Does Primer Waterproof Wood? A Complete Guide

In the painting and refinishing wood items, many people asked, “Does primer waterproof wood?”.

In reality, primers are helpful substances that increase the paint’s adherence.

Plus, they add in extra protection for the device. 

However, there is an amount of skepticism about their ability to absorb water.

Consequently, the article below will show you a complete answer to the question. Let’s scroll down!


Does Primer Waterproof Wood? A Quick Answer

No, priming paint is not waterproof. The priming paint can still let the water go through either timber or any other materials.

The reason might have its roots in the porous element. Hence, like other paints, the sealers could be broken quickly once the water left on the surface is too much.

When To Use Wood Primers?

There are many kinds of primers, so you should fully well know when and which types to use. For example, you should pick up the oil-based priming paint or good latex ones with new timber without stains. 

On the other hand, suppose you own an old wood item with previous paints or stains, the stain-blocking primer is the best option. 

Besides, you might want to change a dark-painted timbered device into a lighter one.

Then, I suggest using wood sealers. The faded paint can not hide the dark hue if you forget to prime, no matter how many layers you apply. The same problem occurs when converting from light to dark color.

Concerning the weathered and old wood, you should buy high-quality primers. They can be oil-based or latex ones. That is to increase the paint’s adhesion to the surfaces. 

Keep in mind to wait for the priming coat to dry. Check out the time labeled on the priming paint containers for sure.

Does primer protect wood from rain? (Source: woodworkingclarity)

Best Types Of Wood Primers

There are three kinds of primers to use on wood: latex, oil-based, and shellac-based.

Latex primer (Water-based)

The first one on my list is the latex priming paint that is suitable for many surfaces. For example, you can use the substance on bricks, softwood, galvanized metal, unfinished timber, and drywall.

On the other side, the priming paint is not suitable for cedar. Although it has virtually no VOCs, it can not protect the cedar from tannin stains. Alternatively, it would be best once you used the oil-based primer for a better result.

Latex primers are rated as being easy to use. Also, they tend to produce fewer odors than others. The drying time of the liquid is short alike. 

But, avoid them if the surfaces contain a lot of large stains. They are less effective at old painted hardwood alike. 

There are some well-known water-based primers on the market that you can refer to, including:

Does primer make wood waterproof? (Source: woodworkingclarity)

Oil-based primer

Except for galvanized metal and mansory, oil-based priming paint is an excellent option for sealing many surfaces. The most significant benefit of the oil-based type might be its high protection of the paint against blistering and peeling.

Plus, the substance can decrease the chance of tannins and stains going through the surface. 

It is notable that choose a well-ventilated area to use the oil-based primers. While they adhere better on the surface and are more durable, they take longer to dry. Besides, they might create unpleasant odors. 

Most of them also produce many VOCs. For someone who has not known, the VOCs can harm your throat and eye. The compounds are also the reason making nose irritation. Being exposed to the substance may lead to cancer alike. 

Mainly, according to some research, when you have items containing VOCs in your house, the amount of VOCs is roughly ten times higher than usual. Hence, limiting the number of oil-based priming paint would help.

Also, bear in mind to prepare the face mask. In this case, nothing is better than self-protective methods. 

To minimize the demerits, I suggest you use highly rated primers, for instance:

Is primed wood waterproof? (Source: resin-expert)

Shellac-based primers

The last one is the shellac-based primer. It can give the most robust protection on many surfaces, even with tannins, rust, or water damage. The type is also the oldest one, compared to the other two primers above. 

The sealing ability of the substance is highly rated alike. It could seal odors, stains, or even smell of smoke. 

The drying time of the shellac-based is medium. That means it is shorter than the oil-based yet more extended than the water-based. What’s more, you can mix the shellac-based priming paint with others to boost the effect. 

Some famous shellac-based brands you can choose from are:

Let’s take a look at this video to know more about primer types:

Do You Have To Prime Before Painting?

Because primers are not waterproof wood, some people think about skipping the product. They rush to add color coats onto the surfaces, which is cheaper and more accessible. Often, people with those ideas have to use more paint to cover the wood entirely.

Worse, some found the low-quality paint had been chipped off after a few days. 

That is why you need to buy priming paint if you want your device long-lasting. 

Moreover, the primer is specially made to cover porous surfaces and adhere to the wood.

As a result, they save the color paint used. For instance, when you have to refinish the drywall, you might see the paint is soaked up quickly by the joint drywall compound. But, using priming paint help prevent the case. Especially with sealers that tint to the paint color, the result is even better.

Just bear in mind to let the priming paint dry. With the surfaces with drywall, prime the drywall first would help.

Another benefit of suitable primers is their capability to hide stains and cover odors. Areas with a high level of moisture and mold need the primers most. They could be bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, or saunas.

Is wood primer waterproof? (Source: resin-expert)

How Many Coats Of Primers Are Enough?

It’s primarily based on the materials’ features to decide the number of priming layers. For example, you want to change from light to dark color. Then, it is better to prime twice. On the other hand, you might only need one layer of primers if it is a standard drywall place.

Suppose you have more budget to invest in and desire good coverage; buying a paint roller would be best. 

What’s more, the primer’s color should be similar to the paint’s one.

That would ultimately increase the effect seen without adding more primer layers because the harmony of the primer and paint can well hide the stains and old colors. 

Besides, keep an eye on painting the bathrooms, kitchens, or wet places. Those might need more paint than usual as a way to prevent water from going through or mold growth. I also suggest you buy high-quality waterproof paint to keep the items in those areas more durable. 

Does Primers Waterproof Wood? People Also Ask

1. Do primers seal the wood?

Of course, one of the great merits of primers is that they can seal any wood.

That means they feature solid contents to remove any grain that appeared in the wood.

They can seal absorbent timber alike. That is why you do not see your paint sinking in or becoming patchy after priming.

2. How to make wood waterproof?

There are three ways to make either old or new timber waterproof. First, make use of the Tung oil or linseed that can help produce a protective finish. Second, lacquer, polyurethane, or varnish also do excellent jobs in preventing the timber from water.

The last method is to buy a stain-sealant combo. Waterproof and finish the wood with it at the same time.

3. How many coats do you need for bare wood?

Two coats are my answer. With the bare wood, you should choose an oil-based primer and smear two layers of it.

That method can make the surface smoother to paint, remove undesired pores, mask the knots.

4. How long does it take for primers to dry on wood?

Most primers need around one to three hours to dry thoroughly.

To make sure, you should check the instructions noted on the primer’s container first.

Plus, suppose the air is highly humid, the waiting time might last longer. In some cases, you should add the second priming coat. Please wait for it to dry again. 

5. How long does primer last on wood?

That mainly depends on the primer’s type. For example, a regular latex (or water-based) primer can last roughly 30 days.

That means it would not peel or crack in a month since being dry. However, after that time, you have to prime the surface again before smearing the paint.


To conclude, above are a few pieces of information related to the question, “Does primer waterproof wood.” 

Because of its porous element, the substance can not entirely prevent your timber from water. However, it can do excellent jobs to increase the paint’s adhesion, remove stains or odors, and create a smoother surface before painting. 

Some suitable types of primers you can use are latex, oil-based, or shellac-based primers. Do not forget to add another priming layer if necessary. 

Further Reading: 

Tags: #Polyurethane  #Closet #Brush #Coat #Primer #Waterproof #Paint #Spray #Blinds #Wood 

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