Selecting the Correct Primer or Undercoat for your Project

Hopper Green Hallway

We produce a comprehensive range of colour-matched primers and undercoats, to ensure the beauty of your paint is matched by its performance.

Whether you are painting interior woodwork or exterior metalwork, Little Greene’s range of undercoats achieve full depth of colour and the most beautiful finish possible.

For further information on each product, please browse our Technical Data Sheets.

How should I choose an undercoat paint?

Firstly, do I need to undercoat before painting?

It's essential to use the correct primers and undercoats to allow paint to do its job properly. Undercoat is often required to seal unpainted surfaces or prepare the surface for painting.

If you are transitioning from a dark to a light colour, the undercoat will help to obliterate the colour beneath. This will allow your chosen topcoat to achieve an unrivalled depth of colour.

What is the difference between primer and undercoat?

Both primers and undercoats prepare the surface to ensure a better finished result.

An undercoat prepares an even surface for painting. Painting a base layer ensures that your chosen colour can be achieved in fewer coats.

A primer produces a fully prepared substrate, to support your chosen finish. Primed surfaces are easier for paint to adhere to and also prevent seeping or bleeding between paint layers

Undercoat Paint


Which Undercoat should I use?

Metal Bench + Wooden Shed Paint

Preparing Walls

Patchy or friable walls and new plaster, including skimmed walls and ceilings, are best prepared using our Wall Primer Sealer. This will take up the porosity of the surface and create a uniform base on which to paint. Use our wall sealer beneath any of our water-based emulsion, eggshell or masonry paints. 

If your walls have been painted previously and are in a good condition, no separate undercoat is required. We recommend that you simply apply two coats of your chosen finish.

Preparing Woodwork

New or resinous wood should always be sealed with a coat of our Aluminium Wood Primer. This will prevent any resins from bleeding through the topcoat of your chosen finish.

If your woodwork is sealed or previously painted, apply one coat of quick-drying Intelligent Primer Undercoat, or Traditional Primer Undercoat. The correct undercoat for wood will depend on your chosen topcoat and should be applied before two coats of eggshell or gloss finish.

Preparing Metalwork

Previously primed or painted metalwork, in good condition, can be painted without further priming. However, it is good practice to rub down the surface with a medium grade sandpaper first. This will create a key for the topcoats.

New radiators are usually supplied primed. However, we recommend applying one coat of Traditional Oil Primer Undercoat, before finishing with two coats of your chosen topcoat. This may be eggshell or gloss, depending on your chosen finish.


Our Undercoat Paint Finishes

Walls primed with Wall Primer Sealer

Wall Primer Sealer (water-based)

Perfect for walls and ceilings.

Choose Wall Primer Sealer for new plaster, skimmed patch-repaired or friable surfaces.

  • Primer and sealer in one can.
  • Use this on interior and exterior walls and ceilings.
  • Surface preparation for Absolute Matt Emulsion, Intelligent Matt Emulsion, Intelligent Eggshell and Masonry Paint.
  • Tinted to the same shade as your chosen topcoat to ensure full depth of colour.
  • Environmentally-friendly formulation.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Odourless.
  • Available in 2.5l & 10l tins.
Undercoat Primer for Woodword

Intelligent Primer Undercoat (water-based)

Perfect for woodwork, also walls, ceilings, and primed metalwork.

Choose Intelligent Primer Undercoat for bare wood and suitably primed metals.

  • Primer and undercoat in one can.
  • Perfect for interior woodwork and metalwork.
  • Prepares surfaces for the application of Eggshell and Gloss finishes.
  • Excellent adhesion.
  • Tinted to the same shade as your chosen topcoat to ensure full depth of colour.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Odourless.
  • Available in 1l and 2.5l tins.


Radiator Paint

Traditional Oil Primer Undercoat (oil-based)

Perfect for woodwork and metalwork.

Choose Traditional Oil Primer Undercoat for interior and exterior woodwork and metalwork.

  • Primer and undercoat in one can.
  • Prepares surface for Eggshell and Gloss finishes.
  • Excellent penetration, flow and levelling providing ease of application.
  • Tinted to the same shade as your chosen topcoat to ensure full depth of colour.
  • Touch-dry in 4 hours, completely dry overnight.
  • Available in 1l and 2.5l tins.
Primer & Undercoat on Indoor Woodwork

Aluminium Wood Primer (oil based)

Perfect for woodwork

Use this on bare softwoods and hardwoods, both indoors and outdoors.

  • Very high-quality primer and stain-blocker in one can.
  • Seals and protects resinous and knotted woods.
  • Excellent penetration, flow and levelling providing ease of application.
  • Single colour available (metallic pink.)
  • Touch-dry in 4 hours, dry overnight.
  • Available in 1l and 2.5l tins.

Browse our full colour palette in undercoat paint finishes.

If you’re struggling with selecting shades or concerned about colour combinations, Little Greene Colour Consultants can help you decorate your home with confidence.