then using the same color or shade of primer and the same color of paint will work fine. Also, if you are going for a dark shade, then a dark shade of primer is needed.

Many DIYers wonder what color the primer should be especially if painting for the first time. You shouldn’t bother about this because primer color doesn’t matter. Primers are designed to have neutral colors such as white, grey, black, and the likes.

The purpose of doing this is so the color of the paint used can come out well. If the primer color is tinted, then chances are the color of the primer will bleed through or show under the paint when the paint has dried. This usually happens when the paint has a light flow or consistency.

To prevent this, paint primers usually have a neutral color that wouldn’t interfere with the color or sheen of the paint used. However, paint companies are now producing tinted primers with colorants to improve the vibrancy of the finish and to help cover light or dark shades. Let’s take a closer look at this.

Should Primer Be The Same Color As Paint?

Should Primer Be The Same Color As Paint?

The primer shouldn’t be the same color as paint except when you want to build a colorful finish or mural. In such cases, you can pick paint primer that has the same color as the paint you intend to use.

As explained earlier, primer coating is designed to be neutral so it doesn’t interfere with the color of the paint. But, many people now use the same color of primer and paint when they want a brighter finish. Especially, in places like the children’s playground, rooms, and street murals.

A combination of paint and primer with the same color can also produce a deeper finish. For instance, when you use a dark primer and a deep brown paint the finish will appear deeper. You can also fancy using dark-colored primers when dealing with stained surfaces.

Plaster affected by water, stained wood, and the likes all have damages and stains on the surface that can affect the color and quality of the finish. So while dealing with such surfaces, you can use a dark-tinted stain-blocking primer. In such cases, the color of primer does matter.

Related Read: Can You Use Primer as Paint?

Does Primer Color Affect Paint Color?

Primer color can affect paint color and this usually happens when you are using light paint. If your paint has a light flow or you applied just one coat of paint on a surface, then chances are the color of primer will affect the paint color.

In such cases, the primer color underneath will bleed through or show underneath the paint used. Paint bleed-through is a shadow or coloring that appears inside the paint coating as it begins to dry.

Asides from showing underneath, the color of the primer can impact the resistance and durability of the finish. This usually happens when the color of primer and color of paint is different. For instance, if you used a black primer and then put yellow paint over it. Not only will the black paint bleed through, but it can also cause the yellow paint to turn brown over time due to increased heat.

Since black colors are known to absorb more heat, bleed-through means that more heat or a higher temperature will be concentrated on the yellow coating. Since yellow doesn’t do well with heat, this can cause the paint color to appear brown after a while.

Should I Use White or Grey Primer?

Should I Use White or Grey Primer?

You can use either white or grey primer. Most painters will advise you to pick either as both colors of primer are largely considered the best. However, white primers are the more universal color as the primer can be used with any type of paint regardless of the paint flow.

White primers are also the more common. But white primers have a flaw, the primer coating isn’t great with dark paints. You’ll need 3-4 coats of white primer to cover black, deep blue, or red paint.

Grey primers are also very good but are more favorable to covering deep paints since the grey color has a darker tint. Grey primer is perfect for times you want to move from a light color to a deeper or darker paint. For instance, to paint deep brown over light green.

These colors (orange and bright green) are bright and you’ll need up to 4 coats of white primer to seal completely. But with grey primer, you can seal in just two coats.

With this, you can complete the task with just two coats of paint. Grey primers are also relatively less common compared to white primers. However, you should know that any of the primers will be a good choice.

Related Read: Does Primer Have To Be Perfect?

What Color of Primer Should You Use For White Paint?

What Color of Primer Should You Use For White Paint?

For white paint, you should use a white primer. Most people even use white primer as white paint to show you how close both paints are in terms of appearance. If you use white paint over white primer, there will be no bleed through.

Asides from that, the overall finish will have an even color eliminating the possibility of any varying reactions to temperature or moisture. This means that the entire finish will have the same color and as such, the same characteristics.

Another great choice is to pick a light grey color. Light grey will work fine given that the primer doesn’t have a high volume of dark tint. So white will come out fine on light grey. Other colors of primer increase the chances of a bleed through or coloring under the white.

What Color of Primer Should You Use For Black Paint?

What Color of Primer Should You Use For Black Paint?

For black paints, you should use a grey primer. Grey primers have a dark tint in the coating that will go well with black paint. Also, grey primers are very good in sealing or blocking stains and paint color.

If the surface is defected or stained, you are better off with a grey or dark grey primer. Two coats of dark grey primer will seal just about any type of stain on the surface.

Grey also prevents the color underneath from bleeding through the black. However, you should know that black paint in itself is a great sealer for paint color and can also be used as a primer for dark paint.

Anyway, here are common questions asked by DIYers like yourself on the color of paint primer to use.

Does Primer Color Darken Paint?

Paint primer color doesn’t darken paint but it can help create a deeper shade of paint. For instance, when you use grey primer for brown paint. The brown shade of the paint can appear deeper due to the dark tint of the grey primer.

Is Black Primer Good?

Black primer is good but should only be used for dark paints or for times when you want to switch from light or bright shade to a darker shade.

Final Words

Overall, paint primer color doesn’t matter unless the surface is bad or you plan on changing shades of color. To cover light, bright, or dark paints, you can use grey primer but to use a light or bright color, white primer is best.

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