Difference Between Primer and Paint

Painting anything magnifies the beauty of architecture and preserves its surface from damage. But before painting, it is recommended to apply primer first as it gives a long-lasting and sleek finish of paint to that particular structure.

For many people, the difference between the paint and primer is never understood as they both look alike but are completely different products with a different purposes.

Primer v/s Paint

The main difference between primer and paint is that primer seals the surface of any structure or wall and gives it a finish and smooth surface. On the other hand, paint gives color and beauty to the structure and even acts as a protective shield against the elements. In simple words, a primer prepares the surface for the paint.

Primer vs Paint

Primer is a coating of a layer that fills up the gaps and cracks, making the object flawless and ready for being painted.

Priming is always necessary to prepare the walls of a building or surface of a structure from wear and tear while making it resistant to damages for years. Using primer gives you a smooth finish to your work.

Paint is any liquid that is highly pigmented, liquefiable, or in a form of solid mastic which when applied to a surface in a liquid form converts into a solid cover.

The most common use of paint is to provide color, protection, or texture to an object. Paints are available in almost every color in various types such as watercolor or artificial color.

Comparison Table Between Primer and Paint

Parameters of ComparisonPrimerPaint
DefinitionPrimer is a liquid used to cover or seal cracks or gaps.Paint is a liquid that gives color to an object.
UsageIt is used to hide bumps or cracks on a wall or surface.It is used to give a finished look to the surface.
PurposeBefore painting, it prepares the surface for it.It gives beauty and protection to the structure.
PigmentA primer does not have any pigmentation.Paints are highly pigmented which gives them color.
CostPrimer is cost-efficient.Paints are expensive.

What is Primer?

Primer is a liquid applied to a surface to prepare it before the top coating. Primer is a substance created to ensure that the top layer of paint is stuck properly and better the adhesion means the paint will last longer.

Primer seals the permeable surfaces that have the chance of absorbing the coatings of paint. It also acts as a blocker for stains on walls.

Primer sometimes reduces the number of coatings of paints, covers the cracks or imperfections of the wall, provides a uniform smooth surface for painting, and neutralizes the surface color so that the color of the paint shines through.

While painting is considered to be a self-primer, priming is yet a very crucial step for acquiring a high-quality finish. Many times, one layer of primer does the word, but there are some times when two layers of primer coating are required.

Those circumstances are:

  • When you shift from a high shining surface to a low shining finish look, such as glossy or flashy to semi-gloss.
  • Shifting the mood of the room from dark to light and bright.
  • If the cracks on the walls are repaired or patched.
  • When your walls have stains from toilet or bathroom leaks or fire marks in a kitchen.

What is Paint?

Paint is defined as the mixture of components like a binder, VOC, pigment, and additives, which turns into a solid dry protective layer after being applied to a surface of anything.

It can also be defined as an item that is diffused in a binder, melted in a solvent. Paints are available in many colors with a high potential of hiding and protecting the inner surface against the atmospheric elements outside.

Other than these properties, paints give color and beauty to architecture, making it lively. Paint is also used to cover the metallic elements to prevent them from reacting with the oxygen and getting oxidized and rusted.

Paints are created by mixing several components in equal quantity and the following are those components.

  • The vehicle: It is a kind of unsaturated oil that dries when exposed to air. The vehicle can keep intact the pigments and other ingredients of paint. 
  • Base: The base acts as the body of the paint which comprises of very fine powder of materials like red and white lead, iron oxide, titanium oxide, etc. It prevents the film from cracking, moisture and protects from the UV rays.
  • Pigments: These are the coloring materials in powder state that are added to the above ingredients for acquiring the desired colors.
  • Solvents: Solvents are also known as Paint thinner which diminishes the paint’s viscosity. These are added in paints for making the application easier and smoother.
  • Extenders: Extenders are also known as fillers which increase the volume of the paint without messing with its essential properties.

Main Differences Between Primer and Paint

  1. Primer is a layer of liquid that is applied to a surface before painting. On the other hand, paint is a layer of coating that gives the surface the finished look.
  2. Primers act as a bonding agent for the paint to cohere better to the surfaces while paints provide visual appeal by providing color and shine.
  3. Primers are found in a single color whereas paints are available in many different colors.
  4. Primer does not have pigments whereas paints have pigments that give them color.
  5. Primers are cheap or lost efficient. On the other hand, paints are expensive as compared to primers.
Difference Between Primer and Paint


In conclusion, primer is a coating applied to the surface before painting.

The primer looks like paint but is a bonding agent which lets the paint stick better to the surface and prevents it from fading and maintains the gloss level of paint. Primer increases the durability of the paint.

On the other hand, paint acts as a beautifier and protection shield for the interior and exterior walls of the structure. It is applied on the walls and is left to dry out completely to form a firm and solid protection film for that structure.

In short, both these liquids are types of substances that are brushed on a structure or object for protecting it from wear and tear as well as enhance its beauty by giving it colors.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1013225219371
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0039914013008151
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