What Are Paint Primers?
In usual terms, a 'primer' is a coat of paint used to seal a surface or prepare it prior to covering the surface with undercoat and top coats. There are primers for softwood, hardwood and metal. The term primer is usually made with reference to these materials, though some painters refer to wall primers, or what is known in the trade as a 'mist coat' to seal bare plaster and plasterboard.

There are two main purposes of paint. The obvious one is decoration, while the other is protection, especially wood. However wood is absorbent, and if paint is applied without the absorbent properties of the wood being reduced, then the oil element of paint gets absorbed into the wood, leaving the pigment on the surface. As the pigment dries, it no longer becomes attached to the wood and eventually the paint will begin to flake off.

Types of wood

A primer for wood seals and binds to the surface of the wood, providing a surface for undercoat to adhere to and to cover and protect the wood. While hardwood is less absorbent, it still requires a primer, and to create a H2 bond, some hardwood primers contain aluminium. Primers for metal perform a slightly different task in that they are designed to create a H2 bond between paint and metal. The primer then becomes a surface, an undercoat can adhere to and so the process evolves.

As with wood, metal also needs protecting, especially to stop corrosion. You can paint metal with a variety of paints used for indoors and outdoors, depending on where the metal in question is to be placed. However there are specific metal paints available, such as Hammerite, which are designed to be extra-durable and protective, forming an enamel-type finish to anything painted with it.

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