We've just finished an addition and had it skim-coated. Does anyone have an opinion on whether or not we should prime and then paint or use a so-called "self priming" paint, i.e., Benjamin Moore Aura self priming.
We were in the same situation as you last year. Benjamin Moore recommended that we use a sealing latex primer first on the new drywall and then use the Aura pain. It worked out really nicely for our walls.
As an aside, primer is a fraction of the cost of Aura paint. So if you have to do do 1 coat primer + 2 coats Aura versus 3 coats of Aura, the primer + Aura will be cheaper.
tegbains is right on. I would recommend a PVA drywall primer before painting. The reason is that a drywall primer like PVA dries fast and will not soak into new drywall or joint compound making it soft. It then seals the surface when dry, so slower drying water based paints will not effect the paper or joint compound. You do not need an expensive primer, PVA is about the cheapest and actually works best. More expensive primers are designed to cover and block colors from bleeding through, this is not your goal with new drywall.
The "2 in 1" products that claim to contain paint and primer are largely intended for DIYers who are changing the color of the room. The main purpose of priming in this case is to mask over the prior color (which can "bleed through" the next layer and change its tint) and provide a matte, unpolished surface for the finish coat to "key" to.
However, for new paint on a bare slab of drywall, priming has an additional purpose; to seal the paper, plaster and gypsum, which absorb water and therefore will affect the coverage and finish of most latex topcoats. So, for most "new work" applications, it is a good idea to put on a separate coat of drywall primer, which will seal the surface so it doesn't absorb more paint.
I painted my kitchen with Aura paint -- a warm gray color which completely covered the "pottery red" color that had been there for years. So --no primer and only one coat. It couldn't have been easier. The one thing to be careful of is that occasionally there is a danger of a "piece" of the paint wanting to slide off the wall -- sort of like a drip but several inches. It didn't happen more than once or twice in my whole kitchen (ceiling and four walls, but it's worth watching for since if you catch it, you can just roll the spot and all will be okay.
Great Benjamin Moore Aura paint!! I'll never paint with anything else again.