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Prime before you paint to keep your paint job looking great for years.

One of the easiest home improvement projects - one that will add the most value to your home for the least amount of money - is painting. It's easy to keep your paint job looking great so it continues to add value to your home for years to come. Just do what professional painters do: use one coat of primer and one coat of paint instead of two coats of paint. Here's why:

• Primers hide previous colors - even the darkest blues and deepest reds - far better than paint alone and prevent them from showing through or changing the color of the topcoat. They'll make your new color look more vibrant and even. Here's a little secret: By tinting your primer towards your paint color, you'll use less paint - plus get all the benefits of priming. Just ask your paint store or home center associate to add one half the same colorant they use to mix your paint.

• Primers work hard to block stains. If you try to cover a stain with a fresh coat of paint, the stain will probably bleed through - no matter how many coats of paint you apply. Quality primers seal in stains and prevent them from ruining your paint job.

• Primers prevent common paint problems. Because primers are formulated to prevent problems like cracking, peeling and blistering, they'll make any painted surface more durable, washable - and last much longer!

• Primers provide a sound base for paint. Paint is formulated to provide rich, beautiful color - but don't expect it to do a primer's job. High quality primers are rich in resin and provide a firm base for paint to adhere. Primers even stick to glossy, hard-to-paint surfaces without sanding, so you can paint paneling, cabinets, glossy paints, vinyl siding and more.