Is Primer Supposed To Look Streaky? (Read This First)

By - Ron Singh

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Paint primers act as an intermediate surface between your bare wall and the fresh coat of paint.

Unfortunately, you can quickly go overboard with the primer and create a messy finish. Contrarily, if you do not apply sufficient primer, you might end up with a dry-looking wall. 

No, it is improper for a primer to look streaky, primarily since it acts as an in-between. If your primer looks streaky, it indicates that you are not applying enough. You must be generous in your application so you will not miss any spots. However, you can decide to paint without the primer; if your old paint is still smooth.

Is It Normal For a Primer to Look Streaky?

Is Primer Supposed to Look Streaky

A primer’s coverage depends mainly on the application method; if you apply it correctly, you see the results.

It would be best if you put another coat of primer after the first one. This action will reduce any uneven patches that the first layer leaves.

In addition, you must paint in a neat and organized pattern- this makes everything better.

It eliminates any streaks, especially when you add another layer of primer. Remember that the primer aims to act as an adhesive and improve your painting.

Therefore, it cannot be a substitute for regular paint, no matter how many times you coat each layer.

Another thing to note is; that your primer must match your new paint color. This way, you may not need to add many layers before eliminating streaks.

However, if your previous paint is a darker shade, you will need to coat the surface more than when it is lighter.

Therefore, renewing your old paint with the same color is even better. In this case, you might not need a primer; apply the new paint in several layers, which will be great.

I am sure you know that it is abnormal for a primer to look streaky, and you must do the needful to change the outcome.

What Should First Coat Of Primer Look Like?

The first coat of primer should be uniform when you apply it correctly. If the primer drips or appears uneven, it is your fault.

It might be that you are going overboard with the quantity or that you did not mix it with enough solvent. 

The best thing to do is to ensure that your paintbrush is free of excess paint before you work.

If you do this, you stand a higher chance of having a smooth wall with even primer. Next, you can apply your new paint without worrying about doing a bad job.

You must know that the first coat of primer will not have enough coverage as you might want.

Consequently, there is a common belief that you must coat your wall at least twice before you put your paint. This way, you will have full coverage and do not need to worry about streaks.

Sometimes, you might scrap your old paint before applying the primer. When you do this, it reduces the dark patches that appear as you paint.

However, you must scrape it evenly so the primer will be even and the paint smooth.

Many people who are-pare-painter houses by themselves agree with professionals that the two-step coating is best.

The reason is that it makes your surface appear even, and won’t you love that?

What to Do If Primer Looks Streaky?

If your primer looks streaky, you must add another layer to the wall. This action removes any unevenness and gives a clean finish. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply primer to avoid leaving patches.

#1. Get Your Materials Ready

The first thing to do before painting is to purchase the correct paint primer and the tools that you will need.

The tools you need are;

  • A paint roller
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint primer
  • New paint

You can now prepare your wall for the fresh coat when you have these materials at your disposal.

#2. Smoothen the Wall with Sandpaper

It would be best to smoothen the wall with sandpaper before applying the primer. This action helps even to remove any patches from the previous coating.

Consequently, it determines if your fresh paint will appear even or if it will look messy.

Therefore, to ensure that your paint comes out well, you should use sandpaper on the area before you begin.

#3. Apply the Paint Primer In Layers

Next, apply the paint primer using the paint rollers as smoothly as possible. Please do not apply too much pressure; it makes the primer appear streaky.

Also, if you do not roll off excess primer from the brush, it makes the surface uneven.

However, if you can spread the excess primer on the wall correctly, you might handle the situation.

Afterward, top each layer again until you are satisfied with the coverage. Finally, you can go in with the paint and watch how your space transforms into a new room.

What Should Primer Look Like on Wood?

There are several ways to paint different surfaces, and wood is no exception. It is possible to apply paint primer on wood, but it requires that you do these things;

  • First, you thoroughly wipe the wood’s surface to remove dust, grease, and dirt.
  • Then you apply the primer using a paintbrush.

You may want to be careful when painting wood to achieve a seamless look. The wood surface can quickly become uneven if you do a terrible job.

Therefore you must ensure to coat it as light as possible. It does not mean that you should not use the primer twice; you can if you use very little each time.

The thinning procedure ensures that the wood appears natural. Remember that you do not need a primer if your paint contains the mixture.

Since you know that there are different surfaces, it is best to know how to apply paint primer on a wooden and concrete wall.

The table below shows the differences between wood and concrete walls and their effects on paint primers.

Wood Concrete 
It does not absorb the primer; hence you might need to work sparingly.It can absorb the primer, so it requires two layers.
You can use paint with the primer mix and achieve a smooth finish.Even with paint with primer mix, you may need to top the layers.
You can use a spray gun to paint your wooden surface.A paint roller for your concrete wall is best to spread the coating evenly.

How Should Primer Look Like Before Painting?

Paint primers need to look as even as possible before you paint. The reason is that the adhesive has a high viscosity and is for ensuring an even surface.

However, if you cannot seem to achieve this, you must keep trying. First, you must have basic knowledge of painting and interior designs or building construction.

This information will increase your chances of doing the right things. The only reason why your primer will turn out bad is if you make a mistake.

Fortunately, you can quickly correct such mistakes as it is not fatal. Unfortunately, mistakes are bound to happen and even occur in aesthetic designs.

How Well Do I Need to Make My Primer Coat?

When painting, perfection is rarely achievable, but you can make a close call.

You need to make your primer coat as clean as you can. It ensures that your finishing paint looks better and applies easily.

The primer might not cover everything, but it has to be on the site you want to repair paint because if you have enough paint primer, your new coating sticks better.

If you have ever tried painting your wall without a primer, you can testify how transparent it was.

The ideal thickness should be at most 2mil from the base of the wall. This intensity can only be when you have put the primer at least twice on the wall.

If you want to achieve fuller coverage, you can go in the third time. If you do the right thing, this action will increase your chances of having a smooth finish.

So, you need to be generous with your paint primer while treading with caution. If you can find a way to balance each layer, you will encounter no problems throughout the procedure.

Finally, ensure to clean all your tools properly before you store them. This action increases their lifespan and saves you the cost of getting a new one each time you want to repaint.

Is Primer Supposed to Be Smooth?

It will help if your primer has a little edge to its finish. Remember that it is an adhesive and not the finished product. It is only the fresh coat that should be smooth and glossy.

Most times, oil paints are the ones with a glossy finish. Therefore, if your wall had oil paint on it previously, you might have a smooth appearance.

However, if you wish to change it, you can go in with the sandpaper before the primer. Contrarily, if you do not wish to alter the appearance, you can ignore the smooth finish of the primer.

It would interest you to know that there are specific primers for walls with oil paint. This way, you can deal with each type of paint in its peculiarity. 

Is Primer Supposed to Look Even?

Yes! Paint primers must look even. At this point, you cannot deny that the first reason why you need a primer is for the even surface.

In addition, I am certain you understand why you need a primer in the first place- as an adhesive.

The uniformity that primers add to painted surfaces is what you look forward to when applying the coat.

Consequently, you add each layer until you feel your base is set. If you think that your primer is too thick, you can do these;

  • You can add some water to the primer.
  • You can dilute it with some ethanol if it is an oil primer.

This way, you are sure to have the consistency that you desire. But, of course, you must be careful so that you do not add too much liquid. An overly thin primer is useless and will not perform its duty.

It is best to thin spray primers; this helps the consistency to be lighter. In addition, it also helps the primer pass through the spray muzzle easily since it is not too viscous.

Remember that a primer must not appear smooth; it is only a painted wall that can be glossy. 


In conclusion, it is wrong when a primer looks streaky or drips down from the point of application. It is best when it spreads evenly and gives a uniform finish.

However, if it does not, you must apply another layer of primer before you can paint.

This action increases the chances of your new paint sticking to the wall and your surface looking smooth.

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