February 28, 2024

Should I Use Primer or Self-Priming Paint on Furniture?

Should I Use Primer or Self-Priming Paint on Furniture?

Key FAQ Points:

  • Self-priming paint saves you the time and effort of applying primer as well as the cost.
  • Chalk paint is self-priming, but choosing one that’s also self-sealing can keep things simple.
  • Specialist metal primer is best for bare, ferrous (iron-based) metal, but the likes of aluminium and copper don’t need primer because they don’t rust.
  • For porous materials like bare MDF, a sealant can be used before painting to stop the surface absorbing so much moisture from the paint.


Once you have prepped your furniture, you just want to get on with the nice bit – adding your chosen colour! By choosing a self-priming paint, you can do just that as they remove the need to faff around with the time and effort of a primer – not to mention the expense.

It’s good to know that chalk paint is self-priming. However, not all chalk paints are the same! For ease of application, choose one that is also self-sealing to keep things simple and to avoid the need for an extra sealant. These include:

Primers for metals

When using a water-based paint like Frenchic, for bare, ferrous (iron-based), metal it is good practice to use a specialist metal primer. If the metal is previously painted or coated, then this is not necessary.

Other metals, like aluminium or copper, do not need a primer as they are not prone to rust. If you are worried about checking what your metal furniture is made of, it may help to know that iron is heavy whereas aluminium is light.

Sealing vs priming porous materials

For porous materials like bare MDF, it is worth applying a sealant prior to painting. This will help you achieve a smooth finish as the surface will not absorb moisture from the paint. It also saves on paint! Using a quick-drying, water-based sealant like Finishing Coat means you don’t have to wait too long before painting. It’s also very quick and easy to apply, using a sponge rather than a brush.

The job of a primer is partly to help paint grip, but self-priming paint doesn’t require assistance to grip – in fact using a primer with self-priming paint can mean the first coat of paint is trickier to apply.


Frenchic Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to get emails on the latest Frenchic news,
offers and gossip