Priming surfaces to which you have made repairs: Refer to the previous section on repairing cracks and holes, sand your surface, then apply latex (water-based) or alkyd (oil-based) primer. Matching latex primer to latex paint, and oil primer to oil paint makes for easier cleanup, but it is not essential.
Taking the time to prime with a flat alkyd primer before applying latex paint provides a better seal for the paint. Painting professionals swear by oil primer if they use latex paint, but in our opinion, the combo of latex primer and paint is the most viable, easy option for the do-it-yourself painter.
Priming surfaces from which you have stripped wallpaper: Follow the previous tips for removing wallpaper and then apply latex (water-based) or alkyd (oilbased) primer, as explained above.
Priming non-porous surfaces: Priming surfaces to which glossy latex paint, vinyl wallpaper, or varnish have been applied requires a high-adhesion acrylic primer, such as DTM Bonding Primer by Sherwin-Williams. It’s manufactured to be a metal primer, but it can be used to prime any non-porous surface.
High-adhesion primers are relatively new on the market and are excellent time savers because they save you from stripping these paints, wallpapers, or varnishes from the surface.
Priming metal: Vinyl Etch Primer by Resene is another great metal primer. You must remove all rust from metal prior to priming it.
Priming laminate: If you want to paint over laminate, the best option is to use a metal-adhering primer such as Vinyl Etch Primer by Resene. Note that it is not practical to paint over laminate countertops because the wear and tear they receive will not hold up to any primer on the market. You can, however, paint laminate cabinets.
Priming a Stained Surface: Water, smoke, crayons, and grease can leave bad stains that need to be handled with a specialized primer. Use a stain-killing primer for these surfaces. We recommend Cover Stain by Zinsser. It comes in a can, as well as in an aerosol spray, which is great for “spot priming” bad stains.