What Can I Substitute for Paint Primer on Dry Wall?

Whether you renovate an older home or build a newer one, you come across drywall. Drywall contains gypsum and has a slightly rough texture. The drywall serves as the basis for any walls in your home. Primer essentially primes the surface, preparing the drywall for the top paint layer. You do not necessarily need a primer as other substitutes exist.

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Prepping the Drywall

Before applying any paint to the drywall, clear away any joint compound. Joint compound or drywall mud adheres to the surface, especially along the join lines. A utility knife rubbed along the lines pulls the compound off the walls. Remove any bumps or uneven patches by sanding the walls with medium-grit sandpaper, and follow that with a finer-grit. You'll want to clear away any dust caused by the sanding with a soft cloth wiped over the walls.

Latex Paint

Latex paint may act as a suitable replacement for primer on drywall. Jeff Croft, a professional drywall installer and owner of Tape Finish Texture Drywall, warns against using latex paint watered down. The concept involves mixing latex paint with a small amount of water, creating a thinned version of the paint. You apply the mixture to the walls, and the drywall absorbs the liquid, giving the walls a smooth surface. According to Croft, glossy paints show more flaws in the drywall. The glossy color brings attention to any bumps or dents in the surface of the wall.

Other Paints

Croft recommends using a flat finish or satin paint that contains no gloss and has a dull finish. The paint fills in the dents and bumps on the drywall, giving the wall the smooth surface you need. Apply an even coat of the paint to the walls, and wait 24 hours. Inspect the walls for any signs that the paint peels away or comes loose. If this occurs, sand down the walls and apply a new coat of paint. The drywall absorbs the paint quickly, and you will likely need more coats than if you used primer.

Drywall Conditioner

Use a drywall conditioner product, such as Wall-Prep Latex Drywall Conditioner from Duron or the Drywall Conditioner from Sherwin-Williams. Drywall conditioners form a seal over the drywall and keep the surface from suffering damage, including dents or gouges. Sherwin-Williams recommends using its product when removing wallpaper because it keeps the wall from showing any damage caused by your tools. The product dries clear, making it difficult to detect. As it smooths the surface, the conditioner replaces the need for a separate primer. Follow up with several coats of paint once the conditioner dries. According to Duron, the conditioner acts as a primer, especially when hanging wallpaper on drywall.

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