Skip to Content

Can Primer Be Used As Paint?

Can Primer Be Used As Paint?

Painting the walls of your bedroom or kitchen can refresh the room and provide it with the pop of color it desperately needs. But paint isn’t cheap, and you have to buy primer too. But is it okay to skip the painting step and just use a primer?

It is not a good idea to use primer as paint. If you use primer and do not coat it with paint, the primer will eventually peel off.

Alternatively, if you use paint without primer, the walls will not look even and you may have to use two or even three coats of paint to get an even look.

Primer isn’t designed to sit on walls without paint coating it. Coating the walls with primer is an important step in the painting process, but it should not be the last step. Keep reading to learn more about how to use primer on the walls and on the ceiling of your home.

Can Primer Be Used As Paint?

The painting process, while often fun, can also be tiring. In order to ensure the paint job is done well, you must remove everything from the walls, dust off any old dust or cobwebs, cover everything heavy in the room with tarps, and line the crown molding and baseboards with tape.

Then, you can finally coat the walls in primer. Unless you have three or four people helping you, painting the walls of a single room can take a couple of days depending on how many coats you need to put on.

But what if you did not paint the walls and only used primer? That will remove a whole step from the painting process!

That sounds like a good idea, but unfortunately, primer is not designed to be used as paint. If you skip the painting step and finish the walls with just primer, you will regret it in a few months.

The problem may look good for a little, but most primer is not designed to handle constant exposure to light, heat, dust, and other environmental factors.

The primer on the walls will start to crack to a point where you can peel the primer off with your fingers.

Man painting wall in new house with a paint roller

You can purchase two and one primer and paint, but you cannot leave the primer exposed on your walls without paint.

Can You Just Use a Different Kind of Primer?

There are many paints that now have primer chemicals in them. These primer plus paints are more expensive than just the primer and just the paint. However, they will not be as expensive as both the primer and the paint together.

If you want to skip using the paint because you like the current color of the wall, take a picture of the wall and take it to the paint section at your hardware store. They’ll be able to match the color of the wall.

They will give you several samples and you can choose the paint that is closest to the current wall color. Also, some primers have tint in them.

If you want to leave the primer exposed because you like the color of the primer, take a picture of the freshly primed wall and take that picture to the paint section.

They’ll be able to create a paint color that is very similar or exactly like the primer color.

Can You Paint Directly on Primer?

Yes, you can paint directly on primer. After applying the primer, wait until the primer is dry.

Primer does not take as long as paint to dry, so you can start painting on top of the primer in less than 2 hours in the summer and in 4 to 6 hours in the winter.

However, you should not prime the wall without washing it first. Inspecting the bare wall and removing any old tape marks, thumbtacks, and old sticker glue is an essential part of painting a wall.

You do not want to paint over these small imperfections. If you cannot remove old tape or stickers or glue with your hands, sanding the area of the wall should take it right off.

Can Primer Be Used as White Paint?

Primer rarely has a color. It’s usually clear or slightly tinted. There are some primers that have a white color to them.

That doesn’t mean the white primers are perfect substitutes for white paint. You will still have to paint the wall with white paint after the primer dries.

Can Primer Be Used as Ceiling Paint

Can Ceiling Paint Be Used as Primer?

Paint and primer are two different products, and they are not interchangeable. Unless paint has primer in it, a dried coat of paint will look different from if you use primer and then ceiling paint.

The purpose of the primer is to fill in all the small gaps and crevices that form in the wall after decades. Primer is thick, so it creates a nice finished surface. You can use paint without primer, but the paint will not look as smooth and even.

Are you planning on painting your ceiling? Check out this article to learn more about painting your ceiling with wall paint!

Conclusion to Using Primer as Paint

You should not use primer as a substitute for paint. If you do not layer a coat of paint on top of the primer, the primer will eventually crack, break off, and become dirty.

There are two-in-one primer or paints available at most paint stores and paint sections of hardware stores. When you apply primer to a wall or a ceiling, the surface should already be sanded and washed.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.