Is priming vital when it comes to painting? Well, if you are a first-timer and confused about whether to mix primer with paint or not, worry no further. I am here to help you.

You might view priming as a waste of both time and money but someone who is fully aware of the need for priming will consider it.

In this masterpiece, we will answer questions like:

  • Can you mix primer with paint?
  • What do you need to know about prime?
  • What are some of the pros and cons of using prime?
  • What purpose does prime serve?

Knowing all these and more will help you make an informed decision on whether to mix primer with paint.

Let’s jump in;

Can You Mix Primer With Paint?

Wondering whether to mix primer with paint? Well, it is not ideal to mix primer with regular paints. You might want to mix tint primer, which is ok, but mixing primer with paint, especially to cut on cost is not the right.

What Is a Primer? 

Primer, also known as an undercoat, is a paint product that gives preparatory coating to a material before the actual painting.

Primers increase paint durability provide additional protection for the material, and ensures better adhesion of paint to the porous surface. For instance, the best primer for treated wood will provide better adhesion of topcoats and longer-lasting finishes.

Primer and paint features, the application process, and drying time, are the same. As a first-timer, you might conclude that there is no difference between the two even though there is. For example, latex primers dry to the touch within 30 minutes to 1 hour compared to paint.

To apply the primer, you can use a brush or primer gun like the HVLP spray gun kit for woodworking. However, be sure to use the best primer gun. 

What Is the Difference Between a Primer and Paint?

Primer and paint may seem similar on a first-time encounter. But what is the difference between the two? Well, here are the main differences.

  • Primers contain resin which provides the strong bond of the paint to the surface and also seals the porous surfaces. Paint on the other hand is made of resin pigment.
  • Primer will come in handy especially if the exterior surface is water-resistant or has stains. In such cases, you must use a primer instead of paint.
  • Paints are more durable than primers. Primers won’t last long when they get exposed to environmental conditions. More so in harsh sunlight or cold, primers won’t last long but peel off.

Find out the best spray paint primer for wood.

What Is the Importance of Using a Primer?

Now that you know the differences between primer and paint, I’ll take you through a full disclosure of why I insist on applying primer on the surface before applying any other outer coat.

For dirty, rubbed or plastered surfaces that are unable to clean, you will need to apply a primer to create a strong bond of the paint stains to the surface. Primers are mainly used on exteriors that are not water-resistant.

Primer prevents the paint from soaking. The paint will soak on the surface of the material if you apply the new paint directly without a primer layer for surfaces you’re painting for the first time. 

Also for resinous wood, you should apply primer for better adhesion of the color paint. For outstanding results, apply two or three layers of primer and your topcoat color will be at its best.

You can use a primer to create a lighter surface over the already existing dark color. Alternatively, you can as well use a similar colored primer as your final color.

Do You Need To Use Primer or Can You Add Primer to Paint to Make It Lighter

Can You Mix Primer With Paint

Most homeowners will prefer using all in one primer and paint to save money and time. This might be what you need. Most paint manufacturers create high quality and are advertising self-priming paint, primer, and paint in one, as one of the ways homeowners can lift the burden off their shoulders.

Self-priming paint is mostly recommended on:

  • Dry Walls: When you are painting new drywall you should consider using self-primer paint.
  • Interior:  Paint and primer in one works best when painting interior walls as they do not get exposed to environmental stress like UV rays, snow and rain.
  • Repainting: Repainting a wall with self-primer paint only works well when the wall is of the same color as self-primer paint.

Can you mix primer with paint to lighten the color?

No, you can’t. Primers don’t have any effect on the outer color coat. Instead, it gives an outstanding final look of the painted surface. If you want to lighten your paint color, it will be advisable to use tinted primers. To achieve these, you need to mix close to a lighter paint with the primer.

Alternatively, for a dark color, you will require two or more tinted primer coats depending on the final outer color.

What happens in mixing primer with paint?

This question has received mixed reviews. As per an expert’s advice, it is not recommended to mix paint with primer in the same can. If you must do the mixing, then I have a suggestion for you. If the prime is already applied on the surface, you can do it for repainting purposes.

If your surface is damaged or you are painting it for the first time you will be required to prepare the surface first so that the paint will stick to your surface. Instead of applying just one coat, that is prime and paint, you may have to use more coats to cover the mess.

You should not mold primer with the paint just to save time. Bearing in mind that priming and painting are for two distinct purposes. The core reason of priming is to act as a binder with the original surface. The main characteristic of the primer is that it has enough variation to receive and provide bonding of the paint to the surface.

Read also:

What Are the Pros and Cons of Mixing Primer With Paint?

You might be in a hurry with your paint job, mixing primer with paint. But is it really ideal? Well, here are some pros and cons of the same.


  • Saves time-Applying the mixture directly to the surface without necessarily priming it first will save your time. However, deciding on whether to mix primer with paint will depend on the type of your project. You can trust primer and paint mixture only on a previously painted drywall interior.


  • Paint and primer in one are costly. 
  • They may have issues with gluing and will not look desirably good (After some time, you will have to buy another primer to repaint)

People Also Ask

1. Does Primer Make Paint Lighter?

Yes, a lighter color primer will make the color of the paint seem slightly light while on the other hand a dark primer will darken the paint. It is also important to note that as long as you get proper coverage, primer has no impact on the paint color.

2. Can I Use Different Brands of Primer and Paint?

Applying any good brand of primer may work fine and at the same time, it may not. Especially inexpensive products tend to be sensitive to other products. So it is advisable to go for a better product for a better outcome.

3. What Happens if You Don’t Use a Primer Before Painting?

You risk peeling off the paints if you apply them directly to a surface without a primer coating. Especially in humid conditions. Primer will provide adherence of the thick paint to the surface so applying the paint without it won’t lead to better results. 

4. Can You Mix Kilz Primer With Regular Paint?

Yes, you can if both a primer and paint are made of the same base. Latex paints for instance won’t mix with Kilz, which is an oil-based primer. At the same time, oil-based paints won’t mix well with latex primer.

5. Do you Have to Paint Over Kilz Primer

Sure, Kilz 2 is not meant for use as the final coat. Painting over Kilz primer is typically recommended as it enhances adhesion, durability, and finish. It prepares surfaces for paint and helps achieve better results. Always follow paint manufacturer guidelines for optimal outcomes.

(Check our guide about ‘do you have to paint over kilz ‘ for more information).

6. How Many Coats of Primer?

For great results and to ensure a strong bond between the paint and the surface, you will want to use two coats of primer. This will also completely cover up the previous paint topcoat if there was any. Since proper priming is a step that you’ll need to undergo to obtain a smooth finish, check out a complete article I did about how many coats of primer you need on wood before painting.

7. Can You Mix Paint With Primer To Tint It

It won’t cause any harm mixing them up to attain a tint primer. But before mixing the two, make sure they are compatible.  

8. Can You Mix Paint Primers 

Yes, but only if the primers are of the same bases. Different primers seal the surface differently considering their properties. Mixing two or more primers may affect the outer color top coat.

See Also: How to get primer off hands

Can You Mix Primer and Paint Verdict

There is lots of misleading information out there pertaining to the subject question: can you mix primer with paint? My research however uncovered everything one will need. The information I have shared with you is so resourceful when you decide whether to mix the primer with paint.

Share your thoughts as well.

1 thought on “Can You Mix Primer With Paint?”

  1. Can white pigment be added to Kilz Acrylic Paint/Primer “Complete Coat” Base 2&3? I purchased them on clearance at Walmart, November 2021. The sales person had opened 1 of each and then sold them to me as each being White when used as they were.
    This past week my brushwork was begun after having sanded and wiped the old and mostly new wood soffit and facia surface. After using 1/2 gal to cover the highest areas – I realized that pigment must be added.
    The Walmart counter employee then informed me that the #2&3 base products would only work with darker pigments, despite the milky white color of each container. I don’t understand why some shade of White cannot be obtained from these Kilz Complete Coat Products.
    Would have purchased the separate Primer & Paint product and applied the primer 1st if I had read the Goodell David article on “Primers” beforehand.


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