self etching primer vs regular primer

Difference Between Self Etching Primer And Regular Primer

Wondering what’s the primary difference between self etching primer and regular primer? You’re in the right place.

If you are at the point of choosing between these two primers, this article will help you identify the differences so that you can know which you should use for your painting project.

Using the wrong primer can spoil the job and cause you more expenses in correcting the mistake.

Before we differentiate between self etching primer vs regular primer, let us first have a glance at each of them.

What Is a Self Etching Primer?

Difference Between Self Etching Primer And Regular Primer

For anyone who has had an experience painting old metals, you will understand that for proper bonding to occur between the paint and the metal, it has to be prepped.

This process includes scraping off the old paint from the metal, priming the surface, and finally painting on the primer.

Etching helps new paint stay on instead of peeling off when dried.

Self-etching primers have double action. It etches and then primes the surface.

A typical self-etching primer contains acid and zinc as the major elements. When applied on the surface, the acid reacts with the metal and burns into the metal chemically. The zinc, on the other hand, applies a seal.

For the etching process to work adequately, the surface must be prepped to remove any factors and elements that can come in the way of the chemical bonding. Oil residue and previous paint need to be removed.

Etching primers do not only protect your old metal from rust due to oxidation but also prepares the metallic surface for the final paint coat.

What Are Regular Primers?

Haven seen the primary characteristic of an etching primer, let us quickly see what regular primers are made of.

If you need to paint organic materials like wood, and bricks or concrete, the standard primers come to view.

Conventional materials, as such, do not need a heavy-duty etching primer for the job. A simple latex or oil-based primer will work.

These materials are porous, so they can easily soak up paint. A great bond can be achieved even with no primers at all. You may need to prime such surfaces only when it requires it.

When preparing the surface to be painted using regular primers, it does not require rocket science as compared to self-etching primers.

Just clean the surface as to the best possible and apply your primer. For regular primers, you should be more concerned about using the right primers for the right paint.

And as you already know an oil-based paint should go with an oil-based primer and likewise with latex and water-based paints.

Difference Between Self Etching Primer And Regular Primer

self etching primer vs regular primer

If you have gone through the highlights above about each of the primers in view, you should already know the major differences between a self etching primer and a regular primer.

So what is the major difference?

Regular primers are used on organic materials, while self-etching surfaces are used on metallic surfaces where rust needs to be prevented, and strong adhesion between the surface and the paint is paramount.

In summary, materials such as bare metal, aluminum, and fiberglass, requires self-etching primer for prepping, while surfaces like wood, stone, concrete, or brick only need a regular primer.

How to Paint Using SelF-Etching Primers

Before starting any priming project, you need to have the best quality product. We will recommend getting a self-etching primer from Rust-oleum. They have some good products in their collection.

The secret of having a quality job with self-etching primers is to make the surface well prepared to receive the primer.

The following are steps to take:

  • Remove all previous paints from the metal. You can use any scraping tool to ensure a stress-free process
  • Further, clean the surface to remove oil and grease. This is important if you are painting engine parts.
  • Most primers come in a spray-on container, so it will be easy to apply. Simply spray the primer on the surface to be painted.
  • Endeavor to shake the can well before spraying. When spraying, keep 12-16” distance from the surface to ensure even distribution, thus avoiding overspray
  • Depending on the surface, you may need to apply between 2 – 3 coats of primer. Allow each coat to dry for about 2 minutes before applying the next coat
  • Allow the layer of primer to dry thoroughly. For flat surfaces, observe if they are rough surfaces. For rough surfaces, smooth using the right sandpaper

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use etching primers for plastics and wood?

We have already established the fact that self-etching primers should be used on bare metals. You may not have any issues using it otherwise, but it may not go down well in the long run. We recommend using the right primers for the right purpose.

Can I paint over a self-etching primer?

Some painters claim that self-etching primers need to have another primer over them, or the paint won’t adhere.

This is not true. If you have done an excellent job in prepping the surface, then all you need is the self-etching primers and the suitable paint.

Should I sand self-etching primer before painting?

This depends on the smoothness of the surface you are painting. While some good primers will try to fill up imperfection on the surface, if the surface is initially rough, then you may need to use a 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper.

What is the difference between etch primer and normal primer?

A zinc-rich primer should be used as part of a heavy-duty, high build, two-pack system. Etch primers work by acid etching the metal surface. Whilst the etch primer should be sprayed to ensure a thin, even film, the topcoat can be brushed.

Should I use self etching primer?

After you remove the rust scales from the metal on your car, you need to apply self etching primer. It does, however, prevent the rust problem from worsening. You need to make sure that you apply self etching primer to bare metal that’s been thoroughly cleaned in order for it to be fully effective.

Can you spray self etching primer over regular primer?

Self Etching primer can in fact be painted over but you need to closely follow the manufacturers application and top coat guide. Urethane primer can be top coated with most coatings so you will immediately eliminate any worries of adhesion issues with your top coat.

What happens if you paint over self etching primer?

ByBrittney. They can chip and corrode the existing paint surface when applied to it. Sanding and grunt work are required just to get the car ready for re-prime. Therefore, you should not use self-etching primer on existing paint or gloss.

Should I sand self etching primer before painting?

However, most manufacturers of self-etching primer, due to the acid base of the products, don’t recommend directly sanding the self-etching primer. It should be noted that self-etching primer is mainly an acid base with pigments added, so you should be wearing a respirator when applying it.

Can etch primer go over paint?

They can chip and corrode the existing paint surface when applied to it. Sanding and grunt work are required just to get the car ready for re-prime. Therefore, you should not use self-etching primer on existing paint or gloss.

What kind of primer should I use on bare metal?

Simply put, epoxy is the best primer for bare metal, making it excellent for newly fabricated metal parts or ones that have been fully stripped.

What primer should I use on my car?

Epoxy Primer – Epoxy primer is considered a good standard base when it comes to ensuring the auto paint bonds to the metal and promotes a quality paint finish. It’s formulated specifically to prevent corrosion, so epoxy primer for cars won’t sand as well as other types, like urethane primer.

How long can you leave etch primer before painting?

Most primers should sit on a car for around 24 hours before applying the base coat of paint. Some primers may dry in as little as 30 minutes, but experts say to apply the primer 24 hours before painting for the best results.

Can you sand etching primer?

Allow the final coat of Self Etching Primer to dry for a minimum of 3-4 hours before dry sanding, or 15 minutes before wet sanding with #400 grit sandpaper. Do not use near open flame.

Self Etching Primer vs Regular Primer | Conclusion

Identifying the major differences between self etching and regular primers will help you make the right purchase for every project you intend to embark on.

And just to recap, regular primers are used on organic materials, while self-etching surfaces are used on metallic surfaces.

Do not also forget that you will need different approaches when it comes to application.

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