Go the Distance: Tips on Extending the Life of Your Paint Using KILZ® Primers

There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint — especially one that looks as good on day one as it does for months, and years, to come. What makes this possible? A proper priming job, using a high-quality product, like KILZ’s line of adhesion-promoting primers.

As a pro, your goal is to do it right, prevent call-backs, and encourage repeat business when the time is right. So, what sets a stellar paint job apart from an average one? Let’s take a closer look.

Do the Proper Prep

Doing all the necessary prep work has a great deal to do with the results. Virtually any type of debris on your walls can prevent proper paint adhesion, whether it’s dust, dirt, sand, powder, oil, grease, old paint or dried adhesive. So, you need to thoroughly clean any and all surfaces before you paint.

KILZ® primers — from KILZ® 2 All- Purpose Primer to its line of specialty primers — are made with high-quality binders, and they’re designed to adhere firmly to the surface and serve as an anchor for the topcoat to better bond to the surface. Helpful as they are, proper surface preparation is still key to the success of any priming and painting project. Sanding, cleaning and priming will ensure that the topcoat properly adheres to the surface, making it look its best and preventing problems, like premature wear and tear.

Contending with an exterior paint job? Pressure washing before painting is a chance to remove all dirt, debris and cobwebs before painting. It’s important to wash the house exterior so that the new coat has the best chance to bond with the surface. One of the advantages to using a pressure washer to clean your house before painting is its ability to reach places a regular garden hose or bucket can’t. By cleaning off all the gunk, the paint will go on smoothly, rather than roll over dirt.

It’s not just dirt, either. Often, houses have mildew on their siding. The only way to remove this mildew is washing it off with bleach. If painting the exterior siding, it is recommended to use a mold and mildew preventative primer to protect the primed surface from further mildew contamination before applying the topcoat paint.

Restoration PrimerCourtesy Kilz

Avoid Cutting Corners

Everyone makes mistakes — whether it’s through oversight or because an issue was not apparent until after the job was done.

Need to change the wall paint color from a dark or bold color to a lighter one? You may be tempted to skip the primer, but don’t. Using primer lends an extra sub-coat that helps hide the old color. Bypassing that step could result in the new color looking darker than expected. It could even show a shade of the old paint color from below.

To get the “truest,” or most accurate, color match for your topcoat paint, tinting the primer is recommended. Applying a small amount of the topcoat paint (or colorant) to the primer or having it tinted at the paint desk where you buy your paint will greatly enhance the topcoat’s ability to match the actual desired color, especially if you’re changing from a strong or dark color to a lighter one.

Here are some of the most common potential problems to avoid:

  • Lines are not straight due to a poor taping job or a lapse in freehand line-painting skills that day
  • Paint starts peeling off, whether due to an inter-coat adhesion failure (two types of coating not bonding to each other), moisture or lack of proper surface preparation
  • Skimping on prep work like cleaning, sanding, filling holes, caulking, wall repairs, taping off and — yes —applying primer before painting; can lead to big problems down the road such as a topcoat that simply does not look good or, worse yet, paint that peels or flakes

At the end of the day, shortcuts like these can cost more time and are more trouble to resolve versus doing the prep work right in the first place.

Painting on new, bare wood? It may be prone to tannin bleeding, in which case not applying primer to block and seal in the tannin may cause it to leach through the topcoat paint, ruining it and necessitating a do-over.

Wind's Breath Gr W06Courtesy Kilz

Benefits of Using KILZ Primer With a Good Topcoat

If applied correctly, using a high-quality primer like KILZ, coupled with proper surface preparation, likely means less maintenance will be required to achieve long-term performance. It will also help the topcoat paint perform best in terms of application, adhesion and color representation.

Applying a coat or two of a high-quality primer like KILZ goes a long way toward keeping the topcoat paint looking and performing its best as long as you follow the label’s instructions.

The topcoat paint does need a bit of attention to ensure it looks its best and lasts longer. Just clean it occasionally using a soft sponge and mild soapy water. To remove any stains or marks, a non-abrasive cleaning pad can be used with a solution of household bleach and water.

In the case of exterior paint, cleaning dirt off occasionally is also important. Scrub dirt off gently using a soft-bristled brush and a solution of detergent and water. Then, rinse it off.

Provided the topcoat is well-maintained, using KILZ primer help your paint job to go the distance. Just be sure to store KILZ primers in a cool, dry place away from high humidity, moisture or exposure to water and severe weather. Unopened, KILZ primers have a shelf life of approximately two years.

  • Jennifer Olvera