Can You Put PVA Drywall Primer on the Wood Surface Before Painting?

reasons for not using PVA drywall primer on wood

PVA drywall primer works very well when you need to prepare and seal the drywall before painting.

But for wood, using a PVA drywall primer isn’t the best idea.

PVA primers are made to adhere to a variety of surfaces, but they’re not as good at penetrating into the pores of the wood and blocking the tannins that can cause discoloration.

For that reason, it’s best to use a stain-blocking primer specifically made for wood when you’re painting over bare wood.

If you’re going to repaint over finished wood, it’s best to use a primer that’s specifically made for that purpose. Otherwise, you may end up with a less than ideal finish.

Still not convinced? Well, in the detailed post below, I will share a few more details on why you shouldn’t use drywall primer on wood, what will actually happen if you use it, and what are the best alternative solutions.

So, let’s get started with…

What is PVA Drywall Primer?

PVA drywall primer is a white latex-based primer that’s designed for sealing new drywall before painting.

This type of primer is made with polyvinyl acetate, which is a type of synthetic resin or adhesive often used to create a thin film.

PVA primer is also sometimes used as an adhesive on its own. When it’s used as a water-based latex primer, the PVA helps to fill the pores in the drywall so that paint can better adhere to the surface.

It also helps to create a barrier between the drywall and the paint, which can prevent any potential staining.

Unlike regular oil-based primers, PVA primers are specifically meant to be used on drywall, and it dries in as little as two hours.

Why Shouldn’t You Use PVA Drywall Primer on Wood?

You shouldn’t use PVA drywall primer on wood for several reasons.

Here are some of the most common ones you should be aware of…

1- It Doesn’t Penetrate into the Pores of the Wood Very Well

The main reason is that PVA primers are designed to adhere to a variety of surfaces, but they’re not as good at penetrating into the pores of the wood and blocking the tannins that can cause discoloration.

Tannins are organic compounds that are found in some woods, like oak and cedar. They can cause the wood to turn a yellow or brown color over time, especially when they’re exposed to light and air.

2- It Doesn’t Soak into the Wood Completely

Since PVA primer simply doesn’t do a good job of getting into the pores of the wood, it also doesn’t soak in completely.

That means that there’s a good chance that the primer will just sit on top of the wood, which can eventually lead to peeling or flaking.

For porous surfaces like wood, the primer you choose should soak inside completely rather than just act as a sealant for sealing the top surface.

3- PVA Primer is Waterbased, and It’s Not Very Good for Wood

Since drywall primers are water-based, if you put them on a porous surface like wood before painting, the water will cause the wood fibers to swell.

This will again lead to all sorts of problems, like paint that won’t adhere properly, bubbling, and peeling.

PVA drywall primer, if used on wood, is also not as durable as other types of wood primer, so it’s more likely to chip and peel over time.

So, What Should Be Your Options When Priming Wood Before Painting?

The traditionally used slow-drying oil-based primer is the best option for priming both unfinished and finished wood.

If you’re painting over bare wood, it’s better to use a slow-drying oil-based stain-blocking primer specifically made for bare wood.

They are best to pre-coat the wood because:

  • They block stains much better than water-based primers.
  • They provide a better base for paint adhesion.
  • They are less likely to cause paint to peel.
  • They can be used both indoors and outdoors.
  • They work well on all types of wood, including hardwoods.

However, oil-based primers have a few disadvantages:

  • They tend to be more expensive than water-based primers.
  • They have a strong odor and can be messy to work with.
  • They require mineral spirits for cleanup.
  • They have a longer drying time than water-based primers.

Priming Finished Wood

If you’re painting over a previously finished surface, it’s not essential to use a slow-drying stain-blocking primer, but it’s still a good idea.

You can use either an oil-based or water-based primer that is fast-drying. Some of them can even be recoated in as little as two hours.

Kilz, for example, makes a great stain-blocking primer that can be used on both bare and finished wood, and it dries fast.

Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer is also a great option because it’s formulated to work well on a variety of surfaces, including wood.

So, if you are in a hurry to complete your project early, you can use these types of primers.

Priming Stained Wood

Wood that is stained can be a little trickier to prime because the stain does not sit on the surface of the wood like paint but rather soaks into it.

This means that you need to be very careful when choosing a primer because if used incorrectly, it can sometimes bleed through the primer and ruin your paint job.

If you’re priming over a water-based stain, you can use any type of primer. However, if you’re priming over an oil-based stain, it’s best to use an oil-based primer specifically made for blocking stains.

It’s good to test the primer on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure that it doesn’t cause the stain to bleed through.

Also, before you put the primer on stained wood, you will need to prepare the surface by sanding it first.

Use medium-grit sandpaper or a de-glosser to get it done. This will help the primer to adhere better and will also help to prevent any bleed-through.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a few different types of primer that can be used on wood, depending on the situation.

While PVA drywall primer isn’t that great for wood, any primer is better than no primer. If you have a small, less important project like craft work, you can get away with using it.

For anything else, though, like painting furniture or trims outdoor, it’s best to use a slow-drying oil-based primer specifically made for stain-blocking.

While you use them, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’ll be sure to get great results that will last for years to come.

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