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4 Big Paint Perils You’ll Want to Avoid — and the Best Way to Prevent Them

updated Apr 12, 2022
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The right primer ensures this sunny bedroom's newly painted walls stay pristine for years.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Nothing transforms a space like a fresh coat of paint. It’s an affordable, weekend-able DIY with as many possibilities as there are colors. And whichever you choose, you’ll enjoy it for years to come (or whenever you decide to change things up again).

But while painting is a manageable project, there are common pitfalls that can keep your hard work from looking its best. Luckily, there’s a key step in the process that can help you avoid them: priming. It does more for your walls than most people think, and to get a primer that pros rely on, consider KILZ® Primers. Read on before you pick up your brush.

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1. Painting Directly over Old Colors

No, you don’t need to strip the existing paint off your walls. *sigh of relief* But you shouldn’t just slap that new shade over it, either. Using an all-purpose primer such as KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer will reduce the number of paint topcoats you have to use, saving you money on paint. (It’ll also save you a paint-splattered dash to the hardware store for more cans.) KILZ Primers can be tinted to help the finish coat be as accurate to your new color as possible. And if you’re doing a really drastic color change — think fire engine red to bright white — primer will help seal that strong, old color and allow the lighter, new one to thrive.

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2. Leaving Walls Vulnerable

“What are those spots?” is a question you never want to ask your walls. Mold and mildew buildup is bad for any number of reasons, but you can help prevent it in your bathroom, kitchen, or any areas exposed to frequent moisture by laying the right groundwork. KILZ® Mold & Mildew Primer creates a mildew-resistant primer film that protects your walls from having any unwanted nasties sprout up. (Note that if you see any existing mold or mildew, make sure to clean it before priming.) And like everything from the KILZ brand, this also delivers on stain-blocking, surface-evening, and color-enhancing.

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3. Not Painting on an Even Surface

How uneven can a wall be, you might ask. More than you think. Porous surfaces like drywall, concrete, new wood, and even flat paint can soak up a lot of color willy-nilly, resulting in a blotchy finish — which we’re guessing is not the look you’re going for. An all-purpose primer such as KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer will seal those uneven, porous surfaces and create a uniform finish that’s ready for painting (while preventing cheetah-spotted walls). It will also reduce the number of topcoats needed to get the look you want. (Are you seeing a pattern?)

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4. Ignoring Stains and Discolorations

“Just paint over it” sounds like good advice for those crayon scribbles and marks on the wall. But everything from scuffs and blemishes to food stains and water damage can show through your new paint — even if it looks at first like you’ve hidden them under that new griege color you love. Think of primer as insurance: Starting with a premium all-purpose primer such as KILZ 3® Premium Interior and Exterior Primer will seal in stains so that the only thing on your finished walls is the color you chose. If you’re dealing with serious stains and unwanted odors, like cigarette smoke, a heavy duty primer such as KILZ Restoration® Primer will hide a multitude of aesthetic sins.

Credit: KILZ®