Painting up drywalls can be a time consuming and tiring task. But when it is done, they look fresh and smooth. And just after a month or so, you’ll start seeing paints peeling in some areas on the wall. Why did this happen? Because you forgot an important thing before painting them- applying drywall primer!
Without a good drywall primer, your paint will not adhere to the wall for a long time. And there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to primers. That’s why we have come up with a list of top products so that you can get the best drywall primer the next time you paint them.
KILZ 2 All Purpose Multi-Surface Primer
Dry Time: 30 Minutes
Glidden ONE COAT Interior Best Paint and Primer in One
Dry Time: 30 Days (Full Cure)
ROMAN Products 16901 PRO-999 Rx-35 Problem Solving Primer
Dry Time: 30 Minutes
Rust-Oleum 286258 Primer
Dry Time: 30 Minutes
3M High Strength Small Hole Repair
Dry Time: 30 Minutes
Our 10 Best Drywall Primer Picks:
Here are the detailed reviews on our top 10 best primer for new drywall-
1. KILZ 2 All Purpose Multi-Surface Primer
KILZ 2 Multi-Surface primer is an excellent product for both interior and exterior jobs.
The primer has a very light odor, and can be used on surfaces like drywall, wood, plaster, stucco, brick, and even galvanized and painted metal.
If you are looking for a product that adheres to all the surfaces extremely well and also prevents mild stains caused by water, ink, or grease, then this is it.
KILZ Multi-Surface primer does a great job when it comes to hiding previous paint and spots. It dries in under 30 minutes and is ready for a second coat, if required, in an hour.
KILZ is a reputed brand and has won the Paint Brand of the Year in 2015. So, you can rely on them for any type of paint jobs without any hesitation.
- Can be used on different surfaces like wood, stucco, plaster, and galvanized metals
- Dries quickly and is ready to be painted over in an hour
- Thick enough and does not require a second coat many of the times
- Works well on interior as well as exterior surfaces
- Blocks stains like water, ink, marker, or grease
- Needs to be smoothened quickly as it dries out very fast
2. Glidden ONE COAT Interior Best Paint and Primer in One
Glidden ONE COAT is not exactly a primer, but a paint with primer combined. It is 100% acrylic in nature.
Just as the name suggests, the primer does the job well in just one single coat most of the time.
The washability of this product is amazing. You can clean the painted surface frequently without having to worry about peel off or smudges.
It comes in multiple shades of white color, and along with that, there are 300 other premium paint colors available. Each paint is claimed to be carefully picked out by professional experts.
Every shade of paint color that ONE COAT comes in three different finishes- flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss.
This makes the product usable anywhere in the house. All the paints are also low-VOC and low-odor, which makes it easier to paint and does not leave a strong smell after the job is done.
This paint and primer in one is also great in terms of stain blocking and hiding. Now you do not need to worry about stains and spots on your wall. It can be used on multiple surfaces, including metal.
- 100% acrylic primer and paint in one
- One coat of paint is enough in most of the cases
- Low-VOC and low-odour which means less chemicals and low after-smell
- Comes in multiple shades of white plus 300 other paint colors to choose from
- Seamlessly hide and blocks stains
- Thin in consistency
- May peel off easily after drying
- Not suitable for outside jobs
3. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer and Sealer
Zinsser produces some of the best painting supplies. One of them is the Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3.
This is a primer and sealer which is suitable for both inside and outside surfaces.
Just like the Glidden ONE COAT, Bulls Eye also comes with low-VOC and low-odor, which provides less chemicals, and a low odor.
The water-based primer is easy to apply and adheres to surfaces very well. And it also makes the surface breathable, which means you do not have to worry about blisters and peeling.
On top of that, the primer is mold and mildew resistant so that you can use it in areas with higher humidity.
The Bulls Eye primer is applicable to multiple surfaces, including drywall, masonry, wood, hardboard, and even galvanized metal. 1-gallon of this excellent product can cover an area of up to 400 square feet and provide a matte finished surface.
You can also use it to hide stains and to seal tannin bleeds. Its rust-inhibitive properties allow painting over new metal surfaces and glossy surfaces and get a smooth finish.
You can also clean the surfaces with soap and water without worrying about peeling.
- Can be used on both inside and outside surfaces
- Easily hides stains and seals tannin bleeds as well
- Resistant to blistering and peeling
- Mold and mildew resistant and can be used in humid areas
- Adheres to glossy surfaces perfectly
- Needs more product usage on painted surfaces to cover them entirely
- Quantity may not be sufficient if multiple coats are required on a larger surface
4. KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Latex Primer and Sealer
Another excellent product from KILZ is the L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Latex Primer and Sealer, made for both interiors as well as exterior surfaces.
Painting on porous surfaces requires a primer that has great adhesion, and this product successfully fulfills the expectations. It is an all-rounder when it comes to priming.
You can use this over not only normal surfaces like drywall and wood, but also on many unusual surfaces like PVC, vinyl, glass, tile, chalky paints, fiberglass, and many others.
KILZ High-Bonding Latex Primer is extremely versatile and can be used under a lot of different types of paints and topping materials like epoxy, lacquers, and even xylene and any other solvent-rich products. 1-gallon of the primer can cover surface areas of up to 300 square feet.
This product is fade-resistant and can be cleaned with the use of soap and water. It allows strong adhesion to all the topcoats. As the coats dry to touch under 30 minutes, you can paint over the primer in just an hour.
- Works on a majority of surfaces that are tough to paint like PVC, glass, and tile
- Provides excellent adhesion to topcoats
- Covers a larger surfaces area with a 1-gallon tub
- Fade-resistant and can be cleaned with water
- Dries to touch in 30 minutes and can be painted over in an hour
- May requires some experience as it dries quickly and needs to be smoothened after application
5. 3M SHR-3-AIO Patch Plus Primer
This is a very unusual product to put in the list of the best primers for drywall. But it is definitely not less than any other product on the list.
3M Patch Plus Primer is a unique, all in one primer. With this, you get a primer, a drywall spackle, a putty knife, and a sanding pad, all at the same time. Now that’s something everyone would like to own.
The Patch Plus Primer comes in a tube-like housing which is extremely handy and very easy to use. It is mostly used for priming up smaller damages and the entire drywall.
The tube holds a mix of spackling compound and primer. With a nozzle, the compound can easily be applied on damages like small holes and cracks on drywall.
The tube has a putty knife attached to the back of it, which is very efficient and does not require you to get another knife. And lastly, the cap of the tube is also a sanding pad.
After the compound dries off, you can sand it if required and then apply the paint. It also hides well and does not flash any paint. This solid product does not crack or shrink after drying.
- Easy to use design
- All in one product includes spackling compound, primer, putty knife, and a sanding pad
- Does not shrink and crack
- Dries in 30 minutes and can be painted over
- Does not flash paint after painting
- Cannot be used as a primer for entire drywall
- Can be a health hazard as it causes irritation to nose and throat, and contains cancer-causing chemicals
6. Zinsser Shieldz Universal Wallcovering Primer
A second Zinsser product on the list of top drywall primer is the Shieldz Universal Wallcovering Primer.
This is an excellent product for priming drywalls. A gallon primer can cover up to a whopping 500 square feet area.
The water-based formula makes it very easy to apply on a majority of the surfaces, both internal and external and is a great primer for hanging wallpapers.
You can prime the entire drywall by applying just one coat of Shieldz. It covers the wall very well, and also allows easy adjustment and positioning of wallpaper.
The product is designed for easy removal, which prevents tearing of drywall, seam separation, curling edges, and bubbles while removing. The coat dries to touch in under 30 minutes and is ready for painting or wallpaper hanging right after.
It also comes formulated with Zinsser’s Mold and Mildew Shield, which prevents the build mold and mildew build-up. You can clean it up easily with the use of soap and water.
- Covers an area of up to 500 square feet with 1-gallon tub
- Water-based product is easy to apply
- Adhesive enough for hanging wallpaper
- Ensure safe removal and prevents drywall damage
- Prevents mold and mildew build-up and can be used in humid places
- Can have a strong odor which can be uncomfortable when applying on interior surfaces
7. Roman PRO-999 RX-35 Drywall Repair and Sealer Primer
Just like the 3M Patch Plus Primer, this one is also an all in one product, but a little different. Roman Drywall Repair and Sealer Primer is an all-rounder when it comes to priming up a number of different surfaces.
And not just that, it is also a great sealer. This can be used to prime and seal multiple surfaces like drywall, joint compounds, and residual wallpaper paste and can also be used to get smooth finishes on surfaces like skim coats, spackle, popcorn ceilings, and mud joints.
The thick consistency, combined with the no-drip formula, ensures zero spatters and an even coat.
A single coat dries out clear, with a residual tack, which can be smoothened easily. You can use it on both interior and exterior surfaces.
The primer also has a very faint odor, which means it will not leave any smell lingering around after drying. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to dry before the second coat of paint can be applied.
Because of the consistency, you get great adhesion to both paint and wallpaper.
- Can be used as a primer and a sealer
- Great for porous surfaces like drywall, joint compounds, and wallpaper paste
- Can be used for unusual surfaces like skim coat, spackle popcorn ceilings, and mud joints
- It comes with a no-drip formula which avoids splattering
- Does not leave odor after drying
- It takes a long time to dry
- May not protect walls on wallpaper removal
8. KILZ KLEAR Multi-surface Primer and Sealer
And one more from KILZ on the top drywall primer list is the KILZ KLEAR Multi-surface Primer and Sealer. KILZ seems to push limits when it comes to great quality paint supplies.
This product is a primer and a sealer that can be used for both interior and exterior jobs. It is a clear primer and sealer, which is also alkali-resistant and protects topcoats from hot alkali present in bricks, plaster, and cement. It can also be applied on fresh concrete.
1 gallon of KLEAR primer can cover an area of up to 300 to 400 square feet. This primes and seals multiple surfaces like drywall, plaster, wood, aluminum, architectural plastics, and brick and also bonds to chalky surfaces with a little change in color.
It dries under 30 minutes and can be painted over or re-coated within an hour.
- Can be used on interior and exterior surfaces
- Alkali resistant and can be used on hot joint compounds, concrete, and stucco
- Can cover up to 400 square feet in 1-gallon
- Dries to touch in 30 minutes and can be re-coated or painted over in an hour
- Provides strong bonds to chalky surfaces
- May not deliver perfect finishes to considerably higher or lower temperatures
- Prone to change color when used for bonding chalky surfaces
9. Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec High Build Latex Primer
Ultra Spec Latex Primer from Benjamin Moore is one of the top contenders for the best primer for drywall spot today.
It is a high-quality premium product and can be used as a preparatory coat, which is essential to ensure smoother drywall finishes.
This product is very useful on joint lines and minor sanding grooves, but also provides a great quality finish on drywall and joint compounds.
Ultra Spec Latex Primer also works extremely well on surface imperfections like paper fuzz, uneven sanding, nicks, and pinholes.
It easily dries off and can be sanded off easily if needed. A topcoat can be applied on the same day after the coat of primer dries and can be painted over with latex or solvent-based paint.
It provides strong adhesion to all kinds of topcoats. Benjamin Moore primer is engineered with Gennex Color Technology and provides an absolutely smooth finish to drywalls.
- High-quality premium latex primer
- Provides exceptionally smooth finishes on multiple surfaces
- Can be used on minor impurities such as paper fuzz, uneven sanding, nicks, and pinholes
- Dries off quickly and easy to sand is required
- Adheres strongly to all kinds of topcoats
- May leave an odor after drying
- Comparatively pricey than other primers on the list
10. Valspar PVA Primer Review
The last on the list of primers for old drywall is Valspar PVA Primer. It is the first choice of a majority of professional painters.
But unlike many other primers on the list, this one is meant for internal use only. You can use it on multiple surfaces efficiently to seal unpainted porous surfaces and make them ready for a topcoat.
This primer also works great on bare drywall, previously painted walls, plaster, masonry, and wood. You can easily brush, roll, or spray it on the surface.
Valspar Primer provides smooth finishes for topcoats and paints that are latex or oil-based. One gallon of primer can cover up to 500 square feet of area.
- Highly recommended and preferred by professionals
- Applies to multiple surfaces seamlessly
- Can be used on bare and unpainted surfaces
- Can be easily brushed, rolled, or sprayed
- Cannot be used on exterior surfaces
- May leave an odor after drying
Best Drywall Primer Sealer Buying Guide
Under this heading, we have provided ample information for you so that you can pick a product yourself. Have a read-
How to Choose the Best Primer for New Drywall?
Choosing the right primer for your drywall is a hard task if you don’t know how to filter out substandard products. To give you more freedom choosing the most authentic drywall primer for your house, we have outlined the key features that you should consider checking in a product.
1. Stain Resistance
Anything related to your house decoration should come with perfect stain resistance. This feature alone can relieve you from a lot of unnecessary burdens. So, check for this feature before you decide to go further.
Stain-resistant drywall primers will ensure that the final color of the wall after painting remains consistent without any blemishes.
2. Moisture & Mold Resistance
Mold is an enemy to any type of interior surfaces. Especially when you are living in a moisture-prone area where the weather remains more humid than normal. In such weather conditions, you must go for a moisture and mold resistant primer for drywall to prevent mold and mildew from growing after a few months, if not weeks.
Moisture resistant primers are also great for using outside of the house as well as in the bathroom and kitchen. However, you can skip this feature if you are not living in a humid weather condition or intending to apply the primer in the kitchen or bathroom.
3. Adhesion to Surface
As the primary goal of the priming drywall is to have the surface strong enough to sand and paint it, the best drywall primer must come with high-quality adhesion. Cheap drywall primers can peel off after a few months that will eventually ruin the paint.
So, go for the stickiest primers that can durably sit on the surface without peeling off. As you know, many people call primer as ‘primer sealer’ that seals and prepares the surface for painting.
4. Odorless Primer
Nowadays, different manufacturers use different formulas to make the primer. When doing that, they use chemicals that can make a bad odor. A primer that produces bad odor even after drying out is not recommended as it is hard to work in such a smelly environment.
Almost all of the primers produce a smell when wet. So, check if the odor remains after drying out or not.
5. Size of the Primer
How much primer do you need is another question that you need to answer before buying it. Whether you need to prime a whole house or a small portion of it is a key thing to consider. Otherwise, you may end up spending hundreds of bucks in additional primer or getting a lower amount of primer than needed.
Most of the primer pack clearly indicates the area it can cover. So, calculate accordingly for a full-proof decision. However, we recommend getting 20% more than the manufacturers ask you to use. This is because you’ll waste some of the primers when applying it and some surfaces require more primer than usual. To make up those incidents, you need to get some spare packs.
6. Color of the Primer
Checking the primer and paint color is an important factor for getting the desired color after applying the paint. You should go with the one color primer where the manufacturer says that it will work well with any color. Other than that, you should go for a matched color options for perfect color on the wall.
Apart from matching, you can go for the best paint and primer in one option too. Those relieve you from additional painting works also.
7. All-purpose or Specialized
You’ll see two types of drywall primers in the market. One is all-purpose and the other type is for specific applications. Generally, all-purpose drywall primers are great for small works so that you can apply the same primer on different surfaces.
On the contrary, specific primers, i.e. primer for interior drywall or exterior is for a whole-house application so that you get the best outcome out of it.
How to Apply Primer on Drywall?
By following these easy steps, you can apply primer on your drywall surface. Make sure to follow the steps as well as guidelines provided in the product packaging carefully.
1. Gather the Essentials
For applying primer like a pro, you need to gather the necessary equipment first. Essential tools include a paintbrush, paint roller cage, and roller sleeve.
2. Inspection and Repair
After gathering the essential items, inspect the drywall surface for any defect. Check for any crack, loose joint or screw and nail holes. If you find any, patch the surface carefully with drywall spackle.
3. Clean the Surface
Now that you have a smooth surface to apply primer, clean the surface thoroughly. You should use a vacuum to remove any loose drywall dust from the surface. If you don’t have access to a vacuum cleaner, use a soft brush to remove dust from the surface.
4. Apply the Drywall Primer
Open the primer can and soak the roller in the can and apply. When applying with the paint roller, make sure to roll upwards and downwards for perfect application.
If you see any surface where the primer is not sticking with the roller, get a paintbrush to apply the primer in that area.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time does it take for drywall primer to dry?
It depends on different factors. But it takes around 30 minutes to 3 hours to fully dry out. You can see the product label for seeing how much time your primer will take.
What Is The Best Primer to Cover Drywall Imperfections?
Spackle and primer combination products are the best for covering drywall imperfections. If your drywall has significant imperfections in it like holes or cracks, you shouldn’t solely rely on the primer to patch the surface. Rather, use drywall tape and spackle for repairing big holes or cracks on the drywall surface.
Can You use Drywall Primer on Wood?
Yes, you can use drywall primers on wood surfaces as well. When used on wood, drying time can be a bit longer than usual. Don’t worry if you experience that. It is normal for drywall primers to dry out on different surfaces at a different pace.
Can I Spray Primer?
It depends on the consistency of the primer. If it is thick, you can’t spray it with a paint sprayer. On the other hand, a thin primer can be sprayed on the surface.
When applied on large surfaces, handymen use thinner to make the primer thin enough to spray perfectly. But for small household works, it is not recommended to make the primer thin unless the manufacturer expressly instructs you to do so.
Can You use Primer for Hiding Crack?
Yes, you can use primer for hiding minor cracks on drywall surfaces. But it is not recommended to use drywall primer for hiding cracks.
If you don’t have access to spackle or other patching compounds like drywall mud, then you can use the primer to compensate.
Where to Buy Drywall Primer?
Drywall primers are available both online and offline. You can check the nearest home improvement shop or check Amazon for picking up the right pack for you.
Since these are essential items for the drywall installation job, you should be able to locate them in the shop quite easily. If not, find an executive to assist you.
What is the difference between PVA primer and drywall primer?
PVA primer is a latex-based primer that is also used on drywall surfaces. So, PVA is a type of drywall primer that you can use on your wall.
One good thing about this type of primer is that the final coat of paint sits better on this type of primer for its stickiness.
Do you need a special primer for drywall?
For applying on drywall, get a product that is labeled as drywall primer. One primer can be used on several types of surfaces.
If the product is not for drywall, simply ignore that one and find one that can be used on drywall. Although some of the other primers can work well on drywall surfaces, some won’t. So, it is not wise to take risks when you have safer options available.
What kind of primer do you use on the joint compound?
You can use every type of primer on the joint compound. So, whether you have bought latex, or oil-based primer, or an all-purpose one, it should perfectly stick to dried joint compound. Joint compound is made for hiding the seams of the drywall. So, it is always used under the primer.
How many coats of primer should I use on new drywall?
Generally, one perfectly applied coat of primer should work on new drywall. If your product is thin or the surface is soaking the primer, additional one or two coats may be needed for perfection.
Is kilz a good primer for drywall?
Of course! In fact, the best product according to our research is one that is manufactured by KILZ. So, you can go with KILZ made primers without any hesitation.
Is kilz better than Zinsser?
This is a bit complicated question. As we have reviewed these two primers, you can see the review for a detailed answer. But for comparison purposes, it is an uneven comparison as two primers come with different pros and cons. They both have made mind-blowing products targeting specific categories. So, it is better to check the review than concluding the argument in a sentence.
What kind of primer should I use on the new Sheetrock?
You can use both oil-based and latex primer on new sheetrock. But ensure that the product is of high quality and durable.
Will primer hide drywall imperfections?
Drywall primer will hide minor drywall imperfections like hairline crack or a dent. But large holes and cracks need to be patched before applying primer.
What happens if you don’t prime drywall before painting?
Applying paint on bare drywall surface will cost you more. This is because the porous drywall surface will soak the paint and you’ll see the color is very light or sometimes, invisible after drying.
With a drywall primer installed, you will need a coat of paint. On the contrary, the bare drywall surface will take three to five coats of paint before it starts looking good.
Do I need to clean drywall dust before priming?
Yes. You should remove dust from the surface before priming. But the cleaning does not mean you should sand the drywall before priming. Simply, use a vacuum cleaner or a soft brush to remove any loose material from the surface.
How do you hide bad drywall seams?
Using proper drywall tape for cracks, you can easily hide damaged drywall seams. In case of a new drywall installation, we recommend checking all the joints carefully for any imperfections.
What is the best interior primer?
The best pick of this guide is what we recommend for your interior. Apart from that you can apply almost any good quality primer that is made for using on drywall. There is very slight or sometimes, no difference between interior and outdoor primers.
Two common differences are moisture and heat resistance that makes the product durable.
Will primer cover drywall tape?
No, unless you cover the tape with one or two coats of mud. Primer is not meant for hiding drywall tape rather, it is for preparing the surface to apply paint.
How long after priming drywall can I paint?
See the product label for exact timing. Most of the primers are ready to paint after 30 minutes to 3 hours of application. You can allow the surface an hour more to get rid of any moisture if stuck on the surface.
Do you need to sand after priming drywall?
Yes, you should sand the drywall after the primer dries out completely. Sanding makes the surface smooth and seamless making it great looking and resistant to dust. For sanding drywall, use an automatic drywall sander so that you can manage dust at its source.
Can I put water-based paint over oil-based primer?
Although you can do it, we don’t suggest to do so. The paint won’t stick to the surface properly and you’ll see the paint coming off the surface after a few weeks of application.
How long can you leave primer unpainted?
This is a debatable question but leaving primer unpainted for 30 days is safe according to most of the drywall experts. When some argue that primer can stay on the surface without deteriorating for months, we don’t recommend you to do so.
There are many primers and sealers available in the market. But only a few of them provide the finish and the smoothness that can be called perfect. Out of the 10 primers in the list, KILZ 2 All Purpose Multi-Surface Primer is what we highly recommend.
Being an extremely versatile primer for interior as well as exterior jobs, it efficiently provides smooth finishes and block stains. The thick consistency ensures a great finish in just one coat. It dries fast and can be painted over on the same day. All of these reasons make the KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Primer the best drywall primer on the list.