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Learn about Primer


Primer is a preparatory coating put on materials before painting; priming ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface. Priming drywall is standard practice with new construction.

Look for low- or zero-VOC primer, which means it has less than 50g/L VOCs, or 5g/L VOCs, respectively. A separate tint is not usually added to primer, but in case you do, remember that the tint itself should also be low- or zero-VOC.

Recycled primer is available and can be a good choice for reducing waste. However, note that recycled primer may contain mixed or consolidated paints from partially used containers, and therefore performance and VOC levels could vary. Look for assurance of the quality of the product. MPI RR (recycled re-manufactured) and GreenSeal certifications include performance requirements for recycled paints.

Primers with low or no VOCs contain no solvents or toxins and don't produce indoor or outdoor air pollution.

People have been telling stories with paint for more than 40,000 years. Paintings found on cave walls, dating from early times, were made with ground minerals like red and yellow ochre, hematite, and magnesium, along with charcoal.