Why Priming Wood is Necessary

Applying Wood Primer is Essential for Ensuring a Quality Paint Job and Protecting the Wood

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Mark, I have some 1”x4” lumber that I am using to box in my closets and need to paint them. My question to you is whether or not priming wood is really necessary, and if I just paint them with a couple of coats of paint is that sufficient.

Answer: NE, similar to a foundation makeup that woman use when dolling themselves up, paint primer is a foundation coating that is applied to bare wood to ensure a quality finish paint job and to protect the wood.

So to answer your question in a nutshell, priming wood is not an option. It is done for a number of reasons and you should absolutely not skip this step.

First of all, you need to understand that kiln dry lumber, as the name suggests, is dry. It’s also very porous. Consequently wood easily absorbs moisture, such as the solvents in paint. Many paints depend upon the steady evaporation of the solvents to achieve the specified formulated paint color.

Priming wood helps ensure the paint cures properly and achieves its designed color and durability. If the paint is applied directly to the bare wood, the paint may never achieve its intended color, and even worse, it could actually pucker and have a cracked appearance.

Second, paint primer is specially formulated to help ensure better adhesion of the paint to the wood. Also, it provides a smoother finished paint surface as it helps to fill in voids in the wood and provides a consistent surface type for the paint to bond to. Without priming, several coats of paint would be necessary to achieve the same finished smooth surface and ensure even color.

Why priming wood is necessary.

Finally, priming wood provides additional protection to the wood and increases the paints durability. Wood primer is designed to be water resistant which helps protect the lumber from absorbing moisture that could result in warping, and mold and mildew growth.

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