When I first moved into a new house in Houston, many years ago, I noticed that there was a shiny- halo quality on the walls in each room. I had no idea what it was. Why would paint shine at the edges and corner but not at the center? Cut to a few years later when I was nose to nose with walls and the answer is no primer. We get asked all the time as to why we specify primer before the walls get painted. Primer may take an extra step to put on but it will give you years of benefits for the extra time!
In new construction the painter comes in to paint the trim right after the sheetrock goes up. The painter is the guy with the little rag tied over his mouth, standing in a cloud of white vapors, with a really bad surrounding smell. He is spraying the enamel or oil based paint on the trim, doors, and cabinets. In the process he will over-spray on the surrounding walls. So far, everything is pretty standard. Next, all walls should get one good coat of primer. This is a first step that some painters try to skip in order to save money. Primer is white. Primer cost more than flat paint because it does more than flat paint. The painter will either skip right to the wall paint or try to trick you by using flat white ceiling paint as a primer. It’s white; it’s cheaper for the painter but not so hot for you.
Primer seals your walls. It covers all the patches and all the overspray and seals in stains. You don’t want to put latex wall paint directly over oil trim overspray because it will peel or it will give a shiny-halo effect.
Primer will give the wall a level playing field for the paint you are about to apply. It makes the paint easier to apply because it has a good foundation. Plus the wear-ability and longevity of the paint is greatly improved.
One of the best primers to use is Zinzer 1-2-3, but the hands on favorite with painters is Kilz. Kilz is a good product. More importantly, Kilz seems to be a universal word that all painters understand.
Primer and Paint all in one can? Yes, but use it where walls have been previously painted not new construction or sheetrock.