Wall priming tips and tricks

Submitted to Rust-O Resources

Priming a wall is easy when you follow these helpful tips. From preparation to cleanup, rustoleum.com has you covered with steps to follow before you prime and paint.

  1. Gently wash the walls with an appropriate Krud Kutter cleaner to remove any dirt, grease or dust. Rinse with clean water.
  2. If there are any nail holes or other imperfections in the wall, fill them with patch and let it dry. Sand away any rough spots before priming.
  3. Apply painter’s tape to edges that you don’t want to paint, such as where the floor or cabinets meet the wall. Stick the tape to clean, dry surfaces for best adhesion.
  4. Place the roller cover on the paint roller and roll it along the sticky side of a piece of painter’s tape to remove any loose lint.
  5. Cover the floor with a drop cloth to protect it from paint splatters.
  6. Fill the paint tray by pouring Zinsser primer from the can in one fluid motion.
  7. After pouring the primer, clean out the rim of the can with a paper towel. This will help the lid close properly. Before you start to prime, put the lid back on the can to prevent the primer from drying out.
  8. Start in a top corner with a paint brush and outline the room with the primer about 2.5-3 inches from the ceiling, corner, and bottom trim. This creates a perimeter so the roller does not have to go all the way to the corner or ceiling. Use a professional 2.5” angle sash brush to make the job go faster.
  9. To prevent roller marks, create a “W” and then back fill into the spots open spots. Continue this technique along the wall.
  10. After the primer is dry, cover it with paint, repeating the steps listed above.
  11. When you finish painting, remove the painter’s tape immediately. If you wait, the paint will dry to the tape and might start to peel as you remove the tape. If you notice this happening, use an exacto knife and cut along the tape first.


  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Drop Cloth(s)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint Can Opener
  • Stir Stick
  • Roller Cover(s)
  • Roller Cage
  • Roller Tray
  • Paint Brush
  • Gloves
  • Paper Towels or a Rag

Optional Materials:

Learn more about Zinsser primers here. Questions for our Rust-Oleum experts? Drop them in the comments and get ready to prime and paint!