Produced by Trusted Studios for Kilz

How to Use Paint Primer to Tackle the Toughest Problems

From stink and stains to less-than-perfect walls KILZ® Brand has a solution.

Professional painters know that a quality primer can be a real problem-solver—the secret to a perfect finish even when the underlying surface is decidedly less than perfect. As an undercoat, primer prepares the surface, promotes paint adhesion and serves as a foundation that will make paint look better and last longer. The pros have been trusting KILZ brand primer products for more than 40 years, and since the introduction of the KILZ® Original stain-blocking formula, KILZ brand has introduced a number of primer products designed to address some of the toughest challenges a homeowner is likely to face.

tacojim/Getty Images

For Imperfections in DIY Drywall

A professional drywall installer can leave a finished wall perfectly smooth. But a pro has had a lot of practice. Any DIY drywall project is bound to have a few minor imperfections in the surface—those spots where you didn’t quite mud over the edge of the tape, where sanding has left minor ridges, or air bubbles in drywall mud have left tiny pockmarks.

For a smooth wall, KILZ 2® All-Purpose Interior | Exterior Primer will seal the paper surface of wallboard and the porous surface of drywall mud, ensuring a smooth topcoat appearance. To take it up a notch, consider applying KILZ 3® Premium Interior | Exterior Primer. It has a thick “high-hiding” formula designed to smooth over imperfections in your work, which the final paint would otherwise highlight. KILZ 3® Premium can also be used on a variety of other rough surfaces, from wood and paneling to masonry and plaster.

Patches in drywall, from a small hole filled with spackle to a more-extensive repair, also need to be sealed with primer before paint is applied to achieve a finish that matches the rest of the wall or ceiling surface. Because repairs might be difficult to finish smoothly, this is another great assignment for KILZ 3 Premium Interior | Exterior Primer; the one-quart size is perfect for smaller projects.

Pro Tip: Invest in high-quality wool-polyester blend rollers. Low-priced and disposable rollers can leave behind lint that feels like sand after the primer or paint dries. You can wash and reuse a quality roller dozens of times.

Dog on white fluffy carpet at home. Background with beagle dog in light colors. Sad beagle relax on carpet. Dog with big brown ears.alex_ugalek/Getty Images

For Offensive Odors

New homeowners are often faced with unwanted (smelly) reminders of previous pets or smokers who lived in the home. Pet odors can persist even after the affected carpet and pad are removed, if urine has soaked through to the wood subflooring. Rodent nests in back corners of a closet can cause a similar problem; odors can linger long after nests have been removed. If you face this type of problem, use KILZ Restoration™ Interior Primer. A water-based primer and sealer, KILZ Restoration is engineered to seal pet, food and smoke odors, including tobacco smoke, that have permeated walls and subflooring.

Woman sitting on floor, looking at yellow wallTuned_In/Getty Images

For Dramatic Color Change

Before you bought the house you had a “what were they thinking” moment when you encountered the banana-yellow wall in the back bedroom. Nothing a fresh coat of paint can’t fix, except it could take coat after coat of expensive interior latex paint to cover that yellow with the vibrant new color you love. Here’s the trick: Cover the paint with a coat of KILZ 2® All-Purpose Interior | Exterior Primer before applying the new paint. This fast-drying, water-based, pre-tinted primer hides the previous color, so you’ll need fewer topcoats to get a good result and an accurate color match to the paint sample you selected.

If you’re working in the other direction—covering a dark color with a new, lighter shade—KILZ 2® All-Purpose will hide the previous color and make it easier and faster to get great coverage with the fresh hue. The stain-blocking properties of KILZ 2 All-Purpose also can keep old crayon marks and light water stains from leaching through your new finish.

Girl drawing on wall with crayonsstockvisual/Getty Images

For the Art Project

Turning the rec room walls into a kid’s art project seemed like a great idea at the time—to the kids. Their inspiration left behind drawings in crayon, ink and felt marker, plus stains from modeling clay they tried to stick to the wall. Paint could fix it, but many of those marks and stains are likely to bleed through the new paint, no matter how many coats you apply.

Before painting, seal the stains with KILZ® Original Low Odor Interior Primer. It can be used on almost any interior surface, including plaster, drywall, wallpaper, masonry and wood, to cover the ink, pencil and felt marker “art” on walls, doors and trim. KILZ® Original will even cover sprayed-on graffiti and heavy water stains, as well as seal pet, food and smoke odors. It leaves behind a smooth surface that paint successfully adheres to for outstanding results with no bleed-through.

For expert advice on KILZ primer products and their application, see a paint retail professional. You can find a local KILZ dealer, painting tips and decorating ideas, and details on all KILZ primer products at