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Say you just want to freshen up the walls of your apartment using the original paint color - the standard instruction is you need to prime the walls and then apply two coats. All these guides however assume you are painting a different colour.

The walls in my apartment are pretty new, the apartment itself is only 8 years old. The color is a very soft light neutral tone - probably the best way to describe it is a warm off white.

Is it necessary to prime the walls under these circumstances?

And also, how do I determine if more than one coat will be necessary?

  • This answer might be helpful. – Tester101 Aug 17 '15 at 11:22
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    We use priming usually for adhesion to new walls with fresh dried and sanded mud or as a bond layer between old and new coatings that are incompatible with each other. (Ex. latex to oil) You will know if one coat is necessarily after you apply the first coat. If you cannot see the old color, you do not need two coats. – Damon Aug 19 '15 at 0:18
  • Yea, primer is for sealing purposes. On brand new walls if you where to use PVA first coat it would drink your paint like mad. Although I know people who dilute cheap white PVA to be used as a concrete primer, works too I suppose. Or as Damon said above. But, do a test square over your old paint and make sure no bubbles show up, that means you can paint over it without primer. – Piotr Kula Jan 16 '16 at 19:55
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There is no reason for priming when freshening up a wall or even changing color for that fact. If your wall looks in relatively good shape the only area that might need primer are the corners. Primer will hold better on corners much better than regular paint - as standard latex on metal can basically rub off after curing.

  • I recently painted a light tan over a wall that was very deep purple. Washed with TSP, two coats, no sanding, no primer, and it looked fantastic. – iLikeDirt May 16 '16 at 3:08
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Michael- You're right; you would use primer if you are changing from a different shade of paint color ( or type or sheen). Most walls, if the existing paint is sound and applied correctly, will only need a slight sanding. But for a really 100 % guarenteed paint job wipe the walls down with either TSP (tri- sodium phosphate) or any non-sudsing or 10% ammonia. Use a grout sponge and keep the room well ventilated when using ammonia. The cleaning cuts through any waxy, gritty build-up that would otherwise prevent the new paint from adhering very well.

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