Under the right conditions, self-priming paint is a helpful tool to cover strong colors, prime sheetrock while applying colors, and save drying time. However, self-priming paint isn’t the best choice in all situations.

Issues to Consider

What Are the Right Conditions?

If the surface that needs painting is in good shape, self-priming paint is a workable option. Additionally, you can get good use out of self-priming paint when

  • you’re painting interior walls. Self-priming paint isn’t the best option under tough conditions, such as sun or snow
  • if you need to cover a dark or strong color, to limit bleed-through
  • over new drywall
  • when you’re in a hurry

Save Time

Painting during the evenings and weekends can be rewarding but realizing you have to make time for a second coat can be really frustrating. Even if you hire a qualified professional painter to do the job, you’re still dealing with drying time and other delays.
Self-priming paint has a higher build, which means that it goes on your walls a bit thicker than regular paint.

When to Use Primer

There are situations that call for primer. For example, if you’re applying paint to the exterior of your home and particularly if you’re painting over bubbling paint, cracks or peeling, use a good quality conventional primer once you’ve prepared the surface.
Additionally, as a general rule, exterior surfaces should be primed even if the topcoat is in good condition. Separating the priming and the painting process gives you the chance to check out the surface and make the necessary repairs to protect your topcoat. A good quality exterior painting project should last 5 to 7 years.

Surfaces Matter

Extremely porous surfaces, such as bricks, wood, and masonry will need a primer. When working on the exterior of your house, remember that paint is actually part of the protective coating of your investment. A good quality primer and a topcoat with plenty of cling and UV protection will give your home a shield against the elements.

Inside your home, problem surfaces include spaces with high humidity. If your bathroom paint tends to peel, it may be time to scrape away as much loose paint as possible, patch the uneven areas, sand and prime with water-resistant primer. Then you can apply your topcoat. If you’ve never patched sheetrock or dealt with moisture damage, contact a professional to handle this problem once and for all.


One of the ways that you know that your paint and primer in one choice is a good option is that this paint is really only available from higher-end producers. Brands such as Sherwin-Williams and Valspar have been around for a long time because they produce a good product. Paint and primer in one generally costs more, but in the right conditions, it’s worth it.

Final Thoughts

Your home is likely your largest asset and maybe your dream space. Quality paint, properly applied, can protect it from outside elements and interior damage. Additionally, a quality paint job in a color you love can bring you a great deal of joy. Work with a pro who understands the chemistry of paint to help you come up with a painting plan that will keep your home looking great. Prime and paint in one on the inside, and separate primer and paint outdoors. Enjoy your new paint job!