Best exterior wood primer

By Mego Kimani •  Updated: 06/07/23 •  6 min read

When it comes to painting exterior surfaces, a high-quality primer is essential for optimal adhesion and durability. Unlike paint, primers have a higher binder content, making them ideal for binding paint to surfaces like wood. However, not all primers are suitable for outdoor use. In this article, we will explore the best exterior paint primers specifically designed for your outdoor wood projects.

Do you need to prime the wood before painting?

A primer plays a crucial role in the painting process. As highlighted by Flexner in the “Wood Finishing Bible,” the high pigment content in paint limits the amount of binder available to create a strong bond with porous wood. In contrast, primers have a higher proportion of binder and less pigment, allowing them to effectively bond with the wood surface. Understanding this importance sets the foundation for a successful and long-lasting paint job.

Related: Thinning wood primer

what happens when you skip priming when painting wood

Skipping the priming step when painting wood can lead to several potential issues. Firstly, without a primer, the paint may not adhere properly to the wood surface, resulting in poor adhesion and a higher likelihood of peeling or chipping over time.

what happens when you skip priming when painting wood

Additionally, the absence of a primer can cause the paint to absorb unevenly into the wood, leading to an inconsistent and blotchy appearance. The wood may also absorb more paint, requiring additional coats to achieve the desired coverage. Furthermore, without a primer to seal the wood, tannins or other substances in the wood may bleed through the paint, causing discoloration or stains. Overall, skipping the priming step can compromise the overall quality, durability, and aesthetic appeal of the painted wood surface.

Choosing the Right Primer

Before you start painting, selecting the appropriate primer is essential for a successful job. Different primers offer various benefits, such as color hiding or stain blocking. Consider factors like surface type and environmental conditions when deciding on the primer.

Types of Primers

When it comes to exterior wood, there is a wide range of primer options. They can be categorized based on cleanup methods: soap and water or solvent-based. However, the choices go beyond that, with formulas using linseed oil, alkyd, or acrylic. Acrylic latex primers have gained popularity due to their improved performance and durability compared to oil and alkyd primers.

Acrylic Primers

Acrylic sealing primers, including 100 percent acrylic ones, are great for hiding stains, sealing tannins, and blocking moisture, mildew, or odors. These primers deliver excellent results on doors, trim, and exterior siding, providing a smooth appearance for both flat and enamel finishes.

Oil-Based Primers

While acrylic primers are popular, some manufacturers still offer oil-based options. These linseed oil-based primers, enhanced with alkyd, provide high performance, quick drying, and improved color retention and flexibility. However, oil-based primers may have longer recoat times, which can impact productivity.

Fast-Drying Alkyd Primer

To address the longer drying time of oil-based primers, some manufacturers have developed fast-drying formulas. These primers, like Trouble-Shooter Fast Drying Alkyd Primer, have shorter recoat times without compromising performance, providing better productivity for contractors.

Best exterior primers for wood

Trouble Shooter Acrylic Latex By California Paints

Trouble Shooter Primer by California Paints – is a good exterior primer for your painting projects. With its specially formulated 100% acrylic composition, this primer is designed to prepare most exterior surfaces for flawless finish coats. It goes beyond the basics, effectively neutralizing tannin and sugar bleed stains from woods, rust from nail heads and water-soluble stains from concrete and masonry.

Trouble Shooter Acrylic Latex  By California Paints

Experience maximum breathability, exceptional adhesion, and superior holdout with Trouble Shooter Primer. It not only enhances the longevity of the finish but also ensures a smooth and professional result. Take your exterior painting to the next level with the trusted performance of Trouble Shooter Primer.

Fresh start line of primers By Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore’s offers an exceptional range of exterior wood primers, designed to deliver outstanding performance and protect your surfaces. With options in both latex and oil/alkyd formulations, you can choose the perfect primer for your project.

In the latex category, Benjamin Moore offers the Fresh Start All Purpose 100% Acrylic Primer 023, providing a versatile solution for various exterior applications. Additionally, the Moorcraft Super Spec Latex Exterior Primer 169 is specially formulated for exceptional adhesion and durability.

Fresh start line of primers By Benjamin Moore

For those seeking oil/alkyd primers, Benjamin Moore presents a comprehensive selection. The Fresh Start All Purpose 024 primer offers reliable protection and prepares surfaces for flawless finish coats. The Fast Dry 094 variant is perfect for projects that require a quick turnaround time. Experience the penetrating power of the Fresh Start Moorwhite Penetrating Primer 100, ensuring optimal adhesion and long-lasting results. Furthermore, the Moorcraft Super Spec 176 and the Benjamin Moore Alkyd Primer 366 provide high-performance solutions for demanding exterior applications.

The SEAL GRIP® Acrylic Primer

The SEAL GRIP® Acrylic Primer

The exceptional Seal Grip line of primers by Pittsburgh Paints offers both acrylic and synthetic formulas for your painting needs. With one-hour recoat times, these primers provide quick and efficient coverage.

PPG’s premium interior/exterior acrylic primer is meticulously formulated to meet the demanding requirements of residential and commercial projects. The SEAL GRIP® Acrylic Primer is specifically designed to block various stains, including water, smoke, ink, markers, and tannin. Experience its outstanding adhesion, even on glossy surfaces.

This versatile primer is highly recommended as a whole house primer, suitable for properly prepared interior or exterior surfaces such as wood, masonry, plaster, wallboard, cement, brick, stucco, cement composition board, and wall coverings. Trust the reliability and performance of Pittsburgh Paints’ SEAL GRIP for your next painting project.

See the guide on understanding paints for wood

Summary: best exterior wood primer

In conclusion, using a high-quality exterior wood primer is crucial for achieving optimal adhesion, durability, and a professional finish when painting wood surfaces. Primers play a vital role in creating a strong bond between paint and porous wood, ensuring long-lasting results.

Skipping the priming step can lead to various issues such as poor adhesion, peeling, uneven paint absorption, and discoloration. Therefore, it is important not to overlook the importance of priming before painting wood.

When selecting a primer, factors like surface type and environmental conditions should be considered. While there are various options available, acrylic primers have gained popularity due to their improved performance and durability compared to oil-based options. They are effective in hiding stains, sealing tannins, blocking moisture, mildew, and odors.

Mego Kimani

Hi there, my name is Mego Kimani, and I am the owner of Woodmeter, a website dedicated to wood finishing. At Woodmeter, we offer a comprehensive resource for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts, providing information on everything from achieving the perfect finish to product recommendations and technique guides. Our goal is to empower our community with the knowledge they need to create beautiful, long-lasting finishes on their projects, no matter their skill level or experience.