Best Primer To Cover Dark Paint

Primer or what is commonly known as an undercoat is a coating that is used to prepare surfaces or materials before painting is done. Using primer ensures that the paint adheres much better to the surface in addition to increasing the durability of the paint. Moreover, priming provides added protection to the material that is being painted.

Why is it important to prime?

Priming is not just a nondescript step during the painting process; it safeguards the energy and resources spent in the painting process from going to waste. Primer acts as a buffer between the surface that is being painted and the topcoat being used to paint thus ensuring that the final appearance of your work is as perfect as you’d desired it to be.

Why do you need to prime

  • To prevent the topcoat paint from scratching, scraping, or flaking away easily as the primer provides improved adhesion to the surface.
  • Primer bonds or seals to hard-to-paint surfaces. This allows for regular paint to be used on a surface that would otherwise be impossible to paint.
  • Priming eliminates or covers surface problems such as odor, water damage, mold, and many others. This allows for the surfaces to be painted on directly without requiring expensive repairs.
  • It also creates a uniform, smooth surface that ensures the topcoat paint is applied evenly and easily.
  • Priming helps cover up dark or bright colors and as such, you only need to use fewer coats of regular paint to achieve the desired effect.
  • Priming helps protect your items and surfaces from weather elements and wear and tear than when the paint is used alone.

In a hurry, here is our 5 Best Primer to Cover Dark Paint


This water-based primer has a powerful stain-blocking formula and easily seals surfaces before you can paint on them. Moreover, it offers excellent adhesion to both exterior and interior surfaces. In addition, KILZ premium helps achieve a smooth uniform finish while hiding stains and previous colors. Furthermore, KILZ premium features mildewcide protection that helps prevent mold and mildew from surfaces.

This primer is an excellent choice being the best primer to cover dark paint for high humidity areas such as laundry rooms and bathrooms. It can also be used on exterior and interior drywall, woodwork, plaster, masonry, paneling, and brick among many other surfaces. It is also an ideal choice when doing color changes or when you have to cover light to medium stains. 1 gallon of this primer gives you excellent coverage of up to 400 square feet.


  • It is water-based
  • Can be used in occupied homes
  • This primer has zero VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) and is, therefore, safe to use almost anywhere in the home
  • It is mildew resistant
  • It seals surfaces offering a smooth surface for the topcoat
  • An ideal choice for high humidity areas such as bathrooms


  • It cannot cover stubborn/heavy stains on walls
  • Produces some odor


Whether you are looking for a primer to solve common problems around the home or one that offers industrial strength, look no farther than this Zinsser all-surface primer. It comes with an effective formula designed to enhance the durability of any paint job. This primer gives excellent adhesion to a wide range of topcoats even on surfaces that are considered to be difficult.

You can use this primer for exterior and interior drywall, wood, concrete, metal, masonry, glass, and many other surfaces. Its water-based formula helps it seal uniformly and smoothly without the need for sanding. Moreover, this primer dries pretty quickly allowing you to apply the topcoat within an hour of application.


  • Excellent adhesion to a wide range of surfaces
  • Low VOCs and can be used in homes
  • Can block heavy stains
  • Dries quickly


  • Produces odor
  • Does not offer mildew and mold protection


Specially formulated for non-porous interior and exterior surfaces, this primer gives the ultimate protection against mold, mildew, fungi, moss, and other odor-causing bacteria. Its water-based formula produces low odor making it an ideal choice for painting around the home and it cleans up pretty easily with soap and water. Moreover, this primer dries up quickly allowing for recoats within an hour or less. This primer works best with masonry and metal surfaces.


  • Safe to use in occupied homes since it is water-based
  • It cleans up easily
  • It covers and prevents the future growth of mold, mildew, and other fungi
  • It dries up quickly allowing for faster completion of projects


  • Produces odor
  • Does not work best on all surface types.


Ideal for multi-purpose applications, this acrylic primer provides excellent adhesion to a wide range of interior and exterior surfaces. It is highly versatile and provides an excellent base coat for oil-based and latex topcoats. In addition, this primer comes with an excellent stain blocking abilities and is an ideal choice when you are considering the color change. It produces minimal VOCs and can be used in occupied homes. Furthermore, this primer dries up quickly allowing for recoats within 1 hour. It also offers excellent coverage with 1 gallon covering up to 400 square feet.


  • It offers excellent adhesion on both exterior and interior surfaces
  • Can block stubborn stains
  • Dries up quickly for faster project completion
  • Highly versatile and can be used with both latex and oil-based paints


  • Does not offer microbial protection against mold and mildew
  • Produces VOCs


Ideal for getting rid of pesky odors, this primer does an excellent job on interior surfaces. Its advanced formula eliminates even the most stubborn stains and odors from pet urine, tobacco, food, and smoke, and fire damage. It can be used for subfloors, wooden floors, PVC, masonry, metal, drywall, plaster, and cabinets. Moreover, this primer offers excellent adhesion to a variety of surfaces including glass, and tiles without the need for deglossing or sanding. It also dries very quickly allowing for recoats within 45 minutes for faster completion of projects. It also produces very little odor making it ideal for use in homes.


  • Works on all types of interior surfaces
  • Dries up much faster than most other primes
  • Can be used on glossy surfaces without any preparation
  • Produces very few odors


  • Not ideal for use on external surfaces
  • Does not provide anti-microbial protection

Best Primer To Cover Dark Paint Buying Guide

Selecting the Right Primer

Not all primers work in a similar manner when it comes to solving painting problems. As such, it is wise to choose the best primer that will give you the best outcome for your particular painting project. For instance, if your project includes indoors and outdoors, then a primer designed for interior and exterior use will be the ideal choice. Otherwise, there are primers that have been specifically designed for interior or exterior use.

The best interior primers largely depend on the type of surface you are painting on and the type of paint you intend to use for the topcoat.

Exterior primers on the other hand offer improved durability than interior primers. However, the best exterior primer to use is one that offers protection against mildew while minimizing erosion and cracking. Depending on the surface you are working on, here is how to choose the best primer.

  • New Wood

For unstained wood, a high-quality latex primer/oil-based primer will be a perfect choice. However, if your wood is stained or you are painting on cedar or redwood, then a stain-blocking primer will be the ideal choice for you.

  • Painted Wood

If the paint on the wood is in a good condition, then in most instances you won’t have the need to use a primer. However, if the wood is chalking, chipped, or exposed, then an oil-based primer will be the ideal choice. But before you start priming, make sure you scrape any chipped paint as much as possible and clean up any chalk just like you’d prepare any surface before painting.

  • Weathered Wood

When working on weathered wood, it would be ideal to use a latex or oil-based primer of high quality. However, ensure that you scrape and sand away as much loose or peeling paint as possible until you can see new wood fibers. Then you can start priming.

  • Masonry Block

For a fresh block surface, begin by filling the block with block filler before you can start painting. If you are repairing paint on a block, begin by scraping any loose or peeling paint. Then cover the block with a latex paint primer.

  • Aluminum and Galvanized Steel

If the surface you are working on is rusty, begin by removing the rust. Then apply an oil-based or latex primer that is corrosion resistant. However, if the surface is not new and rust-free, you don’t need to use any primer, you can just apply latex paint of high quality.

  • Best Primer for Drywall

When working with drywall, it is ideal to go with a latex primer. Avoid using an oil-based primer unless it is for covering a stain or putting up wallpaper. This is because oil-based primers raise the grain of the drywall thereby making the finish uneven.

  • Best Stain-Blocking Primer

For most surfaces, water, grease, smoke, and crayons can easily bleed through the topcoat. To avoid this, prime these areas using a stain-killing or stain-blocking primer. Oil-based stain killers work best on water stains and are also ideal for spot trimming. On the other hand, latex stain-blocking primers are ideal when working on larger surfaces offer excellent adhesion on exterior surfaces. If you have to deal with smoke or soot damage then a pigmented shellac primer will be the ideal choice. This also works well to block pet smell and urine stains.

  • Shiny Surfaces

If you are working on Formica, tile, and glass, then you would be better served using bonding primers. However, bonding primers only work for interior surfaces as they tend to crack when exposes to exterior weather elements.

  • Dark Paint

When it comes to dark paint, sometimes it can take a number of coats to cover existing dark paint. The best prime when it comes to covering dark paint depends on the final look you desire to achieve. For example,  you desire to have a light color, then use a white primer. If you want the base coat to be similar to your final color, it would be best if you used a tinted primer or add paint to a white primer.

Is primer necessary before painting?

Yes, it is. A primer helps prep the surface you intend to paint on sealing any stains. This ensures that the paint adheres well while delivering a smooth and clean surface as possible. However, there are some exceptional circumstances you don’t have to use a primer highlighted above.

Is primer just white paint?

While in most instances primer is usually white, it can also be in other neutral colors. There isn’t a need to color the primer itself but some stores may add a little amount o pigment to the primer for your specific painting project. This is quite helpful especially when you are changing colors and the final color is lighter than the previous color on the surface.

What happens if you paint without primer?

You risk a number of things when you skip priming on a surface before applying the topcoat. To begin with, if you are working in humid conditions, the paint is likely to peel off quickly if you didn’t use a primer. Furthermore, your paint won’t adhere to the surface perfectly if you skip priming and this might bring up challenges especially when cleaning the surface.

We cannot understate the importance of priming when it comes to delivering excellent projects. That’s why we have exhaustively covered every detail when it comes to priming to help you make the right choice when it comes to selecting the best primer for your project.

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