Primer coat is the first surface build up on any substrate. It is designed to receive multiple coats, immediately or some times later. A primer-coat is a surface preparation layer. It covers the surface irregularities like, chemical reactivity, and physical variations -colour, texture, porosity. A primer coat also offers a next application worthy surface. A primer coat serves two distinct purposes: 1 It touches the substrate, often of many different types, and so must adhere to it, well, 2 It receives the next coat so functionally must be compatible with it. A primer coat helps in levelling the surface, and must have ‘body’ to fill up the pores, micro crevices, etc. Primer coat is sand papered for levelling, and to roughen up for application of second coat. Its some superfluous part gets rubbed and removed.
Primer coat is nominally applied on ‘virgin’ or an uncoated surface, and sometimes on very old coated surface. In the later case, the primer coat is slightly coloured white, off-white or some colour closer, but lighter then the final intended colour. When an old coat colour is to be ‘masked’ completely, primer coats or undercoats are coloured by a ‘masking colour’, such as Green by darker Red or Red by Blue. It is desirable to have primer of a slightly different and lighter colour shade than the subsequent coat, to differentiate a freshly coated surface and uncoated surface.
Primer coat is a technical coat, so its colour is not very important. The Primer-colours that we see are mainly due to the filler or body-pigments, called extenders. These are chosen for their protective effects and other technical qualities. Primer coats protect the virgin surface, and so are applied soon after the primary manufacturing is over, such as on pipes, sections, sheets, castings, etc. Good primer must remain adhered to the surface, even after other top coats are removed accidentally, or for renovation.
Clear Sealer Coats: These are priming coats for application of clear coats, mainly wood surfaces. A sealer coat, like a primer prepares the fresh surface (of wood) for subsequent application. Sealer coat must be to be low viscosity, but high solid content material. Nitro cellulose clear has been found to be the most versatile sealer material. Other materials include variety modified pine Rosins. Clear sealer coats are often not categorized as priming coat, where the first application is a coat of ‘extender’ such as china clay, barytes or Calcium carbonate mixed with oxide colour. Such a coat covers, the irregularities of colour and grain patterns, fill up pores and micro crevices on wood surfaces. After sand papering-level rubbing it may be coated with a sealer coat. Sealer coats are preceded by staining compounds or coats, to add a translucent tinge on the surface.
A primer or sealer coat is the first coating applied to the objects’ surface, so it is required to:
● Regulate moisture movement in case of wood or masonry surfaces and provide corrosion resistance on metals
● Regulate the PH value and galvanic activity of the surface.
● Seal the surface so that oils, waxes, gases, vapours, salts and other reactive exudations from the object mass do not leach out in adverse conditions
● Fill up micro pores and crevices to level out the surface
● Provide temporary protection to the substrate from actions like abrasion, oxidation, sparking, ignition, insects attack.
A great variety of primers are available in the market, but of following basic THREE categories:
Wood primers generally function as sealers, so have a high pigment + extender ratio. Wood sealers for clear coats are colourless coatings that help in sealing the grain. Commercial wood primers for pigmented paints are white or pinkish in colour due to the presence of white pigments and extenders, compared to metal primers (red-oxide) which, are dark coloured.
Metal primers have rust inhibitive pigments or extenders like red lead, zinc oxide, zinc chromate, red oxide, calcium boro-silicate, barium metaborate, zinc molybdate, chromium fluoride, basic lead silico chromate, zinc ferrite, calcium ferrite. Under water (submerged) metal structures are coated with zinc rich primers based on epoxy, polyurethane systems or chlorinated rubber paints are used.
Masonry primers are applied to alkaline surfaces, so are designed as non acidic mediums. Often such surfaces have high degree of loose particles, so Masonry primers have high proportion of binding materials. Commercially these types of primers are known as cement primers, and are available as water or oil-based formulations. Water-based formulations are mainly used on virgin masonry surfaces.