Do You Always Need To Prime Before Exterior Painting?

To prime or not to prime… Good question!

To give the best answer possible, let’s step back and take a look at what primer does. The ultimate goal of any great house painting project is to create a finish that lasts. And for paint to last, it needs to bond tightly with the surface. That’s why we clean and prepare your siding so thoroughly: power washing, scraping, sanding, etc. Removing any weak, chipping, or peeling substrate is essential. 

Then, that’s where primer comes in. It creates a sturdy foundation for your paint, anchoring it for maximum performance. 

So yes, the short answer is that primer is almost always a part of the exterior house painting process, but you don’t always need a “full prime.” Sometimes all you need is a “spot prime,” covering just specific areas.

Spot prime vs. full prime when you’re painting a house in NY or CT

When can you spot prime?

Localized priming is ideal for the following scenarios:

  • You’re covering a repair, like patched wood or stucco
  • You’re covering bare wood, like a section of siding that was replaced (maybe due to rot)
  • You’re covering a blemish, like a knot that keeps bleeding through your paint

Keep in mind too that there are different types of primer for different uses. That stubborn knot we mentioned above? You’ll want a high-hide product designed to block stains and blemishes. 

When should you fully prime your siding?

Here are a few examples:

  • You’re painting over new (or very porous) surfaces
  • You’re painting a slick surface that needs a bonding primer for secure adhesion
  • There are heavy stains or odors to block
  • You’re making a drastic color change, particularly from dark to light, and you need a primer coat to make the transition easier
  • Your surfaces were painted with a higher-gloss finish before, or maybe were stained
  • You’re switching types of paint products (for example, switching from an older oil-based product to a newer latex paint)

Lead-safe certified painting contractors also use specialized primers to seal siding that has lead-based products. This is a very unique service that requires strict credentialing, so please approach with caution and be sure you’re working with a qualified professional.

Have more questions about your exterior painting project?

Contact us at A.G. Williams Painting Company! We’ve been serving Westchester and Fairfield Counties (and beyond) since 1906, ensuring that every step and stage of your painting process is handled correctly. Schedule a consultation today!