Best Primer For Drywall

I get asked quite frequently if you need to prime bare drywall. Yes, absolutely! You need a primer for drywall that is bare! After sanding and cleaning, you need to prime your newly installed Drywall before you start painting it.

This is absolutely necessary! And No, paint and primer in one is not an option! Priming your drywall with a PVA primer will seal the surface and provide a bonding opportunity for your paint.

Some of the best drywall primers are:

Benjamin Moore Fresh Start

This high-hiding acrylic interior primer is great because it has a high build and covers really well. It is, in my opinion, the best drywall primer to hide imperfections.

It has the consistency and thickness of good flat white ceiling paint.

We use it a lot at 518 Painters to paint garages and to appease banks when the customer needs to prepare bare drywall for inspections without having to actually topcoat. 1 coat of this primer will appear like a flat white painted wall.

In addition, we use this primer primarily to prime new garage drywall, new basement drywall, and old drywall because of its stain-blocking capabilities.

And in my personal opinion, this is the best new drywall primer for your money.

Product Details:

  • Maximum hiding for interior surfaces
  • Excellent all-around stain blocker
  • Fast drying
  • Low VOC
  • Mildew resistant
  • Superior adhesion

Zinsser Drywall Primer

zinsser drywall primer

This water-based primer is excellent for sealing bare drywall.

It is our personal favorite when priming patches.

Additionally, it is low cost and seals great.

Therefore, for us, it is the best primer for drywall patches.

Dry time is usually within 30 minutes of application. Depending on the room temperature and humidity.

It sands really quickly and is relatively low cost.

Product Details

  • Ideal for sealing new drywall
  • Fast drying – seals surfaces for painting in one hour
  • Low odor
  • Won’t raise the nap on new drywall
  • Water-based formula – easy water clean-up
  • Sands easily – creates a smooth surface for painting

Glidden PVA Drywall Primer

glidden drywal primer and sealer

This acrylic primer and sealer is meager in cost but gets the job done.

We like to use this primer for new construction at 518 Painters in Albany, NY.

It is excellent for big jobs if you are trying to budget your product cost.

In addition, it is not high build and has consistency.

The newly installed drywall is very porous. So is the joint compound that is used for the installation.  Paint will not adhere properly to bare drywall. It is also very porous and needs more paint because it will soak up more material than an adequately sealed surface.  Therefore, it is necessary to use a PVA primer for drywall.  Besides sealing the surface, it also acts as an adhesion promoter for the paint that will be applied. 

How To Apply Drywall Primer

You can spray it on using a paint sprayer or brush and roll using a Nylon brush and a 3/8-inch microfiber roller.

Related article Best Paint Sprayers On Amazon

Make sure you de-lint the roller before painting. 

Here is a quick example:

PVA Primers have a fast drying time. Usually, they dry to touch in 30 minutes at 77°F (25°C) and 50% humidity.


What is PVA Primer Made Of?


is an origin of polyvinyl acetate. In addition, it is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic, transparent, thermoplastic, water-insoluble resin.

In addition, It is usually thinner in consistency compared to paint but not as thin as a shellac-based primer.

What Does PVA Primer Do?

PVA primers are designed to seal porous surfaces such as new drywall. It has the ability to keep moisture from getting into your drywall. Once water gets into drywall, it can cause mildew or mold to grow.

Mildew is a surface fungus. It is white or grey in color and grows on moist surfaces. You can treat mildew with a store-bought cleaner and a scrubbing brush.
Mold, on the other hand, is black or green in color and is, in most cases, the result of a much larger infestation.

Therefore, you want to seal bare drywall and any new patchwork with the best drywall primer for bathrooms, such as the before mentioned Fresh Start.

Sealing Your Drywall

It will make it harder for moisture to enter and spread and allow for an even finish when applying your topcoat. 

You will see this a lot in homes in new housing developments. 

Contractors will paint those walls and ceilings using an airless sprayer and flat paint. Flat paint is not only cheaper, but it will hide imperfections more than a higher-sheen paint. Therefore, contractors use flat paint. 

The downside is that your walls are now what we call
“thirsty.” The paint will soak into the previous finish, dry unevenly, and blotchy whenever you paint thirsty walls.

PVA primers will prevent this from happening and help you achieve an even finish.

Will It Block Stains?

PVA primer 

is very transparent and will not block any stains.

Some primers are tintable up to 2 oz per gallon. This depends on the brand, so be sure to read the label or ask the distributor of the product, i.e., your hardware or paint store.

If you need to block stains, you must consider a stain-blocking primer such as shellac-based or oil-based primer.

Read more about Best Oil Based Primers For Wood And More

You can use PVA primer over bare and previously painted drywall, plaster, wood, and masonry. Although possible, we suggest using a better-suited wood and masonry primer.
Clean-up is quickly done with water.

If you choose not to prime your drywall, your paint will not bond to the surface, eventually causing it to fail and peel.

How Do You Fix Drywall That Hasn’t Been Primed?

If this happens, you have no other option but to obliterate the paint (or as much as possible), prime your Sheetrock, and start over.

Low-Cost PVA Primer

You can pick up a low-cost PVA primer for drywall at Home Depot. Kilz works great!

drywall primers- best primer for drywall

A 5-gallon bucket costs ca. $50 US and works well enough to seal your joint compound and Sheetrock. 

Additionally, you should always prime any patchwork with a PVA primer.

This will cause your patches to be less porous and help you achieve a more even finish and less noticeable patch after painting it.

We always suggest two topcoats after priming.

If you are interested in learning more about wood primers (specifically for kitchen cabinets and furniture), you should check out this article that breaks down the “best primers for kitchen cabinets”

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7 thoughts on “Best Primer For Drywall”

  1. Thank you, Tiffany and I agree with what you are saying!

  2. What is the best prime for my walls that has been painted and has a lot of imperfections. I would like to prime then paint you can see where they Spackle and sanded.

    • Prime with “Benjamin Moore Freshstart” then 2 topcoats of paint. That should do the trick.

  3. Hi and thanks for all good stuff. Question – installed the drywall with brown face inside – don’t ask or laugh 🙂 – air spray it with a coat of Roman RX35 -999. As i am an amateur, the drywall joints shows lines and wondering if you have any recommendation on what drywall primer to use – how many coats?
    Thank you!

    • Hey,
      If the lines of the joints are showing then it’s most likely a taping/mudding issue. You’ll have to apply another coat of spackle. Other than that I would use Benjamin Moore’s “Freshstart” primer.
      That primer hides incredibly much.


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