What Is PVA Paint Used For? We Explain the PVA Primer.

Anyone who has participated in a building or remodeling of property is likely familiar with the satisfaction you feel when all the drywall is up. It means your wall is reading for priming with PVA paint. This essential step must always precede the application of the paint color you have selected.

If you don’t know much or enough about PVA paint and remodeling, we have got you covered. This article will highlight everything you need to know, including:

  • What is PVA Primer?
  • Why skipping the PVA priming step will come back to haunt you
  • Tips for applying PVA primer
  • FAQs about PVA Primer

What is PVA Primer?

PVA primer is a latex-based ‘paint’ made of polyvinyl acetate. Though it is often called PVA paint, it is a primer and is meant to be painted over. Contractors rely on PVA primer because it has a tacky quality that ensures subsequent coats of paint are easy to apply. The primer is used on drywall and plaster walls.

Drywall is relatively coarse and has large pores that absorb paint and cause it to dry unevenly. PVA primer is also called drywall sealer because it seals off these pores to ensure you have an easier time while painting.

Why You Need to Use PVA Primer

One of the most common rookie mistakes that eager DIYers make is painting a wall without priming it. Do not be tempted to skip this essential step. Anytime you want to paint new plaster or drywall, applying primer should be at the forefront of your working schedule.

Failure to use PVA primer means you will apply paint directly onto the drywall or plaster wall. This will have disastrous several disastrous outcomes:

  • You will use much more paint because several layers that you apply will bleed into the drywall or plaster
  • Failure to use PVA primer when blending old drywall with new drywall will betray your repair by showing where the old drywall meets the new. The use of PVA primer ensures full coverage and hides the repairs so well that no one can spot the difference.
  • The paint job will look thick and unprofessional compared to the sleek appearance that PVA primer affords.
  • The paint job is likely to be damaged by moisture, e.g., blistering or molding, much faster compared to one where the primer was applied.

If you are tempered to skip the PVA primer, remember that the extra money you spend on it will save you a lot more in the long run. You will not need to use lots of paint or worry about your wall prematurely suffering moisture damage.

Tips for applying PVA Primer

Now that you are sold on the importance of applying PVA primer, we can discuss some tips to ensure your project is successful. Whatever you can lack in experience, you can compensate for using research. Here are some tips that will help you pull off professional-level priming on your drywall or plaster wall:

1) Match Your PVA Primer Brand and Paint Brands

Painting companies test their products to ensure they are compatible. Using different brands for the various coats needed when painting your wall is not advisable. Though nothing is likely to happen when you choose other brands, why take the risk? There is a chance that the coats won’t gel well together. Play it safe by picking a brand and sticking with it.

2) Invest in Cloth Dropcloths

Plastic drop cloths are a quick, cheap fix that could cost money. The paint is slippery, and plastic doesn’t make it any better. Many people slip and fall on plastic dropcloths, which will never happen on a cloth one.

3) Consider Tinting Your PVA Primer

Most people do not know they can tint their PVA primer just like ordinary paint. PVA primers are primarily sold in a universal white, but people have caught onto tinting. Using pigment from your color choice in your primer will add cool undertones and strengthen the color.

When buying your PVA primer, you can request the staff at the store to add some tint as they mix the primer. You can also tint the primer yourself.

4) Save Time and Effort by using a Sprayer

Rollers used to be the modern way of applying paint or PVA primer. The only way to do it slower is by using a brush. Luckily technology has come to the rescue.

Spraying is the new way to apply primer and paint. People love sprayers because they cover huge sections in little time and with picture-perfect precision. There is also the tiny fact the sprayer’s arms won’t be killing it at the end of the day.

If you do not own or are not willing to purchase a sprayer, you can enjoy one at a low cost. Most hardware stores have sprayers available to rent. Ensure you understand how to handle and efficiently use the sprayer safely. A rule of thumb is to ensure your sprayer is on fan setting because the stream mode often results in paint dripping, thus causing uneven coverage.

5) Use Dampened Rollers

If you opt to use rollers, ensure you dampen them before applying the PVA primer to your drywall. Most newbies start with dry rollers and notice that painting becomes easier once the roller dampens.

Dry rollers do not prime as well as damp rollers because your PVA primer will need help adhering to the dry surface. A little water is all you need to get your roller to pick up the PVA primer and apply it correctly.

6) Keep Your Rollers Wet

Most newbies are bound to lack the painting techniques and prowess that professionals have perfected over the years. If you are tempted to squeeze the very last drop from your roller before dipping it in the PVA primer, resist doing so.

Though a roller with less paint helps you cover more ground, it will cause uneven coverage. The only way to cover the uneven coverage would be by adding more coats of paint or PVA primer. If you are determined to coat the surface properly, ensure your roller always has rough PVA primer. You don’t want the roller to drip, nor do you want it to dry. A wet roller with enough paint will get you good coverage and save you money.

7) Edging Before Beginning Will Help You Prime and Color Within the Lines

You may never have heard of this hack if you have yet to paint. Edging is a trick that professional painters use to ensure they stay within the lines. Buy painter’s tape from your local hardware store. Use a strip of tape to cover the edges of the wall.

Paint on the tape using a small brush (a few inches wide) or an edger to create a frame to paint and prime within. Peeling off the tape and delighting in your perfect lines is very satisfying.

8) Do Not Forget the Ceiling

If you intend to paint your drywall ceiling, you must prime it. Even though the ceiling is not as prominent as the walls, it is still good to get it right. On the off chance your guests look up, the last thing you want is a horrible paint job staring down at them.

If your ceiling isn’t drywall, priming may not be necessary. Some types of ceilings, e.g., open beams, are best served by sanding and sealing.

9) Paint As Soon as Possible

For your PVA primer to work as intended, you should paint it as soon as possible after it dries if you paint while your primer is still fresh. It guarantees that the primer is not contaminated by dust particles or anything else that will affect your paint coat.

Depending on the type of primer you bought, you may have to wait between one hour and an entire day for it to dry. Find out how long your primer takes, and plan to proceed with painting soon after.


PVA primer is a cheap option that will save you a lot of money when remodeling. Whether taking on a large project or repairing a small section, using PVA primer before painting is well advised. PVA primer will ensure your paint job looks very neat and clean. No one will ever guess you did the job yourself.

  • Is PVA Primer the Best in the Market?

PVA primer is a cheap option compared to most standard primers. However, you do not need to go for the more expensive primers because PVA does an excellent job on drywall and plaster walls.

  • How Many Coats of PVA Primer Are Enough?

One coat of PVA primer is all you need. When applied properly, a single coat will seal your drywall and save you from applying several coats of paint.

  • Can PVA Primer Be Used for Wood or Concrete? 

PVA primer works best on drywall and plaster walls. Do not use it on concrete or wooden walls because it will not achieve the desired effect.