Which Kilz To Use? Guide On Kilz Primers for DIY Jobs

Kilz has a range of primers. Here we will take a look at which product best suits your DIY project. Whether it is for interior or exterior use, for damp conditions or to prevent stains, Kitz can supply you with a primer best suited for your needs.

When using any primer or paint, the correct equipment makes for an easier job. We look at a step-by-step guide to using the primer and a few reviews to help you make informed decisions.

What Is Kilz?

Kilz is a Masco Corporation acquired company that is based in Santa Ana, California, USA. The company manufactures and distributes a range of primers and paints for DIY jobs and professional contractor use. Their products can be used on interior and exterior surfaces, concrete, flooring, and wood.

Kilz Primer Products

Kilz produces a variety of products for every project. Their primer range includes 14 products, in both paint-on and aerosol versions.

  • All Purpose
  • Premium Heavy Duty
  • Restoration
  • Mold and Mildew
  • Original Indoor
  • Original Interior and Exterior
  • Original Low Odour
  • Standard Indoor
  • PVA Drywall
  • Kitchen and Bath
  • Grey
  • Klear
  • Adhesion
  • Drywall

With these many products to choose from, it is no wonder that the inexperienced DIYer may feel overwhelmed. If you remember these three points you cannot go too wrong.

  1. Look carefully at the surface you are working with. Identify its color and surface type such as smooth or rough
  2. Assess the issues that you will need to rectify such as stains, odors, or discoloration.
  3. Make a note of any unique characteristics eg. Dampness or sunlight exposure.

How To Choose The Correct Product?

For new interior surfaces, such as a recently built house or additional room, PVA Drywall or Standard Interior Primer are both suitable.

A glossy, slick surface such as aluminum, vinyl, ceramic tile, or glass, will need a priming of All Adhesion Interior/ Exterior Primer.

All Purpose Primer offers multiple uses in one product. It can be used on various surfaces. It is a water-based multi-surface primer-sealer-stain blocker. It adheres to surfaces well and coats and blocks minor stains. It has the added advantage of being a good choice for simple projects like color changes, ensuring the truest color of your new top coat.

For more complicated projects that require tackling tough stains, odors, or even fire damage, KILZ Restoration provides the best performance. Other tough issues including pet odors, large stains, or dark colours may need a coat or two of Heavy Duty Premium.

If you are still in doubt, ask a professional contractor, or salesperson at your local hardware or home improvement store for assistance.


On the whole, customers give Kilz products good reviews. Compliments include that it is easy to apply, covers stains and water marks, and is cost-effective. Customers used it to prime a variety of surfaces, and across the board it was satisfactory. The only disadvantage a customer pointed out was that it is quick-drying, and she did not have time to smooth out the layer she was working on before it dried.


Different surfaces require specific preparation before applying primer and paint. If you do not prepare your surface correctly, your primer may not be able to adhere to it and produce lasting protection and a neat finish.

Surface Preparations

Whichever surface you are working with it needs to be clean and dust and grease-free.

  • Previously painted surfaces

All loose or flaking paint should be removed and the surface sanded so that the primer can bind properly.

  • Stone, Brick, Plaster, and Stucco

For best results, these surfaces should be older, cleaned, dry, and dust-free. If you wish to paint new masonry surfaces less than 3 months old, a Premium or Low Odour option should be considered.

  • Glossy Surfaces

These surfaces should be sanded for adhesion purposes.

  • Restoration after A Fire

The area affected by the fire needs to be properly cleaned before applying primer.

  • Stain Blocking

Before applying your primer to the whole surface, it is advisable to apply your top coat to a small area to check for bleeding of the stain. If this occurs, apply a second coat of primer before your topcoat.

How to Use Kilz products?

Once you have chosen your primer and prepared your surface, consider the following instructions:

1) Protect Your Surroundings

Remove furniture or cover with drop cloths to protect floors and belongings. Apply painter’s tape to fixtures, moldings, trims, and ceiling.

2) Prepare The Roller or Paintbrush

For water-based primers, dampen your painting tools with water-based primers, or in a mineral spirit for oil-based primers. This step assists in an even absorption of the primer.

3) Spot and Cut In

Apply the primer to corners and edges and any areas where stains, drywall, plaster, or wood are exposed. You may use a 2-3 inch brush for these small areas.

4) Roll On

Use a 9-inch roller to quickly cover the larger areas of the wall in a vertical motion. Use a paint tray for easy application. Ensure the coat coat of primer is completely dry before applying a second coat if required.

5) Sanding

Conclude the priming by sanding the dry primer with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface for painting.

Additional Information

Kilz primers should be applied to about 4.6 ml thick when wet. A gallon of primer should be used on a 300-400 square feet surface to provide lasting protection.

Spray On Kilz

Kilz primers can easily be sprayed onto surfaces once they are prepared as above. The sprayer should be airless and allow you to attach a 15-21 thousand tip, although some of the products may need a 27 thousand tip. Stray pressure needs to be approximately 1800 – 3000 PSI and the filter a 60 mesh, the normal filter that comes with an airless sprayer. The object is to start at a low spray pressure and increase gradually to an even spray pattern.

Personal Protection

When using any chemical, personal protection equipment and clothing should be worn. It is important to have good ventilation, preferably with a cross flow, as well as skin and eye protection. Especially when spraying, a mask should be worn to prevent fumes and fine spray from being inhaled.

Tips And Tricks For A Professional Finish

  • Apply A Tint To The Primer

Add a touch of your topcoat paint to the primer. This tip greatly increases the primer’s ability to cover stains and water marks if the surface is darker than the new color. Ensure that both primer and paint are either latex-based or oil-based. Do not mix solutions.

  • Use Canvas Drop cloths

Canvas is rip and puncture-resistant and extremely durable. They also lie flat providing less chance of tripping on them. When plastic is wet it may become slippery, whereas canvas absorbs paint splatters. Canvas is also easily folded around doorways and corners and can be reused many times. Dried paint on plastic sheeting can flake off and dirty your room.

  • Using An Extension Pole

Extension poles come in different sizes and offer plenty of reach for painting rooms with high ceilings. Ensure it has a soft rubber grip and a sturdy metal core. Plastic poles may be too flexible when extended making them difficult to control. Also, plastic eventually becomes brittle and snaps. Check that the extension clips work correctly and clip securely into place.

  • Record The Color

Ensure you have a record of the brand name, color primer and paint, and other important information you are using for future reference.

Last Thoughts

Priming a surface before painting is an important first step. Kilz Primers come in a variety of types for different surfaces. Whether you decide on a general purpose or a more targeted product, preparing your workspace and ensuring you have everything you need including personal safety equipment on hand, promotes a hassle-free finish.

Painting tips and tricks from seasoned professionals are worth considering rather than making the same mistakes.