Priming (& Sealing) Chalk Paint: Is it Necessary?

Chalk paint has impressive bonding qualities. But, do you need to prime before applying chalk paint?

Chalk paint doesn’t need a primer to adhere to smooth, even, and clean surfaces. That’s because chalk paint has plasters in the paint formula that improve its bonding qualities. However, you must apply a primer before applying chalk paint on rough, uneven, and dirty surfaces. 

Chalk paint isn’t self-leveling, so if you apply it over uneven surfaces (without a primer), the finish won’t bond properly and will crack after a while.

Primer Types for Chalk Paint

What Primer Should You Use For Chalk Paint?

You can use oil-based and water-based primer for chalk paint. However, chalk paint sticks best to water-based primer. That’s because chalk paint and latex primer have the same paint solvent (water). 

But, chalk paint won’t stick to sealed or waxed surfaces without a primer. A sealed (or waxed) surface won’t allow the chalk paint to penetrate the surface and stick. If you apply chalk paint over a sealed surface, the chalk paint won’t stick and will peel off. 

To apply chalk paint over a sealed surface, you must apply a shellac-based primer and then apply chalk paint. The shellac-based primer will provide a smooth layer for chalk paint to stick to. 

You must use a shellac-based primer to chalk paint for damped, stained, or damaged surfaces. The shellac-based primer will prevent stains and moisture from bleeding through.

You Can Apply Chalk Paint Without a Primer

Can You Apply Chalk Paint Without A Primer?

You can apply chalk paint without a primer for clean, sanded, and smooth surfaces. Chalk paint has impressive adhesive qualities and will stick to any surface. 

However, for rough, stained, or sealed surfaces, you must apply a primer before applying chalk paint. A primer will cover imperfections and provide a thick (and smooth) layer for chalk paint to stick to. So, the chalk paint will stick to the primer instead of sticking to the stained surface.

Also, before applying a primer for chalk paint, you must sand the surface. Sanding will remove imperfections and bumps from the surface and allow the primer and paint to stick better. If you don’t sand or prime the surface before applying chalk paint, the paint won’t stick properly and will eventually peel off (or crack).

Related Read: Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint?

Sealing Chalk Paint

Does Chalk Paint Need Sealer?

You must seal chalk paint for outdoor surfaces. That’s because chalk paint isn’t durable and will wash off if exposed to constant water (or rain). Also, you must seal chalk paint for high-traffic indoor surfaces. If you don’t, chalk paint will be washed off from constant exposure to water, spills, moisture, and friction. 

The sealer is water-resistant, moisture-resistant, and UV-resistant. A sealer, such as polyurethane, will produce a thick glossy layer over chalk paint and protect it from water, moisture, and scratches. So, if chalk paint is exposed to water, the glossy layer of the sealer will prevent the water from penetrating the chalk paint coating. This allows chalk paint to last longer.

To seal chalk paint, you can use:

  1. Wax
  2. Polyurethane
  3. Varnish
  4. Lacquer sealer
  5. Wood glaze

To apply a sealer over chalk paint:

  1. Wait for chalk paint to cure. 
  2. Sand chalk paint with fine-grit sandpaper. 
  3. Prepare the sealer. 
  4. Apply 2-3 coats of sealer over the chalk paint.
  5. Allow the sealer to dry.
  6. Once the sealer dries, the chalk paint will be water and moisture-resistant.

You don’t have to seal chalk paint for decorative or low-traffic indoor surfaces. That’s because these surfaces won’t be exposed to water, moisture, or constant friction, so the chalk paint won’t wash off.

Related Read: Can Chalk Paint Be Tinted?

Using Chalk Paint as a Primer

You can use chalk paint as a primer (or undercoat) for any type of paint or sealant. That’s because chalk paint is water-based and has a dry textured finish that allows all paints to stick to it. 

Also, chalk paint has impressive bonding qualities because the paint is made of plasters. So, chalk paint will stick to any surface and provide a dry textured finish for other paints to stick. Chalk is mostly available in white and neutral colors that wouldn’t bleed through or cause stains underneath the top coat. 

Final Words

Chalk paint doesn’t need a primer for clean and sanded surfaces. However, for dirty, uneven, and sealed surfaces, you must apply a primer before applying chalk paint. 

Also, you must seal chalk paint for outdoor and high-traffic indoor surfaces. But you don’t have to seal chalk paint for decorative surfaces.

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