The Jack Pauhl Drywall Primer Guide

Drywall Primer Guide Jack Pauhl


The Drywall Primer Guide (also The “B” Test;)[1] is the result of an in-depth analysis of 32 drywall primers to determine if drywall primer is adequate for sealing and equalizing differences in porosity, suction of panel paper, and joint compound(s).

The “B” Test reveals if drywall primer provides an adequate[2] bond with the panel paper and joint compound(s). In addition, to determine if a change in gloss or sheen occur over higher-suction areas.

To help determine the root cause of common problems associated with painting drywall, what follows is a physical description of each defect, along with an overview of contributing factors causing unsatisfactory results.

Purpose for Priming Drywall

The primary purpose for priming bare drywall is to seal and equalize porosity between the paper surface and various drywall compounds, collectively (muds). Failure to equalize the surface may cause texture differences between the face paper and joint compound. Fig. 1

In addition, primer should provide an adequate bond with the surface and provide a foundation for achieving a solid uniform gloss or sheen.

Unsatisfactory Results

Unsatisfactory results painting bare drywall usually show up first in areas over joints, fastener heads, and surrounding areas. Fig. 1 Inadequate sealing abilities and/or insufficient application of either the drywall primer/sealer or topcoat paint may be at fault. Other existing job conditions or paint rollers can be equally responsible for an inconsistent finish. This section will address possible causes.


1. Seal and equalize surface porosity
2. Provide adequate bond with surface
3. Prevent change in gloss or sheen


1. Brian Havanas, From Drywall Primers: Do They Work? The “B” Test, p.28, Jack Pauhl Painthacker magazine, The Rolling Edition, 2013.

2. Adequate: satisfactory or acceptable in quality in relation to the intended function of the applied coating (e.g., No function other than applied color, or durable surface for taping to paint stripes vs. adhesion tests using ASTM D3359 Method A “X Cut Tape Test” vs. how people use masking tape).

I am in the process of revising my past published work on testing 32 drywall primers. This new portion of work extends The “B” Test article another 20-30 pages. The “B” Test will stand alone unedited and the new published work will serve as additional material.

drywall texture differences


drywall primers revisted

Available April, 2015

3 Responses
  • Alex K Reply

    Hi Jack
    I’ve been reading all your pieces recently and was curious to what dry wall primer you would recommend.
    I’m just becoming established and I and about to begin a job in a 5/5 house. The kitchen is being redone and plaster is being put on the walls. What primer would you recommend? I will be spraying out of my titan 440.

    Thank You
    Alex K

  • Bruddah Mike Reply

    I actually had the thought about using Gardz a Month or two ago for a DryWall Primer, but quickly dismissed the idea because, in My thinking, I’d never heard of anyone doing it. I just stumbled upon your article and Wow! Great minds think alike. Just wish I could paint like you do. Seriously, You are quite a craftsman. I’ll probably be ordering some of your literature.

  • Bruddah Mike Reply

    Does any one monitor this sight?
    It’s way past April and no sign of the Guide in sight.
    You should at least pull that date till you have an idea when it might be out.

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