Always prime when the existing surface has stains, chalking, dark colors or irregular surface conditions. Even better, purchase a high quality paint that has primer mixed in. Don’t go cheap on the paint.
When prepping your surfaces, small holes, cracks or damage, can be fixed with a paintable caulk instead of drywall mud or plaster. Paintable caulk has the advantage of expanding/contracting with temperature changes.
Primers work because it’s specially formulated with additional binders, additives and tougher pigments that cover problem areas. Some brands include Zinsser’s BIN, KILZ (by Masterchem Industries), and Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3. BIN is my favorite for most conditions because it effectively covers stains, is low-odor and dries in 45 minutes.
Primers have special qualities for special conditions, so read the labels or consult a painting professional for specific applications. For the best advice, visit a paint store that contractors use.
If your going to try it yourself, use a paintable caulk for small wall repairs and a high grade paint and primer mix. You’ll save yourself a lot of work and your results will be much better.
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