Paint and Primer in One: The Best and When to Use It

We list here the good paint and primer in one and when you can use them. Be very careful and consider the results you will get if you use a paint and primer in one step. I have seen a lot of ads pushing this idea of one-coat painting, but that just plays to people’s idea that painting is a drag and one coat would be quick and easy. It is not messy and it is not hard to clean up.

In most cases, it’s a sure thing to go with the old method of a first coat of primer because if you get the wrong type of primer (there are many) in your paint and primer in one, you will be starting all over when you think you are done!

For one-step paint/primers, when your walls are without stains I highly recommend Kilz Tribute which comes in more than enough colors to choose from. The color family here is gray/green, but there are many Tribute color palates that you will see when you click on this one.

For other one step paints with primer jump to the bottom to see the list of the best products and what they are for.

Summary on paint primers:

We have a complete list lower in this post.

WARNING: Some paint and primers have high VOCs. Read our post on VOCs.

We also have a detailed post on how many coats of primer for every situation.

Why use a primer?

Generally, primers are for sealing and giving porous surfaces a first ‘drink’ so they are paint-able ( and so the next coat will adhere). Paints don’t do this: they are for looks and, outdoors they are for looks and protection.

Below I explain why it’s better to do the primer alone in the first step instead of using a paint and primer in one (plus you will always have some leftover and it comes in handy). But sometimes paint and primer in one step can be a big help.

drywall ready for paint and primer in one
drywall ready for paint and primer in one

When to use a paint and primer in one?

When your walls are without stains and when you have no new wood. Wood almost always has some kind of resin that will bleed through most primers. Even if your wood is not going to bleed through, the hard/soft grains will accept the first treatment differently and swell at different rates causing a nice smooth sanded wood to become rough. A good oil-based primer prevents this.

If you are painting walls and want to try a paint with a primer in it, be sure that your walls are:

  • without stains (such as water stains, mold stains etc)
  • have no unprimed wood

Example of walls that can be painted with a paint with pri
Example of walls that can be painted with a paint with primer

The best paint and primer in one

Buy a quality paint and primer in one: use Kilz, a very good name in primer, and for sure one of the best paint and primer. Kilz has many very nice colors to choose from. It is also a quality primer with low VOCs.

What is inside your Paint and Primer in One?

There are several types of primers. Some paint primers are designed to seal out stains, and some to create a bonding surface. What kind of primer did your paint and primer in one come with? You need to know what it is designed for.

Is it for rust? Metal? Plastic? Cigarette smell? Bold colors need primer-love too.

A very good reason to not use a paint with primer: Your health. Why using toxic ingredients if you do not need them? Paint with primer in it has much more VOCs compare to quality paint and many primers. The one I recommend above is one of the best.

New wood is not suitable for paint and primer in one
New wood is not suitable for paint and primer in one

Primer for wood: do not use a paint with primer in one

My friend asked me why his wood ceiling would not cover wood after 4 coats of paint. Should have called me first dude.

Resins in wood and water stains in walls that pick up impurities need a shellac-based primer to stop the stains from bleeding through (that is an alcohol-based goo). It’s called BIN and there is a link at the top.

Going to prime your new walls? That’s a horse of a different color: shellac or other sealer is not necessary. A stain-killing primer will be more than you need. Why buy more firepower than you need? Why breathe that stuff if you don’t have to?

Surfaces with different absorption rates

Drywall and the “mud” compound that covers seams and spots where the screws are will soak up paint differently. As a result, if you don’t use a primer to stop the absorption (paint won’t do it), you will always see the seams and spots. The drywall primer at shown at the top is the same one we use.

Paint primer for water stain
Water Staining that needs a paint primer

Get the right paint products

You have to know what you are doing before you go shopping. Ask me in the comments, or ask a real paint store (not a big box store: they hire monkeys).

If you get the wrong type of primer, you may not seal tannins, stains, resins, or oils that you should have sealed and it will have to be done again. These impurities bleed through every layer of latex paint: latex does not have any real sealing properties. Good to buy a small-sized can and test one area before buying all the paint.

Use one coat of primer

room painted with a paint primer
room painted with a paint primer

Honestly, in most cases, with the right tools and the right clean-up method, one more coat is not that big of a deal for an average room.

You can always write a comment below: I’ll be hanging around there.

The whole ball game is: what are the solids in the solution of your paint, in your primer, and in your paint and primer in one? Solids? It is the solids that wind up doing the job for you.

When NOT to Use Primer (and When You Must):

Stains: like from water or tree sap. At least spot prime where they appear.

Drywall: yes, always, but only with drywall primer which is not nearly as intense as stain killers. Be sure to dust those new walls first or you will have a gritty wall! (We use a push-broom or this duster you connect to a broomstick). We have a longer article about drywall primer and the key steps involved. Read about drywall primer and the key steps involved in the work.

New wood: if pine, you will need an oil primer (Prime Lock linked at the very top of this page). Other woods: you may get by with water-based, but the Prime Lock is a sure thing, and I use it on all new wood.

List of Primers

Here is a list of the different kinds of primers: go here to choose your weapons when you know what you need. The second one is my main go-to choice: the original alcohol-based primer. So, have some rubbing alcohol on hand to clean your hands. Use a low-cost brush and throw it away because most of these primers (even the water-based ones as they get gunky after a bit). Don’t expect these brushes will work for cutting lines. Read my post on that.

This is the short, common list. The internet authority, Wikipedia is on the ball about primer. Sherwin-Williams has a great article on types of problems.

Good luck!

Here is our way of using the least primer firepower first: if any color or stain bleeds through, we hit the spots with the heavy-duty primer:


paint and primer in one book
paint and primer in one book


74 thoughts on “Paint and Primer in One: The Best and When to Use It”

  1. Hello,

    I hope you can help, because I seem to have a very complex problem. About two months ago my mother washed some walls in our home to help out when we had our vents cleaned. Had I of known she was going to wash the walls, and not just clean up I would of stopped her, because it is old flat paint on the walls. To wash the walls she used baking soda and water. This caused the walls in this room to become musty, but that was it. My husband and I tried to use heaters to dry the wall, but nothing worked. About a month later we washed them again to get all the baking soda off, but it only made the situation worse. Once we did that everyone in the house started to get sinus irritation, bloody noses and sore throats. When we asked the people at several paint store, they said we were probably releasing vapors (VOCs) into the air and to repaint it. Well my daughter and I are extremely sensitive to things like that, but we felt this was are only option. They told us to use BIN alcohol based primer and a Benjamin Moore Natura paint. Since then we all still get irritated when we go in the home and it still reeks of alcohol more than two weeks later. After the first week we even tried sealing it with AFM safe coat hard seal. We’ve had windows open, heaps filters on, ceiling fans on, but nothing has helped. We even ordered an EnviroKlenz filter, but nothing. I’ve tried painting swatches of other paint and primers on the wall to see what would cover it, without making things worse and more smelly. It seems nothing really 100% gotten rid of the alcohol smell or lessened our symptoms. At this point we would have to move out of our home, so is there anything that would work in this situation that would seal the alcohol smell and VOCs in? (Without making it smell worse) Would we have to sand everything down? The home was built in the 1950s so it could have lead based paint, so that would be a concern if we sanded. I did try scraping the paint to see how easy it would come off, and it was difficult until we got to the original layer that had been washed. That layer flaked off much easier. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!


    • Hi again.
      After our back and forth emails and a call to my Benjamin Moore expert, we feel that if there is mold, you have to remove it…Sorry to tell you. You can find a mold test kit and I’ll add that soon to my post on painting over mold.

      You may not need to remove the whole wall: just use bleach (wear a good respirator as bleach is in fact quite deadly). Break open some drywall and see if the mold (dark coloration) goes deep into the rock. Hope not.

      If there is just an odor from whatever the walls were exposed to such as smoke, you should use B.Moore Prime Lock or Seal Lock. These both will smell for a while (a strong odor), but perhaps you could do it on vacation in the summer and leave the windows cracked open? It’s nasty but works very well to trap odors.

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Try to think of it like this: you are going to dive in and fix the blasted problem correctly and be done with it.

      If you cannot do it yourself, look for an older painter, hopefully somewhat retired, as they charge lower rates, and ask if he/she can remove the wall, put up new wall and paint it.

      For an average sized room, you might stay under a thousand dollars.

      Best of luck to you!

  2. Hi Brad,
    I am wondering if I can use a paint with primer on bare wood. Or would you suggest a primer first?

    • Hi. You can if… the wood has no ‘knots’… they will probably bleed through. Also, water based paints and primers both can ‘raise the grain’… soft rings of the tree absorb and expand more than the hard rings. Do a test sample with some scrap to know for sure. Good luck.

  3. Brad, our back porch and stairs were constructed of larch, also known as tamarack, wood 5 years ago. Using both latex and then oil based primers, we’ve had paint adhesion issues ever since. Every year some vertical areas form huge bubbles. Every year much of the paint on the stair treads peels off like loose tape. We’d appreciate your advice on the best paint solution for exterior larch / tamarack wood. Thank you, Brad!

    • Hi. While reading I let out a moan. My sympathies. I have a friend with this issue: but not unusual wood. I’m wondering how big your back porch is. porch to me means medium to small… Deck means big. So here is my advice. I’m no medical doctor and never took a class in good bedside manner. This is going to hurt…a lot !! Ready? Remove it all. Strip it off using scrpers. Should not be hard and what paint you cannot get, you don’t try… Don’t know why someone… if you or a pro painter… decided on latex then oil primer. Wha? Never heard of that. One primer does it, but must be the right one of course. It seals wood and provides bonding for the top coats.
      A quick google search of ‘larch tamarack painting’ yields some gorgeous watercolors of flowers. Hello? Google, can’t you read my mind? So then “how to paint larch wood” gave me: This is good on the wood in general and makes me think you should strip all you can, sand it down to the wood, then find a penetrating stain, and never say the word ‘paint’ in your house again. They claim they make a special larch primer. Oh? Really? Not over my dead body! says “The resin in larch reacts unfavorably with paint, unless you first seal the wood with diluted shellac or conditioner. Stain and clear finishes work well.”. Conditioner sounds right from the above link about the hard/soft grain being so different in Larch. This would let the wood accept your next paint/stain all evenly. So here is my idea: buy a quart this conditioner , pick a test area out of sight and follow directions on the can…and then recoat with your choice of stain/paint. Wait a while, maybe a year even to see if it holds. You’ll know what to do by fall I’d guess. Plenty of time to strip the rest. See my Everything Deck page and posts on deck… I have tools there: grinders, scrapers, etc. I cannot say for sure that this is what you need, but it’s the right direction. Hope this helps. Please let us all know how it went? Good luck!!

  4. Brad, we appreciate your quick response and advice. Your recommendations are well founded and, as a retired couple, my wife and I have ample time to tackle the task. Larch / tamarack wood is known for it’s remarkable rot resistant longevity. Our home was built in the early 1800’s and we used this wood in an effort to preserve it for a few more centuries. We will give your insightful directions a go and hope for an end to our paint bubbling and peeling issues. We thank you for your help, Brad!

  5. Brad,

    I have a room in my house that has never been painted over 10 years so currently just drywall. Do I need to prime the room first or can I just start painting?


  6. I have doors painted with oil paint that need repainting. Have found some where latex paint was painted over with oil based. What should I do to fix so I can repaint? The paint is peeling off.

    • Hi. There is good news: you can fix this. Oil over latex is fine: the latex allows the bond, but latex over oil, not so. So what you have is that, right? You can test: do you have rubbing alcohol? Not drinking kind. Or if you have acetone, like nail polish remover with acetone (read the label). If the paint you want to remove is latex, acetone or to a lesser degree, rubbing alcohol will make the paint turn into goo. Like porridge. Oil-based paints will not do this. Can you do this test and let us know? In any event, what you have is peeling like a Canadian’s first week in Mexico. You just scrape and scrape and scrape and when you cannot scrape anymore, you scrape some more. Then sand as smooth as possible. Next, you use a nuclear-powered primer like BIN. It’s a shellac, alcohol based and you use rubbing alcohol to clean up. Then paint as you like. The only other option I see is to use a stripper. Nasty stuff. Anything I did not understand or any question? Good luck, –Brad

  7. We have a living room with red walls and want to change to SW Light French Gray. The guy at the SW store told us we have to use primer separately prior to painting over the red walls. However, our professional painter at our old home covered the res with SW all in one. (yes, we covered red at our old home only to have to deal with it again at our new home, ugh) Do we necessarily need to use a separate primer to go over red or can we use a 5 star all in one from SW? If separate, what kind of primer? We would like to do this project ourselves opposed to hiring someone in order to save some $$. Just wasn’t sure if the guy at the SW was trying to get us to spend more $$, it sorta seemed like it so wanted to get more information before spending the $$

    • Hi. The guy at the store is right, but depending on the actual shades of red and gray, you may be ok with your painter’s way too. Just do a test with a roller, not just a brush. Do a one-square yard test. Let dry and do 2nd coat and let dry and look with a bright light. See any red? No? You are ok. Generally, gray primers are needed before painting reds and some yellows, (they are using newer synthetic colorants) and sometimes to go over red, it’s very hard. But if it worked on one wall, it will work on all. So both are right in my view…go with whatever works and is the least expensive. Paint store folks generally don’t have to push paint… maybe that store does do a hard sell… In any case you are right to wonder. Good luck,.,

  8. Hi Brad, I was wondering if you could opine on how many layers of primer you need or how a primed wall should look. we painted over a dark maroon wall with a coat of primer and we plan to finish the job with a shade of white (swan white in one room, queen anne’s lace in another). The primed walls are a bit blotchy (some areas appear to have more coverage), though the whole wall is completely covered/no paint is actually visible though, a stated, some areas do look darker than other.

    do we need another layer of primer? or can we move to a our paint/primer combo paint?

    • Hi. That sounds normal. One coat of primer is usually all you need. If you have actual old paint with not even the slightest film of primer, you did it too light and maybe should give another roll. Don’t brush the corners etc twice: your final coat will cover that just fine, depending on the old color and the new color, but do tests. Also, before you do another coat of primer if that is your decision, test with ROLLER, not brush (brushes cover much better) and see how 2 coats looks: that will be your final product. I’m guessing you are ready to paint.

      • Hi I messed up. I didn’t realize that an oil based primer is required for pine doors. I have primed and painted two coats and now it’s bubbled. Any suggestions on how to fix my mistake. 🙁 these doors were expensive and now I feel so bad I ruined them. Thank you so much for the help.

        • Hi. That’s too bad, but not the end of the world. Since you just did it, you won’t have a hard time removing it and you do need to do that. Scrape as much as you can…keep your knife sharp. I would use the ‘mulit-tool’ aka 5-in-1 and a file to keep it sharp and scrape, scrape, scrape, and then sand down any significant paint, then prime with the oil-based primer Prime Lock. A quart should do at least 4 door SIDES. This will block any wood knots or grain staining from getting to your top coat. These stains will ruin a normal paint and need to be blocked. Before the new primer, do a test spot, let dry and check bonding. You’ll be fine I’m sure.
          Good luck.

  9. Hello Brad

    repainting rental after 25 years

    all walls have always been painted with oil based Benjamin Moore

    looking to switch to latex

    can i use all in one paint prime

    what do you suggest

    thank you

    • Are you totally sure walls are oil? You have to sand them all to provide bonding…sorry to say. Latex will not stick. Your best primer is well named STIX, and stains will bleed thru, but then just hit them with BIN or another stain blocking primer. Good luck! Ps, if you want to test for oil, reply to my email or just search this site… the test invoves acetone… just search site for that word.

  10. I am getting ready to paint my entire house (interior). The last time it was painted was about 20 years ago, shortly after we moved in (the entire house was a sickly yellow). The issue is that we kinda let the kids do what they wanted with their own rooms, and now I need to find the best way to handle getting them back to a semi-neutral state. One of the rooms has a really dark green wall, with the other walls being a tootsie roll brown, and one also has multiple test splotches (about 2’x2′ each) of a brick red and rust yellow. I want to paint all of this a med-dark gray. I’m figuring to do a double coat with paint and primer mixed, but not sure if this is the right route to take. The other kids room was painted about 6 years ago with a standard interior paint, but has peeled and flaked horribly since then. Do I need to sand the whole room? Please say no. I really only want to do this once, so any direction you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time!

    • Hi. Sounds like fun. For the dark colors you listed, just do any primer, Kilz Original is fine (water-based) to make sure they will not show through later. The light colors will probably cover fine with no primer. Yes, always 2 coats after primer if you use primer. Get the wool/poly roller on our tools page… and trust me to use anything but a good roller frame, bucket and screen (no pans!) will frustrate you endlessly. Get a Purdy Nylox brush and read what I wrote about cleaning: it’s not hard at all, and you will fly and have straight lines…and it’s for life.

      For the peeling, you must have put latex over oil or had oil on the walls (not hard to get if the previous owner cooked with oil etc). Yes, you have to sand, but that’s after scraping off all the loose paint. It’s not so bad if you have good tools. Again, I selected the same tools we use on our tools page.
      The good news is that you do have to only do this once. We like Benjamin Moore Regal…most decorators put eggshell finish in every room including bath/kitchen. Semi-gloss on doors/trim and use the BM Ceiling paint for one-coat ceilings if they are not badly yellowed or stained. Any water stains, use BIN (water based is less powerful than the shellac based, but both will stop water stains.)
      good luck… b
      ps, have a look at revere pewter and Edgecomb gray… very popular, warm, earthy… we do them a lot (BM colors)

  11. Hi Brad… my question is about 80’s paneling. (mine is not real wood.) I’m wanting to give it a facelift with using SW Super Paint in flat (paint and primer in one) but not sure if this will work on lite brown fake wood. BTW… I’m using the color Repose Gray. Could you please help guide this DIY’ER.

    Thank you,

    • Hi. SW Superpaint is good paint. That is not the issue tho… You need to worry about bonding. If it is not wood, it is probably some vinyl paper with some photo process to look like wood…yes photography. I doubt any paint will stick to it, but One solution is to try STIX, which is made for bonding in cases where you are not sure. Do a test: STIX plus 2 top coats, then dry very well with blow dryer. Let it rest a day and see if you can scratch it off with your fingernail. If not, great. If yes, then just rip it all off and put up a new wall… you’ll feed a hungry carpenter that way! Good luck.

  12. Thank you Brad for responding so quickly… I appreciate your helpfulness. I thought it was veneer wood, but hubby told me it’s real wood… just very thin wood. In this case, what do you recommend?

    • Sand it all lightly with grit sandpaper of about 100-150 or so, just to scratch it for bonding…then apply a bonding primer: STIX, a Benjamin Moore product for stickiness obviously from the name. If there are ‘knots’ they will bleed through Stix, so move up to PRIME LOCK an oil-based primer, the best, or Aqua Lock the same sort of thing but with less stain blocking power…. to seal the knot resins. Then paint your color 2 coats.
      If no knots or stains, Stix is the one. Good luck. PS, don’t use el-cheapo-rollers as the lint sheds. See our main page and get a wool-poly blend and we have a post on how to clean it easily: it will last a very long time…all your life if you clean it.

  13. Once again “thank you” for responding so quickly. Your website has helped educate myself in this area… so “ditto” to your wife for building this site. Hope you & your family has a blessed weekend.


  14. Hello! Can knotty pine walls with varathane be painted? I would like to do a whitewash on them. Will the walls require sanding and a primer like BIN? there are also a few new replacement boards that will be needed. Do they require a different treatment?


    • Hi. Yes indeed it can be painted and for that we just published a step by step article for this: key point is Prime Lock and deglossing.
      For whitewashing, you are not going to want a solid white primer, so you are going to have to remove all the varnish mechanically and chemically. Paint remover first, then when you get all you can off, go to town with sandpaper. Give a wipe with a damp cloth and see that the varnish is removed, not just de-glossed. Otherwise your whitewash will not have the look you expect. My advice: go with paint. Going backward from varnish to untreated wood is a long difficult haul. Good luck, enjoy your new walls. b

  15. Hi, I have textured wall with faux painting throughout the house. Now I want a solid lighter color. Should I use a primer first then the paint color or paint over twice or use the paint/ primer in one. Please recommend.

    • Hi. I’m not sure how a wall can be both textured and have faux painting… I think of fake marble look when I think faux.
      Anyway, yes a primer over mixed colors is always good to hide totally. If you don’t use a primer, a good one, the pattern may come through, depending on your color choices. P&P in one? Not my choice. Go with Kilz High-Hide, so you get good bonding and good blocking. It’s white, then 2 coats of your color should be fine. I wish I could see it, but that is my best idea from this distance! Good luck

      • Hi, I have a new oak chest just built. I want to paint it black and want the grain of the wood to show. I don’t want to get a smooth drywall look. What advice can you give me?

        • Well, if you prime the wood with a water=based primer, the soft grain will expand and raise up more than the hard grain, but that will be 3-d if you want that: do a sample of course.
          If you don’t like that, just stain it with black stain. Do a test, but it will be very dark after a couple of coats. YOu can keep coating until you get it as dark as you want. Let me know how it comes out?
          Good luck,

  16. Hi Brad,

    I am painting my inside wood front door. What is the preparation? It presently has latex and the new paint is latex and slightly darker. Thank you.

  17. What is the best way to paint Bead – Plyboard? I used a paint+primer on one room and it seems to be doing well, but will need another coat. However, before completing the remaining rooms, I wanted to make sure I used the correct process since I need to get more supplies. Is the best way to “prime” with Kilz and then paint? I had assumed since I originally used paint+primer on the first room, it was the correct way. The rooms are all in the basement (if that makes a difference).

    • Hi.I’ll post a photo of what I think you are talking about… we call it beaded plywood. From my experience, these have wood knots which bleed through most inexpensive primers. Not sure what you used, but keep an eye out for these coming can take a year. I’d go with Prime Lock or another high hiding stain “blocking” primer, not just a sealer… All this if you have knots or stains. Otherwise, if you are getting good bonding (can you scrape off your paint with a coin?) maybe you are ok to use the same paint and primer in one. There is no rule book: you need bonding and stain blocking (more expensive primer) if you have knots etc, and if not you need bonding and sealing. Ps, read our post on painting plywood for more info. null

  18. Hi Brad! I stumbled upon your page and am so glad I did. I am repainting my (finished) basement and wasn’t sure if to use a primer and if so, which one. Our basement walls (drywall) have 3 different colors (depending which wall you’re looking at). A couple walls are bright red, one or two are a basic white/cream color, and the rest are a medium tan/brown. I’m wanting to paint all of the walls a white color (The color is Sherwin Williams Neutral Ground). What do you recommend for a primer? Should I prime all of the walls to make it uniform or can I get by with just priming the red and tan/brown walls? I expect to use 2 coats of paint and primer of the actual color and based upon your site, I assume one coat of primer and 2 coats of paint + primer? I just wasn’t sure what prep needs done or which primer will make my color come out the best (and most uniform on all walls). Thanks!

    • Hi and thanks for writing. THe bright red could be your problem. Use a ‘high-hide’ primer on that and since you have it going, you might as well use it on all the walls. Yes, doing them all would be smart as some may be differnet…you need a clean slate, all the same.Yes one primer and 2 top coats is normal. Don’t thin any of it. You do need a primer with hiding power, so I would not trust a paint and prime in one over reds. You are going to a white, so for sure you need real hiding power, not necessarily stain blocking or ‘sealing’. I’d use Kilz Premium. I wish I could see it to be sure, but you should be ok with it. Good luck!

  19. Hi Brad,

    Just purchased a new condo which had been lived in for about 5 months. All the holes, imperfections on the walls etc have been fixed/sanded and the paint itself is a white eggshell. Would I just need to spot prime the repaired areas and then use a paint/primer such as Benjamin Moore Regal Select for 2 coats? Or should I do a full coat of primer and then the 2 coats of the BM?

    Thank you!

    • Just spot prime. If the walls are not stained, you should be good to go. Yes BM Regal is the best for the money. Changing colors? yes 2 coats. Same exact color or very very close? One coat of BM. Good luck!

  20. Hey Brad!
    We have new drywall and a dark paint color to cover up in our living room (going from an olive green to light gray) – what primer would you suggest? There are no stains on our walls.

    • Hi. That comment about stain really helps: just use drywall primer. The easiest on your wallet. You COULD do 3 coats of top coat, but that costs way more. Just search this site for ‘drywall” and you ‘ll see the post on the primer.

    • Old age, or having frozen. You can strain it (search this site for “strainer” and look at cone type for small amounts or washable bags for large.
      If frozen , you have to trash it.
      If smelly, it probably froze. Smells like paint? probably ok.

  21. Considering tackling painting the inside of a 1979 mobile home. Most of the surface is the original paneling. Not sure if it’s a plastic laminate but it is definitely a Slicker surface then drywall. I’ve talked to several painters who’ve given me quotes and they’re split 50/50 between using a one-step primer paint combo and a two coat process. What advice can you give me on the direction I need to be taking with this project. I intend on using a white satin throughout, cabinets, trim and walls.

    • Put a sewing needle in a candle, get it very hot, then put the needle on the surface. Make it smoke. Does it smell like plastic or wood? this is a conclusive test. If plastic, don’t do it, just live with it. If wood, I’d sand and prime with Ben Moore’s STIX for bonding. Good luck. Let me know?

  22. Painting my bedroom that has a medium blue/gray color wanting to go to a lighter gray. Would I need to use primer or would 2 coats of the lighter gray be fine?

    • People that write paint websites that are not painters will tell you yes. The answer is no. But put 2 full coats on with a wool/poly roller. I have some in the ‘tools’ page… Wooster is the brand and it will lay it on very evenly and your 2 coats will be fine. (assuming a quality paint).Good luck

  23. Hi Brad,

    Managed to get some paint on the white textured ceiling. It’s dry so probably can’t easily remove it. What would be the ideal way to fix that? I have white eggshell touch up paint for the walls leftover from the original build not sure how well it matches up.

    Thanks again!!

  24. Brad

    When new wood windows were installed, linseed oil was used for a natural look. I would like to paint it white using a latex white paint with primer. Is this possible and what steps do I need to do.

    Thank you

    • Hi. Once I accidentally bout linseed oil on a baseball glove: it got hard as a rock. So that is your wood now. If the oil is totally dry, not tacky, you can sand with a fine sandpaper and prime with SITX. If still a bit sticky, wait another year, or several months.

      You need this primer in between the oil and the paint you will leave on top. So 3 coats: primer plus 2 top coats should do it.

  25. We have a shed made of plywood and I want to paint it. Should I use a primer and then paint and primer? Or should I use a primer and then just regular paint? Any info would be appreciated!!!

  26. I never took into account the fact that primers can help porous surfaces become more paintable. My mom told me the other day that she is thinking about remodeling her house, and she wants to paint it a different color to give it more life. Coincidentally, I was watching a show about painting house the other night and I realized that her walls are porous, so she will need to consult a professional.

    • Hi. I might disagree, but I cannot see her walls. If they are painted, you only need a primer if you are radically changing colors like white to dark gray etc. You will need 3 coats so make the first one an inexpensive primer. But if they are new drywall, absolutiely yes, all that needs drywall primer. If you can tell me more, maybe I’ll be able to say more. Good luck in any case,

  27. Hi, I’m getting ready to repaint the inside of a house. The store that I bought my paint from sold me the paint with the primer added, said it would cover in one coat. From what I’ve been reading I’m not sure if she was completely honest. The walls has been textured will this paint work? Also, could you tell me the best paint to paint my ceilings. We have removed to popcorn ceiling and sprayed with knock down. So now I’m not sure what kind of paint to get. The man at the store said the ceiling paint with primer would work but the someone else said that I needed to use kilz. I’m really confused on the kind of paint to get.
    Thank you

    • So many paints, so little accurate info. To be fair, you need to be in the world of paint for some time before it is clear what to use.
      The paint and primer in one is fine, but you don’t need any primer components unless you are doing new drywall or something with water stains etc… even water stains will bleed thru most budget paint…and most companies making P+P in one are just looking at profit and clever marketing. It’s not quality enough for me.
      but you have it so use it. Try to cover in one. If not, you’ll have to get more. THey win this round.
      The ceiling needs a drywall primer unless you have stains from water or some discoloring from time. I’ll link to them below.
      BM Ceiling Paint 
      Primer for ceiling
      let me know if it’s not clear

  28. Hi Brad.
    I am going to be working on a house with 35 year old cedar shingle siding. The oil primer I have used in the past, and the Cabot oil solid color stain are both lifting off the old shingles. When I prepped, I scraped, sanded and cleaned the shingle surfaces. Is it possible that we should be using a breathable primer and paint? From what I have read, it seems as tho there is moisture coming through from the back, and popping the primer and paint off?

    • If the old stuff is removed, you can use whatever you want, and yes a good oil primer, exterior, would be first.
      But of course cedar can last decades with no treatment: that’s why you paid extra for cedar. Why not just stain?
      Please read about this once in a lifetime stain…I put it on my deck in the natural ‘silvery patina’ color (no tinting)
      If you have clean shingles, and never want to scrape again…and never stain again!… go with EcoWood.
      Or do nothing if they look good now.
      But yes, if painting, a good oil-based exterior primer, then really use the best exterior paint you can afford: it will go years longer than some Home D. paint.
      Good luck.

  29. Hi Brad,
    A quick question. I purchased Color Place latex paint and primer in one on the advice of salesman.

    One coat didn’t work (see picture) and I’m wondering if I should do the 2nd coat or get primer and start over?

    Thanks for your help.

  30. Hi Brad,

    I have a garage where the previous homeowner smoked heavily in it. Therefore, the entire room/ceiling is stained with this yellow residue. Also, this garage smelled horrific with cigarette smoke. I was told by home depot to paint “zinsser 1 gal. Odor Killing Interior Primer” and then painted “behr stain blocking paint and primer in one- white eggshell”. Do you recommend the same method? Please help me get this horrible smell go away.

    How many layer of odor killer primer do you recommend?
    Do you recommend “washing” the entire garage/ceiling with water before painting the primer?

    Any help is much appreciated! Thank you.

    • We once walked into an apartment where the now dead tennant smoked and made the walls brown. We tried to prime, but the primer BEADED up! We left and the manager had the walls washed. That is what you should have done…but now it’s ok. You are going to need a different primer linked here.
      The Zinsser is good stuff, but each company has it’s own forumula… I recommend you go with the big dog at this point… Very nasty oily primer, then paint over it whatever you like. As for the Behr, you cannot fit all that stain blocking and pigment into one gallon…much smarter to use indiv. coats.
      Read my site about the brush and roller: don’t go cheap. Budget rollers shed lint etc. Get good ones and clean with water, let dry…then you’ll have them for life. Here is the list of tools I use. That is for latex top coats.
      For the PRIMELOCK, you need a brush for oil, same roller works for oil. Go with maybe 3/8 inch nap or so.

      In this case, trying to clean the roller and brush may not be wise: we toss but if you do 2 coats, wrap in layers of plastic and keep in fridge/freezer between coats… no point in cleaning.

      Normally, one coat of the primer linked above, but why not do 2? Then, you may get some residual smell from the floor, pipes etc…just wash with vinegar or a good cleaner you like.
      Oh, re-reading your note…you have not yet primed? I misunderstood…YES wash very well. Read this: seems right to me.
      Wash, rinse, wash, rinse. You will know you got it all when your white glove is clean after wetting and wiping it… just a clean white rag to test. Test what comes off when you wipe the wall with a clean rag before and after cleaning each time. Keep cleaning. Then, use the primer I mentioned. The Zinsser is ok, but the BM is better.
      Good luck.
      If not clear, please reply here!

  31. Hi Brad. I am painting an exterior front door and accidentally used a primer and paint in one as a first coat instead of a regular primer. Should I apply a layer of regular primer before starting with the final paint color?

    • No, probably not. If you had some sort of stain or other paint or goop that bled through the primer you used, then yes, But otherwise it’ll be ok.
      YOu did not mention if door was already painted int he past. I am assuming it was painted already.
      If it’s never-treated wood, then my answer is not no. You need an oil-based stain-blocking primer for most raw wood.
      Write again if not clear!

  32. Hey,

    I have some older furniture that at some point had a gloss on it but had worn off. I painted with a paint in primer in one but after several months it is sticky and the paint will peel up. Should I sand it all down and paint again or is there something I can coat it with to make it not sticky and not peel?

    • Hi. Well, the good news is you CAN fix this. It’s going to be a mess tho…
      You’ll need to scrape, sand and/or use solutions (water if it’s latex) or any method you can to get all that off, then when you are back to square 1, you’ll need to sand the old finish. Scratch every square inch.
      If you have a drill use this, and if not, find a good toxic paint remover and do it outside. The citrus strippers work, but as well.
      Then, an oil primer is what I would use, then one or 2 coats as needed of your color.
      Don’t add more on top of what you have now! It will just multiply the problem.
      Good luck,

  33. I have a fiberglass front porch column. We were told that we should prime it first before painting. We used an exterior prime and then bought a paint/primer combo (didn’t realize it at the time). Is there a problem using the combo over the regular primer??

    • Hi. Yes, in a case like this, use the exact primer that the maker of the fiberglass recommends.
      As you have already done it, se-la-vi. Paint it, and if and when it peels, removing all the layers will not be much harder than removing just the primer now. But to do this properly, I’d look up what kind of primer the maker specifies and strip your current primer, and start over.
      You may be ok on the other hand!
      Good luck, let me know how it goes.

  34. I want to pain my kitchen cabinets the “lazy” way. I was recommended Chalk Paint (Anne Sloan)
    Is this too good to be true? Also, I would like to paint my wood paneling wall, can I use ProMar 700 Interior Latex Paint with out sanding it down. It wont have much traffic so peeling and wear and tear wont be an issue. What do you recommended for both projects?

    • Hi. Yes, it’s being done a lot: chalk paint dries very very evenly with little or no brushstrokes. But of course, then your furniture is like a blackboard and will easily be marked up: unless you coat it with a nice varnish/urethane. You can choose almost any, but read the label on both products about the minimum and maximum re-coating times…very important.
      On your walls… no, you have to sand. If you don’t, it just won’t bond. If it were me, I’d do a pole sanding (read about it here) and be quick with that. Then I’d prime with STIX, which is the best out there…worth the money. Then whatever paint you want after that is fine. Have a look at flat finishes in whatever brand you like: the flat is very nice on a wall…if you don’t have children with hands that make handprints!! Good luck PS, yes the Pro Mar is excellent. I like Regal from Ben Moore or also Advance for cabinest better than SW, but they are both top notch.

  35. Hi Brad –

    I live in Houston (the bayou city), where it gets mighty moist. We bought a house last year and there is a small two brick high wall in the front yard that the two previous owners have painted white for the last 40 years. I don’t suppose I need to tell you that this wall is green all the time and I am sure the previous owners had to repaint it countless times and I know it is only a matter of time before I receive a letter from the HOA telling me to do the same, my question is… How and with what?

    The wall is exactly two bricks tall and runs the entire length of my front yard ( 250 ft ish). The wall is cemented into the ground and even slightly buried at the bottom, and all of the bricks are now turned a greenish color. The green color is not fluffy or something that can be scraped off with your hand, in other words, it is not tactile. but it is definitely a product of the humid environment (and therefore I imagine some kind of algae or ???).

    I want to take care of this situation but I am wondering also, besides the how and with what is there a way to prevent this type of situation from recurring or at least retarding it a bit?

    Thank you in advance for your reply,


    • I would say to buy a pressure washer and just blast it once a year or as often as necessary. I’d not paint it again. Just let it be natural. If you do paint, look at marine paints. I have both that and washers recommended on this site.
      Good luck,

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