Does Chalk Paint Need Primer Or Sealer? (Explained!)

“Always prime before painting” I have heard that many times. I also know that chalk paint has good bonding qualities. So, does chalk paint need primer?

Chalk paint doesn’t need a primer to bond to the material or wood to be painted. This is because chalk paints have plasters in the paint formula which improves the bonding qualities of the paint. However, chalk paint does need a primer before it is applied on rough surfaces.

This is because chalk paint is not self-leveling. So, if you apply chalk directly on a rough or uneven surface without priming first, the finish will bond perfectly. But, the chalk paint won’t come out fine.

So what primer should you use with chalk? Let’s find out.

What Primer Should You Use For Chalk Paint?What Primer Should You Use For Chalk Paint?

You should use a water-based primer for chalk paints. Since chalk paint is water-based, it will need a water-based undercoat for proper adhesion and a smooth finish. However, chalk paint would adhere to any type of primer as long as the top coat of the primer isn’t glossy or waxed.

If you apply chalk paint on a waxed or glossy undercoat, the chalk paint will not sit properly since glossy surfaces are slick and non-porous. Though the chalk paint might sit initially, the paint will peel off quickly.

If you plan on painting chalk over a stained or damp surface, you should use a shellac-based primer. Shellac-based primers are excellent at blocking stains, moisture, and even gasses.

So if the surface to be painted has been damaged by moisture, smoke, or is stained, the shellac coating will prevent the effects of the damage from bleeding through the chalk paint.

You should also know that chalk paint can sit on any latex, acrylic, or water-based paint. So if the surface has already been painted with water-based paint, you can apply chalk paint over it directly as the water-based paint will serve as a good undercoat.

Can You Apply Chalk Paint Without A Primer?

Can You Apply Chalk Paint Without A Primer?

You can apply chalk paint without a primer. But, it’s not advised to do so when painting chalk over a rough, stained, or patched surface. This is because the texture and stain on these surfaces will make the chalk finish come out rough, stained, and have uneven color.

To paint chalk over material without priming, the surface needs to be smooth, dent-free, and clean for you to get a fine chalk finish. If the surface is anything but, you should prime it before painting chalk over it. This is not because the chalk paint will not adhere to the material. But it will not stick properly given the texture of the surface.

Asides from that, the chalk finish will be prone to peeling and cracking as the surface will be rough and uneven. It will take very little to wipe your chalk finish off.

If the surface is glossy, you’ll need a primer before painting over it with chalk. You’ll also need to sand the gloss before priming. This is because gloss prevents moisture (water) from passing through.

Since chalk paint is water-based, it will not penetrate or bite into the gloss and this will not allow good adhesion. Though the chalk paint will stick initially, it won’t last long.

So, unless the surface is dirty, uneven, or glossy, you don’t need a primer before painting over it with chalk paint. A clean wipe will do.

Related Read: Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint?

Does Chalk Paint Need Sealer?

Does Chalk Paint Need Sealer?

Chalk paint needs a sealer for improved durability. But durability isn’t a popular reason people use chalk paint. Chalk paint is popular due to its dry matte finish. If you seal chalk paint, you will not get dry or matte. In most cases, you’ll get a glossy finish.

You can also fancy distressing your chalk paint. Dry matte finishes like chalk are usually distressed or purposely ruined to give them an aged vintage appearance. Trust me, it’s more attractive than it sounds.

If you are using chalk to get a dry, matte, or distressed finish, you shouldn’t seal the chalk. But if you are painting chalk over a surface that will be heavily used or one that will see high foot traffic, it’s advised to seal the chalk paint. So what do you seal chalk paint with? Let’s take a closer look at that.

What Do You Seal Chalk Paint With?

You can seal chalk paint with any type of sealant either oil-based or water-based. But seeing as chalk paint is water-based, a water-based sealant will be ideal. And, there isn’t any other water-based sealant as strong and clear as water-based polyurethane.

Other common sealants used over chalk paint are clear wax and gel. Both sealants mirror the features of water-based polyurethane but gel especially is known to bleed through with time.

There are also products or sealants specifically designed for sealing chalk. One of such sealants is polyacrylic varnish. The varnish can be applied with a paintbrush or a roller and it guarantees water-resistant qualities.

You should pick sealants that will fit the environment you want to use them in. This means you should pick exterior sealants if you use chalk on building exterior or outdoor furniture. Then pick interior or ordinary sealants if you use the chalk on interior walls or indoor decor.

The best sealant for chalk should also have special features such as heat resistance, being waterproof, and the likes. Your choice of a sealant all depends on your taste and the environment you used the chalk.

Related Read: Can Chalk Paint Be Tinted?

Can You Leave Chalk Paint Unsealed?

You can leave chalk paint unsealed. This means the chalk paint after being applied wouldn’t be coated with a top coat or sealant. This works if you want to retain the dry matte finish of the chalk paint as sealing chalk will remove the dry finish.

Chalk paint isn’t very durable. So, if you leave the paint unsealed, the chalk finish will be prone to chipping and peeling off especially if used on high traffic areas.

Chalk paint is water-based and a common feature of water-based paints is that they usually need a sealant. This is because ordinarily, water-based paints are not as strong or durable as oil-based paints.

Though chalk paint boasts of an attractive finish, the top layer of the finish is usually unprotected. Because it has no topcoat like mineral paint, gloss, or oil-based paints.

This makes the chalk paint very prone to dirt, debris, moisture, and heat. All of which will ruin the finish quickly. So, to protect the chalk finish, people often apply a coat or two of oil or water-based sealant but you can also leave the chalk paint unsealed.

However, as a piece of professional advice, only leave the chalk paint unsealed if you used it over a low-traffic area or as part of room decor. Since room decor wouldn’t experience traffic or heavy use, the chalk paint can last longer. But, if you used the chalk over an outdoor surface or walkway, it’s best to seal with at least two coats of water or oil-based sealant.

Can I Use Chalk Paint As A Primer?

Chalk paint can be used as a primer or undercoat for just about any type of paint or sealant. This is because chalk paint is water-based and as such, it has no chemicals or gloss that will repel a top coat.

Also, chalk paint has good bonding qualities given that the paint is made from a combination of plasters, colorants, and paint particles. So chalk will adhere and cover the imperfections in the surface while also creating a smooth and dry undercoat for the top coat to bite into and sit on.

Not just that, chalk is largely available in white and other neutral colors that wouldn’t bleed through or cause stains underneath the top coat. Painters even use chalk paint as a primer or white paint when they run out of either.

Final Words

Overall, chalk paint doesn’t need a primer or a sealer as long as the surface to be painted is clean and you don’t need a finish with durability. Chalk paint will adhere to just about any surface and the paint dries quickly so you can enjoy or distress the dry matte finish sooner.

Remember, if you want to use the chalk over a rough area or stained surface, ensure to prime and seal the chalk if the finish will be exposed to heavy use.

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