Skip to content

3 Specialty Primers You Really Should Know About

Why you should know about specialty primers

specialty primers | what paint primer should I use

There are a lot of primers out there, some so specialized that you would rarely find the need to use them. However, as a painter, it’s a good idea to have a wide knowledge base of all the options out there, so you’re prepared when a situation calls for something a little different. Our GM Allan Alarcon recommends that you investigate and experiment often to find the right primers for each job, don’t just rely on the tried and true two that you know to prep for basic paint prep.

Don’t let walls drink your paint!


Kelly-Moore Kel-Bond PVA Primer quick facts:

  • Cheapest primer on the market
  • Has one purpose: to seal new drywall and new texture
  • Great for new construction
  • Doesn’t stain block, no adhesion ability

specialty primers | what paint primer should I use

Pretty much every brand has a PVA primer because they are an absolute necessity when priming newly textured walls or drywall, before painting. Using the proper primer helps to seal drywall and create a barrier between drywall and paint, so the wall doesn’t drink (or soak up) the paint and waste your product. Priming with PVA’s will also help you avoid a chemical reaction that can take place between drywall or texture and paint, so you don’t get softening or peeling. You wouldn’t use this primer anywhere else, but for the purposes described above, it is your best option.

The best specialty primer for eliminating strong odor

zinsser bin primer1

Zinsser BIN Primer quick facts:

  • Number one primer for eliminating odors
  • Good for stain blocking
  • One of the more expensive primers
  • Can apply it absolutely everywhere: trim, doors, walls, ceilings, cabinetry, subflooring, etc.

specialty primers | what paint primer should I use

Zinsser’s BIN Primer has one key ingredient: shellac. A powerful substance that was given to us by nature (watch here to learn more about that). This primer has the ability to seal away even the most intense odors and is our number one choice for homes that have undergone so much wear and tear that you can smell it.

We once had a client who needed work on a house that had been fully taken over by cats. If you’ve ever smelled cat “business”, you know it is pungent. Now multiply that by thirty cats. We went through the house (wearing a respirator, so we could breathe) and painted this shellac primer on every paintable surface possible. The carpet was pulled up and we even painted the subflooring with it.

BIN Primer did an absolutely amazing job of sealing those odors away so that you no longer needed a respirator to walk through the home. In any situation with an overpowering odor, this is the one and the only primer we would consider using. It is that good.

Specialty primer that helps level things out


Zinsser Peel Stop Triple Thick quick facts

  • Clear primer
  • Coats over peeling paint
  • Good for minor leveling

specialty primers | what paint primer should I use

This is one of those specialty primers that you wouldn’t find yourself using on a daily basis. The most common use would be instances like in an older home where you find peeling paint that, because of budgetary limitations, can’t be stripped or replaced.

In these cases, we sand off the areas with peeling paint, then go back with this Triple Thick to seal it up, creating a smooth surface between the unpeeled and peeled patches. It’s really thick, so it does a little bit of leveling, but it is not a miracle product, so you will likely be able to tell that there was previously damage there.

Sometimes, you just need to replace siding, rather than painting over it, but if time or budgetary constraints make that impossible for the time being, this product will get the job done and give you a bit more longevity until you can replace the whole thing.

specialty primers | what paint primer should I use

We also found that Triple Thick worked well for a room where our client had previously painted stripes in the home.

When you paint stripes, dots, or any shape that brings contrast to the rest of the wall, you’re creating different levels of thickness on the surface.

It may seem minor to the point of being unnoticed, at first, but every “thin” coat of paint applied, thickens up and hardens as it dries and when it comes time to paint over that wall, you’ll be able to see that it’s no longer a smooth, flat surface.

In order to prime in a situation like this, for one all-over color, we sand the edges of the shapes painted, add two coats of Triple Thick, and the wall becomes level once more.

pierpaolo riondato y8qtaHduL Y unsplash edited

Increase your knowledge, increase your skills

specialty primers | what paint primer should I use

When you paint professionally, your workload consists of a large variety of situations and circumstances and it’s best to be prepared for what may come your way. We pride ourselves on being seekers of knowledge and professionals in skills, always ready to learn the most efficient, cost-effective way to take on a task and give it our best efforts. If you think a job is too big for us, think again. Contact us today and get a free quote on your messiest projects, we’re the ones for the job.

CEO & founder Steven Montgomery & GM Allan Alarcon talk specialty primers

Paint Base Types: Oil or Water

How to choose what’s best for you and your home. A crucial decision to make…

Read More »
Oil-Based Vs. Water-Based Paint: How to Repaint Your Home without the Mess

So, you’ve moved into a new home. (Yay!) But the previous owners’ paint colors are…

Read More »
Franchisee Spotlight: Mariel and Jonathan Robles of That 1 Painter Waco-Killeen

Without our franchisees, we would still only have our corporate locations; we want to take…

Read More »
Franchisee Spotlight: James Low of That 1 Painter North West San Antonio

That 1 Painter couldn’t be what it is today without our fantastic franchisees; this week,…

Read More »
Posted in

Leave a Comment