What happens if you paint wood without a primer?


When it comes to painting a wooden surface, the first question that comes to your mind is whether you should use a primer first. You’ll definitely have to put extra effort into it.

Should You Prime a Wall before Pain...
Should You Prime a Wall before Painting?

To determine whether the efforts you put in are worthwhile or not, it all depends on how you approach the project.

We will in a blog post talk about whether you should prime a wood surface before painting or not. You’ll learn when it’s okay to skip the primer’s coat and when it’s recommended.

This is what happens when you skip priming first.

When there is no primer, you will end up with a patchy appearance regardless of how many coats you apply it would not make any difference.

Primers have a stronger adhesive property than normal colors, and that’s why they adhere firmly working as a base coat.

Moreover, bare woods have so many open pores, thus a paint color would not cover them, resulting in peeling off soon after being applied.

Last but not least, bare wood’s grain rises when hydrated. Primers are actually pressed off for the final coat of color. As a result, smooth end results are achieved.

The absence of primers on woods like pinewood also means that no coat is applied to press wood grains. As such, when you directly paint on bare woods. Surface grains are most likely to be visible. In this way, the color coat would not last long because the color particles will not adhere strongly to the surface, but rather become enmeshed in the grains.

Why should you apply a primer?

The following are reasons why primer is usually applied to surfaces before painting.

Before oil-based paints, primers give smooth end results by filling the open pores of a wood surface, hold up paint well, provide longevity, keep the surface withstand in a harsh environment, and reduce the number of coats to be applied.

When is it okay to not apply primer?

If you are going to paint an old-wooden piece that will not be used for a long period of time.

You have prepared your mind that the thing to be painted does not have to hold paint color well, which means you will cope with a mediocre result. In these circumstances, omitting primer is okay, and you can save time by skipping it.

Secondly, using only a color coat is perfectly fine, if the project you are going to paint has been painted with a similar color already you’re about to apply.

It’s likely you will achieve good results even if you skip the priming part, given other factors the material’s surface is evenly balanced, given its indoor location.

Primer may be required at times.

In order to achieve a nice-looking end result, a primer’s coat is all you need. It comes in handy when you are painting a natural bare wood for example a pinewood, where you do not want wood grains to be apparent, but rather you are aiming for a perfectly smooth finish. You should apply primer first.

A secondary purpose is to ensure the paint does not flake off too early is also addressed as well.

If you paint wood without a primer, what happens?

If you don’t want to use primer in your project, you might end up having a few problems. 

The causes of skipping primer should be known to you.

Here are the possible downsides of not using primers.

  1. You’ll end up with a bad-looking painted surface.

Without a primer anything you are painting using color, the surface will expose on top. It happens the most in cases when you are trying to apply a light color on a darker surface. The surface will be exposed once the paint layer has dried, creating an unattractive effect.

  1. To obtain the desired color, additional coats are necessary.

Not applying a primer’s coat would not save you money. The fact is, you will have to coat twice or three times the paint color to look nice and smooth since the surface will become exposed as soon as the paint dries.

  1. Color wouldn’t adhere to surfaces better.

There is a good chance that the paint is not going to hold up for long. Most of it may stick, but some areas with a thin layer of oil or grease will have problems sticking. That, as time goes on, will become clear to observe. 

Even if the bond appears good after the first coat, the peel-off may be an issue down the road. You will face this issue more clearly if your project has an exterior.

  1. You will face problems caused by dust particles.

It gets a little messy in a place that wasn’t totally clean, and some of that paint gets contaminated with gunk. All that will have to be taken off and repainted; or, if not too thick, all that will need to be dried and repainted.

What does a primer’s coat do on a wood?

A primer does more than just give you an evenly balanced smooth surface. It does many things. We’ve listed them below.

  • Primers are primarily used to provide a smooth surface for a final coating. 

  • A solids-rich primer prevents wood from cracking and makes a smooth finish coat possible by filling in wood grains. 

  • Primers help the final coat to withstand harsh weather effects such as direct sunlight effects and humid weather.

  • Primer has stain-blocking properties, which becomes especially crucial when painting knotty pine.

Types of primers that work well on wood.

The market with primers today offers dozens of different types, each of which serves a different purpose and works best with a different type of material. 

Mainly there are two types readily found in primers.

Oil-based primer: These primers are made of using oil, take a long time in drying, and curing time is about 24 hours. They are thick, therefore, projects requiring filling pores are best suited with these types.

Furthermore, unlike water-based primers, they don’t raise the grain of wood surfaces. Which makes achieving smooth results difficult when they occur.

Latex priming: These sort of primers although have a fast drying time, but when it comes to providing protection, they are not as effective as oil-based primers. It also raises the grain of the wood because of its water-based property

How to Prime

If this is bare wood, you have been advised to first sand the surface with a light coarse grit, usually something between 180 to 220. Clean the surface as you finish sanding, and make sure there are no longer any dust particles on the surface. Now depending upon which primer you chose, apply the first coat and let it get dried and cured for the next 24 hours.

If you are painting a light color on a darker color, then you will have to apply two or three coats of primer, never forget to give them 24 hours curing time.

Once your priming is done, sand again with a light grit coarse, 220 grit is recommended for getting rid of grains that have risen to the surface. Now keep the project aside for a week or some days to let the primer gets absorbed all the way to the surface.

After the final steps come down, the coloring part. Depending on the size of the area, you can use a paintbrush, a roller, or even a spy gun to complete the colored job quickly.

Recent Posts