what happens if you don’t paint over primer

What Happens If You Don’t Paint Over Primer?

Are you wondering what happens if you don’t paint over primer? If yes, then you’ll like this post as we’re going to tell you what primer does in painting.

The use of primer is one of the most misunderstood steps in painting because of the different controversies surrounding its uses.

To know when you should use a primer, you first have to understand what primers are, the types available, what they’re intended to be used for, and their benefits.

Although paint manufacturers recommend using a primer before painting because of its advantages. However, different people use factors such as cost, patience, and time as a determinant if to use a primer or not.

Why You Should Prime Before Painting

why you should paint over primer

Paint primer ensures proper bonding of the paint to the surface. A primer also works as a concealer, hiding surface stains and enhancing the final finish of a paint job, providing it with a more durable sheen level.

Here are some benefits of priming:

It Provides a Proper Surface Base

Before painting,  applying primer is an essential part of the surface preparation. The level of surface porosity is a strong determinant for the need of a primer before a painting job.

The use of primers reduces the absorption of the paint into a porous surface.  If a primer is not used, part of the paint soaks into the surface, which in return reduces the firm shielding of the paint.

When the surface is too slick or glossy, paint bonding is difficult because the paint has nothing to stick to on the surface. Paint primer sets a good base and texture on the surface for the paint to adhere to.

Other reasons you may want to consider priming are;

  • Priming makes your paint more long-lasting and durable
  • Priming reduces the number of paint coats when making a drastic color change

What Happens If You Don’t Paint Over Primer?

what happens if you don’t paint over primer

So what happens if you don’t paint over primer?

Let’s quickly find out below!

Lack of Uniformity between paint color and sheen

A primer provides the surface with a seal that helps paint cover properly. If you don’t paint over primer, it reduces the pigment ratio of the paint, because of too much paint absorption on the surface, the pigment from the paint soaks into the wall, thereby leaving a lighter color.

Failure to use a primer leads to reduced pigment ratio of the topcoat, which means that too much pigment soaks into the drywall, and the final color is lighter than it’s supposed to be; it may appear washed out in places.

Improper Paint Adhesion

The primer provides the surface with a glue-like base and a flat sheen to promote adhesion between the surface and the paint.

Masonry, drywall, wood primers, to name a few, helps the paint adhere properly to the surface. If you ignore the priming step, you risk paint chipping off from already painted surfaces.

Leakage from damaged walls

When painting over old and damaged walls with stains from damaged water drainage, smoke stains from cooking, or retained pet odor, a primer serves as a stain blocker since it acts as a sealant and concealer.

It will block these stains is to remove the risk of them leaking out and at the same time conceal the marks from showing through the paint.

What happens if I don’t paint over primer?

Since primer’s function is mainly to bond and cover porous surfaces, it is not made to withstand elements like paint. Because of this, if you leave primer without a top coat (or paint) it will deteriorate and break down, probably in a chalk like form.

Do you always have to paint over primer?

Always prime your walls before painting if the surface is porous. The surface is porous when it absorbs water, moisture, oil, odors or stains. This material will literally absorb your paint right into it if you don’t prime first. Untreated or unstained wood is also very porous.

What happens if I don’t paint over Kilz primer?

Do you Have to Paint Over Kilz Primer? Yes, Kilz 2 helps bond and cover a porous surface, after which you can safely apply paint on top. The purpose of Kilz is purely for bonding and cannot resist elements the same way paint does. Therefore, leaving the primer without top coating can damage it over time.

Can I just spot prime a wall?

This process is called “spot priming.” If you already have primer, simply use a little primer on those patch areas. It is not necessary to prime the whole wall if you’re using the same or similar color. When the “spot-prime” areas are dry, you can paint the wall normally.

How long can you wait after priming to paint?

In most cases, latex primers don’t take more than an hour to dry out. However, you should wait three to four hours before applying a layer of paint. On the other hand, an oil-based primer will need a longer time to dry out. You should give it 24 hours to make sure that it’s completely ready for another coat.

Is primer just white paint?

Primer is usually white but can be other neutral colors. There is no need to color the primer itself, but some paint stores will add a small amount of pigment to the primer to make it closer to your final paint color. This is a good idea when the final color is much lighter than the original color of the surface.

Are primers necessary?

But do you really need primer? Whether or not you feel using a primer is necessary, it’s 100 percent up to you. You may find that primers don’t make a marked improvement in your face makeup, and in that case, skip the step.

Does primer have to be perfect?

The primer coat doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should cover the surface (no bare spots) and it shouldn’t be so blotchy that you get drips or visible unevenness.

Is primer supposed to look streaky?

Primer is not supposed to look streaky or have visible drip lines. While primer does not need to completely cover old coats of paint in order for your new paint to go on flawlessly, primer should be applied in a uniform manner.

Can you just paint over old paint?

You can use a primer to thoroughly cover the old color, then apply 1 or 2 coats of the new paint. Paint & primer in one paints are a newer option, which could be ideal for your situation and even shorten the project.


Priming is a default step to take before painting. You can never go wrong with priming, especially when you are not confident enough about the condition of the wall or surface to be painted.

Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, the pros of using a primer before a painting job outweigh the cons if there is any.

Now that you know what happens if you don’t paint over primer, you should consider priming.