Skip to Content

Can You Mix Primer with Paint? (All You Need to Know)

Paint and primers are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. They have different purposes. If you are thinking of mixing primer with paint to reduce the time for your next project, you are not the only one. 

But is it okay to mix primer with paint? Scroll down to know more!

Can you mix primer with paint?

You should not mix primer with paint. Both primers and paints vary chemically. Primer and paint serve different purposes. If you mix one with the other, their combined output will not be effective. However, you can find alternatives such as a 2-in-1 primer paint product that does both the work. 

Primers are used to cover imperfect walls full of stains and patches. A primer covers the uneven areas and provides an even base for the paint.

Other surfaces like drywall, wood, and porous surfaces need primers for the paint to stick. Using a primer will ensure your paint does not bleed and the cover is ready for a perfect top coat.

There are mixed opinions based on if you should mix primer with paints. Some say that due to their chemical components, they do not bond and make the whole paint unusable.

Others opine that paint and primers with the same base can be mixed. This solution does both the work of a primer and a paint.

You can save time by mixing primer with paint. Because you do not have to apply primer first and wait for it to dry. However, the application scope is limited.

You should only use the mixed paint on the walls you are repainting. You can also use it on drywalls and interiors safe from outdoor weather. Pour the primer into paint and stir it with a roller.

Primers with paints:

Kilz primer:

Yes, you can mix paint with Kilz primer. You can mix Kilz primer with paints as long as their base matches.  However, this is not recommended because the primer will lose its properties as a sealant. 

And the overall mixture will not be good.

Bonding primer:

Like the Kilz primer, you can add bonding primer with paints, but bases must match. And just like everyone suggests, mixing primer with paint damages the overall effectiveness.

Oil-based primer:

Yes, you can mix oil-based primer with paints. The paints have to be oil-based only. You should never mix latex-based or water-based paint with oil-based primers.

White primer:

No, you cannot mix white primer with paint. Mixing it with paint will damage the true colors of your paint. Always apply the white primer first and then the topcoat with the neutral color of your choice.

Paint with primers:

Ceiling paint:

Yes, you can use ceiling paint as a primer. Ceiling paints have excellent sealing properties that work on walls, doors, and window frames. You can mix ceiling paint with primer if they have the same base.

Acrylic paint:

You can mix acrylic paint with acrylic base primers. But many people do not suggest this because you get better results from separately using the products.

Regular paint:

You should not mix regular paint with primer. Regular paints have different bases, so you might consider them before mixing the wrong primer. Mixing primer does not add any value to your regular paints.

Flat paint:

As primer is flat, mixing flat paint with primer will not yield good results. Flat paint does the job of a primer so, mixing both of them will make their product unusable. 

Exterior paint:

It is always good to use a primer before you paint exterior surfaces. Exterior paints endure hard weather conditions, but their chemical components will weaken if you mix primer.

So, instead of mixing exterior paint with primer, use them separately.

Water-based paint:

Yes, you can mix water-based paint with primers. But you should only use a water-based primer for the job. Do not mix oil-based primer as it will damage your paint.

Latex paint:

You can mix latex paint with latex-based primer.

Can you mix primer with paint to lighten the color? Is it okay to mix primer with paint?

Primers cannot alter or lighten the color hue. Adding primers to colors will not lighten their shade.

However, if you want to lighten your paint color, you will have to use a tinted primer. But the amount of primer depends on the shade of your paint.

A darker shade of paint requires more primers than a lighter shade of paint. And more importantly, it will be best to discuss this with the store you bought paint from. Because they can professionally mix your paint to reach your desired shade.

It is not okay to mix primer with paint because the finished product will not be as effective as paint. After painting, you will see visible stains, and you may have dry patches.

The primer and paint mixture will fall off the surface as their adhesion is reduced. This will eventually increase your cost of painting.

Three reasons why you shouldn’t mix primer and paint

It would seem meaningful to add primer with paint to reduce your money and time. But the thing that you feel will make your life easier could end up making it messier.

Here is why you should not mix primer and paint.

Rendering primer useless:

Primer helps paint to adhere to porous surfaces. Using a primer, your paint sticks firmly to the surface.

Surfaces that are glossy or hard for paint to stick will require primers.

But when you add primer with paint, you lose the adhesive characteristics of a primer. Your paint will come off after some time, and it will make your wall look dull and blemished.

Wall texture:

Primers are often used in dark colors. Using tints, you can achieve your desired color over a pre-painted wall. The tinted primer complements the paint you use.

But if you mix primer with paint, you risk ruining your wall texture. You may see an uneven distribution of coats and rough blending.

Less durable:

Your paint will look great for years if you apply primer beforehand. But you will not get the same results from mixing primer and paint. Combining them reduces the lifespan of your paint.

What happens if you mix primer with paint?

It takes a lot of time to paint. First, you have to apply primer and wait for it to dry. Later you have to paint. So, it seems lucrative to mix paint with primer, dramatically reducing the time.

However, this is not a good idea to mix primer with paint. Many mishaps happen when you use paint and primer mixture on your wall.

First, the final product is less adhesive. The product loses the sealing properties of primer and adhesion properties of paint.

So, you can get the idea that the mixed product will fall off walls. You will get patchy, uneven walls that are not attractive. And worse, the old stains and colors will still be visible.

You can mix paint with primer for repainting or for interior walls that are already primed before. You should always consult a professional before using a primer with paint.

How to apply paint and primer the right way?

Stick to this section to know the right way of applying primer and paint –

Prepare your walls:

The first thing you will do is look for imperfections like dents, scratches, bumps, or cracks. Repair any holes or dents. Sand any bumpy surfaces. Sandpaper of 220 grit will do the work.

Always wipe your wall clean before applying primers. Use a soft cloth to wipe corners and areas that accumulate dirt.

If your wall has windows or borders, use painter’s tape to cover the corners. You will get professional, clean results if you use tape. Take your time and tape the surfaces you do not want pain on.

Another thing is you should move any furniture from your room and use a drop cloth to cover the floor.

Prime your walls:

Using a good quality paintbrush, first prime the corners and edges of your wall. You can use 2-in-1 paint and primer to save money and time.

Roll in the “W” or “V” pattern and cover small spaces using a roller. Roll over the same area again, so you do not miss any spots.

Paint the walls:

Use the same technique mentioned above in a top to bottom and back and forth motion. Always overlap the painted section. Wait for your paint to dry up and apply another coat.

Final Thoughts 

You should avoid mixing primer with paint unless you are sure of what you are doing. You can use two-in-one paint primer alternatives if you want quick and easy solutions. Priming before painting separately will yield the best result. Always seek professional help if you are unsure of what to do.