The debate of which method should come first is not unusual in the painting and decoration world.
Before understanding the ideologies behind using each approach, you must vividly comprehend the two processes.
Priming is the process of applying undercoats to materials or surfaces before painting them. Caulk is a sealant or filler used to even out surfaces before painting.
Primers are also known as undercoats, and caulks are traditionally waterproof. Both of them are applied during preparation before the actual painting is done.
With this insight into the two techniques, let us explain which should come first and why.
Various analysis and judgements have been reached but the discussion here is not to judge whether one is good and bad. The discussion is targeted towards clarifying the best way to go about it? Caulks are primarily fillers. They fill unconnected regions, holes, undulations, cuts, and other irregularities that can be present.
From a basic perspective, it feels like caulking should go first since you have to get the surface right and eradicate major problems. That is not far from the truth but let us consider other possibilities.
Firstly, it is very possible that the material or surface does not need caulking. A perfectly smooth or near smooth surface doesn’t really need caulking; that the first consideration. Also, some caulks do not stick to the material if the primer is missing as a base coat.
The inability of caulk to stick by itself can be caused by the type of caulk you have or the material of the surface you are dealing with.
Normally, if you are working with a vinyl-cleaned wood that is bare, caulks will work perfectly with it. That is not the same for surfaces that are stained or when you are working on finished wood. These cases require a primer before caulk will exhibit adhesion.
At first, applying caulk may work, depending on the current scenario, but it is definitely not an optimal approach. As you are becoming an expert in painting, you will realize that caulk should not come first a lot of time. There are various reasons for that.
Priming can go first because many caulks require a primer to stick well and work; this alone is a good reason. When you apply a primer first, it becomes easy to spot more imperfections you need to deal with. That is very important; it is more efficient to know all the flaws before fixing them. With this approach, you must initially lookout for things like gaps and undulations.
When you prime before caulking, you have an idea that exaggerates the material’s imperfection, and thus, fixing the issues gets easier. If you caulk before you prime, you will likely notice more pits to fill when you start priming. The stress of having to caulk again is definitely not on your wish-list.
There is actually no right or wrong. You just have to take note of what will work well for the current project. If you are dealing with bare woods with high quality, caulk may be more appropriate to come first.
When caulk goes first, you need to observe your materials well in order to avoid having to redo the caulk application. Also, it is important to use top-notch caulks.
Acrylic caulks are usually appreciated for correct adhesive strength; I can definitely recommend that to prospective painters.
Personally, the most professional move is to prime before caulking. This is always effective and works for all situations. Though in some situations, using the primer first has its challenge; you may have to use excess primer when working.
This excess priming happens when you need to prime again after caulking. This factor also goes for caulking.
First, you may use extra caulk after priming if you discover new flaws to cover.
If the caulk you use on your project has a bright white color, dark shades of paint will let it show up to some extent. You should apply the primer after caulking in order to counteract this.
It will aid with coverage that will avoid bleeding. You should use a tinted, grey caulk that won’t bleed into the finishing coat if you’d like to prime first. At the end of it all, it is all about getting a great job done.