Drywall primer/surfacers are the first step in getting the perfect paint job.
Synopsis: Joints and screw heads often show up even under three coats of joint compound because drywall’s paper face and the compound have different porosities and so reflect light differently. Rather than skim coating the walls, a faster and less expensive solution is to use a drywall primer/surfacer. Pro painter Philip Hansell thoroughly explains the two types of primer/surfacers and outlines their respective pros and cons. He also describes how to get the best results from these products.
Most new drywall has three coats of joint compound on corners and seams, but much of the drywall’s paper face is left uncoated. This is a Level 4 finish as specified by the National Gypsum Association. Even though the walls and ceilings look and feel smooth to the touch, the drywall’s paper surface and joint compound have different porosities. This means that when the wall is painted, the seams look darker and have a slightly glossier finish. The condition is worse when there’s raking light and when walls are painted with dark or glossy paints. Known as joint telegraphing, it’s a problem I’ve seen a lot in the 20 years I’ve been a painter. One common way to prevent telegraphing is to go the extra step to what the National Gypsum Association calls a Level 5 finish, which has traditionally been done by skim coating the entire drywall surface with compound. However, by using a modern drywall primer/surfacer, a crew of three or four painters can prep and spray the walls and ceilings of an entire average-size house to a Level 5 finish in one day for less cost.
Choose the right product
You may have learned that PVA primer is the right primer for new drywall. Primer/surfacers are similar and include the same vinyl acrylic…