We are expecting to close on a new house Friday, and my out-of-state father-in-law will be there for the weekend only to help us paint a couple of bedrooms. The rooms are bright colors now, and we want to replace the bright colors with a light gray on the wall and a white on the wainscoting. We intend to use a coat of Kilz primer, and he is recommending we use an expensive one-coat paint (Behr Marquee) on top of it. Will a single coat probably suffice? Is it overkill to use an expensive paint+primer on top of a primer?

We will be painting with semi-gloss, and I believe that is what is on the walls already.

  • I should add that he does quite a bit of contracting work, including a fair amount of painting.
    – Paul
    May 27, 2015 at 15:43
  • 3
    You're looking to take the advice of a bunch of twits on the internet, over the advice of your contractor father-in-law?
    – Tester101
    May 27, 2015 at 16:00
  • The problem is that he bills time and materials, so I was not confident that he pays much attention to the cost of materials. My concern was that the Marquee costs 50% more than the one coat paint plus primer below it, called premium plus ultra. So that means $450 of paint versus $300, and we're already doing a coat of primer anyway.
    – Paul
    May 30, 2015 at 22:15
  • Still, you have a good point. :-)
    – Paul
    May 30, 2015 at 22:16
  • Two coats of regular paint would have cost a similar amount of money and I would assume would be almost certain to suffice. If we have to do another coat with Marquee it will be quite expensive.
    – Paul
    May 30, 2015 at 22:17

3 Answers 3


I've used the higher end paint+primers from both big orange (Behr) and big blue (Valspar), and found that they cover very well in a single coat. You may have to do a second touch-up coat; especially where you've cut it with a brush, but they cover well in the first coat.

If you're doing any patching, or have new drywall or joint compound to cover, you'll want to use a primer first. Otherwise you may be able to skip the primer.


I agree on using the primer first. However, the combination primer/paint may be overkill. I would plan for 1 coat of primer and two coats of regular paint, as it is tough for the average DIYer to get full coverage with one coat of paint.

  • Thanks! I failed to mention my father-in-law is a contractor and I expect does a fair amount of painting. So we're thinking he'll show us how to do it right.
    – Paul
    May 27, 2015 at 15:44
  • 1
    In that case, I would trust him, and do it his way. May 27, 2015 at 15:56

I know this is an old post. I painted homes for over 20 years and learned a trick that is often overlooked. White primer is actually pretty close to a pure white. This makes it very difficult to cover in one coat of any kind of paint. Your father-in-law is correct in suggesting that you use a top quality paint to finish the job, but any top line name brand should suffice. When you are faced with this issue, buy Zinsser oil primer. Take it to the paint counter and have them put 1/2 of the formula for the finish paint into the primer and shake it for you. Yes, they will argue with you until they are blue in the face about this or that. However, the concept is not to match the primer with the finish coat, but to apply some of the pigments necessary to get a uniform color in a single finish coat. Also, you should consider cutting in all of the edges twice before rolling. At least do the top and bottom of the wall surface twice. If the old color is going to show at all, it will show around the edges for sure. You are going back with semi-gloss so touch up will not be an option or you will see a "flash" on the wall where you touched up. When you do roll the walls, apply the paint in a "backroll" fashion. I/E: Dip your roller in the paint, roll the paint starting in the middle of the wall and go up and straight back down. Then do the same thing 4 or five times in a row until you cover about 6' of wall space. You want the paint to be applied very thick but not running. Then "dry roll" over the entire area of the thick paint. Repeat this pattern until the room is complete. Don't stop long enough to allow adjacent paint to dry or you will get a "flash" in the paint. This process allows the wall to soak up the paint for a bit and when you back roll over it, the paint is thinned on the surface and dries faster. I have used this trick numerous times and it works well.

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