Difference Between Primer and Paint

Painting any surface serves mainly two purposes. It enhances the beauty of structure and also protects the surfaces of the structure. Before painting any surfaces, the application of primer is recommended. Many people ask why primer is required? Can’t we do away with primer by applying one more coat of paint? For a common man, the difference between the two is never realized and understood as both looks similar. For a long-lasting and beautiful finish of the paint, application of primer before painting is necessary.
Before painting any structure, you should know the difference between primer and paint. Paint and primer both are different products, though they look like same. They have a different purpose, function and diverse constituents. Here we have tried to explain the primary difference between primer and paint.

Difference between Primer and Paint

Difference Between Primer and Paint


Primer is paint but without pigments, it primarily consists of resins. Primers are designed so that they create a very bond with the substratum surface and primer and also with paint, to create a uniform surface which is suitable to receive the paint.

The function of primer:

Primer penetrates in the porous surface and seals the surface to ensure better coating and adhesion. Primers also hide imperfections to render a sealed, even, smooth, and stable foundation for the paint. Primers are problem solver providing outstanding coverage and allowing you to address specific problems, such as rot and mold.

Primer increases covering capacity of paint and thereby reduces the “cost of painting”. As primer doesn’t contain pigments and additives which are responsible for the increase in the cost of paint, primer is cheaper than paint, and hence it is always advisable to apply primer as an undercoat.
Different types of primers are required for different surfaces, depending upon their characteristics. Also, different types of paint need different types of primers. For example, primer coat for an oil paint would be different from a primer for latex paint. Some primers are designed to smooth out rough surface or fill surfaces such as exposed concrete, exposed masonry work etc.  Primer is not available in varieties of color like paint.


While all the major constituents of paint remain same as a primer, paints contain pigments, which ultimately are responsible for the colour. Paints are made from different resins and contain the different type of additives than primers. These additives perform a different function like providing bond and adhesion, quick drying, durability etc.

The function of paint:

Paints add colour and sheen to the surface. They make the surface finished and provide protection. Pigments in paints also help in hiding the surfaces. There are many constituents added in the paint so that it dries quickly and it gives durability, i.e. life to the paint.
If the paint is applied to an unprimed surface, it may crack, peel, or chalk off within few months. For paint to last long, priming the surface with the right primer is imperative. After knowing the difference between primer and paint, one should choose the products wisely.

Also Read:
20 Different Types of Paints for Interior & Exterior Surfaces
Difference between Interior and Exterior Paint
12 Qualities or Characteristics of Ideal Paint: Know Before Painting
All You Need to Know About Distemper Paint

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