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Primer or no primer needed

I have moved into a new place and the walls (all of them) are painted in a semi-gloss.  I am starting with painting the bedroom since that is all I have furniture for smileywink:  The walls are all white semi-gloss, I am looking at a medium yellow tone that I thought I should get an eggshell cause I do not want it too shiny and leaving the ceiling with the white semi gloss.  Should I get a primer/paint in one, a primer and then paint seperately or just paint with no primer?


Thank you for you help in advance.

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Posted 2011-05-03T12:26:20+0000  by Qi Qi

Great Question Qi!


Under most circumstances, I would recommend Behr Ultra, paint and primer in one.


However, painting over semi-gloss surfaces does not fit in the category "most circumstances."


Semi-gloss wall paints as well as high-gloss factory finishes on doors and windows are designed to repel dirt and stains. When these high-shine finishes do their job, they also repel the next coat of paint.


When you paint Ultra over high-gloss finishes, you create a coating that clings and looks good initially. But when you ding or scratch the coating, the full sheet may peel off in several large pieces.


When we first introduced Ultra, I saw this when a contractor painted over the factory finish on several doors. His client applied the "scratch test" and discovered that the product did not actually scratch, but rather peeled as described above.


So, painting over semi-gloss or high-gloss finishes is one of the few exceptions in which I recommend primer followed by paint as opposed to Behr Ultra.


Ask your Paint Associate to tint your primer and you'll be able to apply your first coat of color while priming.

Posted 2011-05-03T14:34:42+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

So I asked the HD people at the paint counter the same question. They said to purchase the Behr Ultra, paint & primer in one. I was told no additional primer would be needed and one coat of paint should do the trick.


We painted one wall and it isnt passing the scratch test. It comes right off like peeling sunburned skin.  I'm guessing this also affects the coverage since it needs a 2nd coat for good coverage. Any suggestions on how to address this?


Will a 2nd coat of paint help?

Do I need to scrape the walls clean, prime and then paint?



Posted 2011-06-03T19:44:53+0000  by BHennen

Welcome to our community BHennen,


My name is Christine and I work in the paint department at The Home Depot. I'm sorry you are having problems painting your wall. :smileysad:


There are a few reasons why paint would not pass the scratch test. Do you know if the paint you are painting over is oil or latex based? If it is oil, you will first have to prime the surface with an oil based primer. Behr Ultra is latex based, therefore will not adhere to oil based paint. Also, like PatInPaint mentioned above you will also have to do this if you are painting over is a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish. 


The best thing for you to do next is to sand the wall with an 80 grit sand paper, prime and then apply the paint. 


Let us know how it turns out!




Posted 2011-06-04T17:39:42+0000  by Christine_HD_ATL

If the walls are textured, de-glossing the walls instead of sanding is recommended. I'm in the process of painting the bathroom which has glossy finish.

Posted 2013-02-17T21:33:13+0000  by Pen


Don't be premature with "the scratch test". The adhesion of acrylic paints increase as it fully cures. full curing can take as much as a month. If you scratch acrylic paint a couple hours after application, it will probably scratch off.


I once again refer to my test sample of semi-gloss Ultra over high gloss urethane varnish. It cannot be scratched off with a simple finger nail!

Posted 2013-02-18T05:23:24+0000  by ordjen
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