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Primer vs. Putty: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on February 27, 2024
Primer is a preparatory coating applied before painting, while putty is a malleable substance used to fill cracks or holes.
Primer vs. Putty

Key Differences

Primer and Putty serve different purposes in painting and building. Primer is applied to surfaces before painting to ensure better adhesion of paint and increase its durability. Putty, on the other hand, is used to fill in small holes, cracks, or gaps in wood, walls, and other materials.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024
In terms of composition, primer is a liquid solution that seals, protects, and prepares surfaces for painting. Putty is a pliable, paste-like material, often made of gypsum, clay, or epoxy, and is used for sealing or filling.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024
Regarding application, primer is brushed or sprayed onto surfaces and is an essential step in painting to create a uniform base. Putty is applied to specific areas needing repair or smoothing and is often used in construction and woodworking.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024
In their function in a project, primer ensures paint adheres well and lasts longer, enhancing the paint's appearance and protecting the surface. Putty is used for repair and smoothing, ensuring surfaces are even and free of imperfections before painting or finishing.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024
Finally, in terms of drying time and preparation, primer typically requires some time to dry before painting can commence. Putty also needs time to dry or cure, after which it can be sanded smooth before applying primer or paint.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Purpose

Prepares surfaces for painting
Fills cracks and holes
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Feb 26, 2024

Composition

Liquid solution
Pliable, paste-like material
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Feb 26, 2024

Application

Brushed or sprayed on surfaces
Applied to specific areas for repair
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Feb 26, 2024

Function

Enhances paint adhesion and durability
Smooths and repairs surfaces
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Feb 26, 2024

Preparation Time

Requires drying before painting
Requires drying/curing before further work
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Primer and Putty Definitions

Primer

Primer is a preparatory coating applied before painting.
We applied primer to the walls before the final coat of paint.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Putty

Putty requires drying and sometimes sanding before finishing.
After the putty dried, we sanded it down before painting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Primer

Primer helps paint adhere better to surfaces.
Using primer ensured the paint stuck well to the old wood.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Putty

Putty is a malleable substance used to fill cracks or holes.
I used putty to fill the nail holes in the wall.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Primer

Primer is often used to prevent stains and rust from bleeding through paint.
We used a special primer to prevent rust from showing through the paint.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024
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Putty

A doughlike cement made by mixing whiting and linseed oil, used to fill holes in woodwork and secure panes of glass.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

Primer can be tailored for different surface materials.
For metal surfaces, we used a metal-specific primer.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Putty

A substance with a similar consistency or function.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

An elementary textbook for teaching children to read.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A fine lime cement used as a finishing coat on plaster.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A book that covers the basic elements of a subject.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A yellowish or light brownish gray to grayish yellow or light grayish brown.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A cap or tube containing a small amount of explosive used to detonate the main explosive charge of a firearm or mine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

To fill, cover, or secure with putty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

An undercoat of paint or size applied to prepare a surface, as for painting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A form of cement, made from linseed oil and whiting, used to fix panes of glass.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

(Genetics) A segment of DNA or RNA that is complementary to a given DNA sequence and that is needed to initiate replication by DNA polymerase.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

Any of a range of similar substances.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A prayer or devotional book intended for laity, initially an abridgment of the breviary and manual including the hours of the Virgin Mary, 15 gradual and 7 penitential psalms, the litany, the placebo and dirige forming the office of the dead, and the commendations.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

An oxide of tin, or of lead and tin, used in polishing glass, etc.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

Any of various similar works issued in England for private prayer in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A fine cement of lime only, used by plasterers.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A children's book intended to teach literacy: how to read, write, and spell.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A golf ball made of composition and not gutta-percha.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

An introductory text on any subject, particularly basic concepts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

Of, pertaining to, or resembling putty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

(New Zealand) An elementary school class; an elementary school student. (No longer used.)
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

(transitive) To fix or fill using putty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

Any substance or device, such as priming wire or blasting cap, used to ignite gunpowder or other explosive.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A kind of thick paste or cement compounded of whiting, or soft carbonate of lime, and linseed oil, when applied beaten or kneaded to the consistence of dough, - used in fastening glass in sashes, stopping crevices, and for similar purposes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A person who primes explosives.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A ball made of composition and not gutta percha.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A substance used to prime wood, metal, etc. in preparation for painting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A kind of gaiter of waterproof cloth wrapped around the leg, used by soldiers, etc.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A layer of such a substance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

To cement, or stop, with putty.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A layer of makeup that goes beneath the foundation; undermakeup.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

A dough-like mixture of whiting and boiled linseed oil; used especially to patch woodwork or secure panes of glass
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A person who primes wood, metal, etc.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

Apply putty in order to fix or fill;
Putty the window sash
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A molecule which initiates the synthesis of an enzyme, (especially) a single-stranded nucleic acid molecule which initiates DNA replication.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

Putty can be used for sealing joints or seams.
We applied putty along the window frame for a better seal.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Primer

A pheromone which interacts first with the endocrine system.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

Putty is often composed of gypsum, clay, or epoxy.
The epoxy putty hardened quickly, sealing the leak.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Primer

A device used to prime an internal combustion engine with gasoline, (especially) in airplanes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Putty

Putty is used in both construction and woodworking.
For this woodworking project, putty was essential for a smooth finish.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Primer

A person who prunes trees.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

(obsolete) First in time, initial, early.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

(obsolete) First in importance, premier.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

First in position, foremost.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

One who, or that which, primes
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

Originally, a small prayer book for church service, containing the little office of the Virgin Mary; also, a work of elementary religious instruction.
The primer, or office of the Blessed Virgin.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A small elementary book for teaching children to read; a reading or spelling book for a beginner.
As he sat in the school at his prymer.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

A kind of type, of which there are two species; one, called long primer, intermediate in size between bourgeois and small pica [see Long primer]; the other, called great primer, larger than pica.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

First; original; primary.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

An introductory textbook
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

Any igniter that is used to initiate the burning of a propellant
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

The first or preliminary coat of paint or size applied to a surface
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Primer

Primer can seal porous surfaces for uniform paint application.
The primer sealed the porous plaster, making it ready for painting.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is primer necessary for all paint jobs?

Not always, but primer is recommended for better paint adherence, especially on new or unpainted surfaces.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Can putty be used as an adhesive?

Some types of putty can act as adhesives, but its primary purpose is filling and sealing.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Can primer be used as a final coat?

No, primer is designed for preparation, not as a final coat. It needs a top coat of paint.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Is putty waterproof?

Some putties are waterproof, like epoxy putty, while others are not. It depends on the type of putty.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Can putty be painted over?

Yes, once dried and sanded smooth, putty can be painted over.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

What is the shelf life of putty?

Shelf life varies by type, but most putties last for several years if stored properly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Does putty come in different types?

Yes, there are various types of putty, including glazing, epoxy, and wood putty, each with specific uses.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Can primer be used on wood?

Yes, there are specific primers designed for use on wood to enhance paint adherence and protect the wood.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

How long does primer take to dry?

Drying time varies, but most primers take 1-3 hours to dry to the touch.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Can primer be tinted?

Yes, primers can be tinted to closely match the topcoat color, enhancing color coverage.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

What is a primer in painting?

A primer is a preparatory coating applied before painting, improving paint adhesion and durability.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

What is putty used for in construction?

Putty is commonly used for filling cracks, sealing, and as a base for paint in construction.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Is primer the same as paint?

No, primer is a preparatory coat, while paint provides color and final surface protection.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

How is putty applied?

Putty is typically applied with a putty knife or spatula and then smoothed and shaped as needed.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Is putty necessary for all types of painting?

Not always, but putty is essential for repairing surface imperfections before painting.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

What surfaces can primer be applied to?

Primer can be applied to various surfaces including wood, metal, plaster, and drywall.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Can primer prevent mold?

Some primers are formulated to resist moisture and mold, especially in damp environments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Does putty shrink as it dries?

Some putty types may shrink slightly as they dry, requiring additional application.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Are there eco-friendly primers?

Yes, there are eco-friendly, low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) primers available.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Can old putty be rejuvenated?

Depending on the type, some old putty can be softened with solvents for reuse.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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