Top Primers to Use When Painting Furniture


Painting is one of the easiest and most economical ways to update a piece of furniture for a fresh new home look. A little time and some materials make painting far less expensive than purchasing an entire new piece at a furniture store.

If you do need a new cabinet for your study or a daybed so the office can double as a guest room, used furniture is a great option when updated with paint that hides flaws and matches your decor. Old kitchen cabinets come to life with a coat of colorful paint and are far cheaper than replacing, especially when you consider the labor required to remove the old and install the new.

Painting is a fairly easy process, but there are some tricks of the trade that will ensure your new piece is perfect on the first try. Using primer is the first tip that any professional furniture restorer will suggest. Here are some guidelines for using primer before painting furniture, including the top primers on the market today.

So Paint Doesn't Fall Off

If the surface you have to paint has any hint of a gloss finish, paint will not stick properly. When dry, the entire coat of paint will flake off -- and of course it doesn't come off 100% of the way, so it creates a total mess. So you're reduced to having to get the remaining paint off with solvents and cleaners.

That's where primer designed to create a layer that keeps the paint from falling off comes in. Products like Glidden Gripper solve the problem, although it usually takes two coats to work. Be sure each layer dries completely before laying down the next one. When you do paint, the new color will adhere perfectly. Glidden Gripper comes in white, but also has a new grey option for use under dark colors.

Don't Let Stain Bleed Through

If the piece you're recreating with paint is covered with stain, after a few days the stain will bleed right through the paint, usually turning your carefully chosen color something hideous. This is also true for the resin or oil in wood knots. How many round circles have you seen in older homes peering through white paint? Obviously, the homeowner was trying to cut corners and used either regular primer or none at all.

A stain-blocking primer does the job beautifully, and the best is produced by Kilz. It is also a solution for painting anything with a polyurethane finish. Although oil-based, Kilz primer dries fairly quickly and your brush will just require cleaning with mineral spirits -- or you can also use a disposable brush if you're not into cleaning.

Fortunately, the clever product designers at Kilz also came up with a spray version. This is perfect for anything with intricate patterns that are hard to reach. As with any spray product, it is a good idea to wear a mask when applying. Also, the Original Kilz primers can be tinted with universal colorant to make painting color match easier.

A Word About Prep

  • Masks are available at paint or hardware stores for use with spray products.
  • Clean surfaces with a non-soapy detergent before starting
  • If there is any hint of mold or mildew, take care of that right away with a commercially available remover.
  • Sanding is not always necessary, but sometimes just a rough sanding will smooth out the surface.

With either gripping or stain-blocking primer, your furniture painting projects will be successful on the first try, and everyone will think you had a pro in to do the job! Little will they know!

Sarah Boisvert writes on a wide variety of topics including business, marketing, and SEO as well as food and wine, health, and home improvement. She has particular interest in guest blogging, backlinks, and social media impact on internet searches.

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