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Primer Worth the Price? Valspar, Behr, and Kilz Review

Primer Worth the Price? Valspar, Behr, and Kilz Review

by Jocie Hagan (email Jocie) | | September 20, 2011 | 84 Comments »

From articles like this Valspar, Duron, Behr, and Ralph Lauren Comparison, we’ve learned that many people have very strong opinions about paint and primer. Some folks boast years of great results while others express their total disappointment with the same product! So how do you make an informed decision? How can you differentiate between brand loyalty and user error? In this article we’ll shed some light on three of the most widely-used primers available, evaluating each for coverage and price.

The Test

We devised a simple test to evaluate the hiding ability of Behr, Kilz and Valspar primer by brushing a generous amount over a dark purple wall. Maintaining consistent lighting, we were able to capture some compelling photographs, and inverting the color scheme reveals a “heat map” making it easy to compare performance. Read on and decide for yourself which primer provided the best coverage.

Editors note: This post originally ran in June, 2008. Since that time we’ve received lots of comments, feedback and suggestions. In an effort to continue providing accurate information, we’ve purchased new primer samples to retest. We’ve also added a lot of pictures so you can see the results for yourself. Many of the comments may no longer be applicable after this update, but we’ve preserved them to incorporate reader insights.

Valspar Interior Primer

We tested Valspar (Lowe’s brand) interior latex primer, which is a suitable base for oil or latex paints. It’s marketed as one-coat coverage and is “ideal for drastic color changes.” We were pleasantly surprised to learn that the price for a gallon of primer has not increased in the last three years.

  • Price: $7.48 (quart), $17.98 (gallon) – a quart of this primer is the least expensive of those we tested.
  • Notes: Fair coverage; requires multiple coats to completely hide previous color; if you can apply two coats with 1 quart, this is the most cost effective primer.
  • Product Description & Specifications
  • Lowe’s Coupons

Behr Premium Plus Primer

Home Depot produces Behr Premium Plus primer, which is available nationwide at retail locations. Premium Plus primer is marketed for its ability to adhere to glossy surfaces and hide heavy stains. It’s important to note that nowhere in the product description or specifications does Home Depot state anything about one-coat coverage.

  • Price: $8.98 (quart), $18.96 (gallon)- Behr was the most expensive brand of primer we tested (quart and gallon).
  • Notes: For the extra cost, you’d expect superior coverage, but Behr primer performed very similarly to Valspar. We also found that globs of the primer would adhere to each other making it very difficult to achieve a smooth application.
  • Product Description & Specifications
  • Home Depot Coupons

Kilz Original Primer

Kilz oil-based primer features a newly styled look with the same great formula. You can see from the can that it’s designed to act as a primer, sealer and stain blocker. Oil-based products typically go on very smoothly but take longer to dry and have much stronger odor. Both of these are true of Kilz Original. Currently, Kilz is available at Home Depot and Lowe’s so you shouldn’t have a problem with availability.

  • Price: $7.98 (quart), $15.96 (gallon)- almost the cheapest option for a quart; cheapest gallon by over $2.00!
  • Notes: Kilz primer is noticeably thicker than Behr or Valspar, and it was our top choice. With only a small amount of color showing through, Kilz primer is the closest to providing one-coat coverage. Although it does not affect performance, you’ll notice that this primer appears more off-white than competitors products. Superior coverage combined with a cheaper price make Kilz the obvious winner.
  • Product Information | MSDS

Inverted Color Scheme

Comparing performance can be difficult with simple images, and we don’t want you to simply take our word for it. By inverting the color scheme, you can better differentiate between each sample and see which primer provided the thickest, most uniform coverage. It’s also important to know that the darker the inverted image, the brighter the sample meaning less of the previous color is showing through.


Valspar


Behr


Kilz

Get Ready

Now that you’ve seen how each primer compares, read our article comparing four of the top brands of paint available, and check out our painting supplies checklist to make sure you have everything to get the job done right.

Recycle and Paint Disposal

Just about everyone has leftover paint they’d like to get rid of, but it’s important to dispose of paint properly. Did you know that paint can even be recycled into new paint or a completely different product? Check out this great post detailing different solutions to disposing of old paint.

Note: Valspar products are available at Lowes and if this is your prefered brand of paint and/or primer, you should grab our Lowe’s Coupon before making the purchase. It’s always nice to save money and that coupon is good for 10% off any in-store purchase. Happy painting!

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Conversation on This Article

84 Responses to Primer Worth the Price? Valspar, Behr, and Kilz Review

  • Todd responds...
    June 19th, 2008 7:39 am

    I’m really surprised that Behr covered the best. My past experiences wit Behr have been bad to say the least. I think one thing that may be an issue is which primer seals the best and creates the best base for accepting the top finish coat. Unfortunately you can’t really compare that visually.

    Nice post…..I’m still shocked at the results…..

    [Reply]

    P Reply:

    Behr diidn’t cover the best Kilz did. where do you see that behr won out?

    “Price: $7.98 (quart), $15.96 (gallon)- almost the cheapest option for a quart; cheapest gallon by over $2.00!

    Notes: Kilz primer is noticeably thicker than Behr or Valspar, and it was our top choice. With only a small amount of color showing through, Kilz primer is the closest to providing one-coat coverage. Although it does not affect performance, you’ll notice that this primer appears more off-white than competitors products. Superior coverage combined with a cheaper price make KILZ THE OBVIOUS WINNER.”

    [Reply]

  • Kristy responds...
    June 19th, 2008 8:54 am

    While I haven’t used Behr primer, I love Behr paint and believe it is far superior to the higher priced brands.

    In regards to KILZ, I’ve seen the magic it has worked on one of my own catastrophic rooms. I had to cover up neon blue and sponge-painted green walls. After 2 coats of Kilz, it was amazing the difference.

    [Reply]

  • Nicole responds...
    June 19th, 2008 8:55 am

    Surprised to hear that, Todd. Have had good experiences with Behr stain over the past decade and with their paint over the last 5-6 years. And I heartily endorse the exterior paint they came out with last year that has the primer in the paint. Used it to paint my whole house. While I did have to do two coats (dark colors are SO unforgiving) we had a harsh winter, a supersoaking spring, and the color looks like I just painted it. So, I have high hopes.

    [Reply]

  • Todd responds...
    June 19th, 2008 9:00 am

    We build six to ten houses a year plus at least one big commercial project and each time we’ve used Behr it’s been problematic. When we use Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore…..everyone compliments the paint instead of complaining. I guess I just see it from picky customers every day and complaints stick in my mind forever.

    [Reply]

  • Tish responds...
    June 19th, 2008 10:47 am

    While I have not used the Behr primer, I am a big fan of Kilz. Most of my use of pimer is to prime (bare wood, plaster, drywall) or to seal stains (moisture, wood sap, etc.) This is very different than covering up paint. Of course it is much harder to prove in a quick side-by-side demo. The Kilz oil based is pretty smelly (though not so much as it was years ago) but the results are amazing.

    BTW – when I have used primer to cover paint, I get it tinted to move towards the final wall color. Also, you can ask the paint store to shake up any can of paint, even if you don’t get it tinted. This is good for primer that may have sat on the shelf for a while.

    [Reply]

  • Robin responds...
    June 19th, 2008 2:20 pm

    Thanks for posting this we need to do some painting this summer. I’ve always heard Kilz was the best so I was also surprised by the results.

    Also, I had a quick question. We’re trying to cover up some small stains on white walls. Do we need to use primer on the entire room so it looks even or just the walls with stains? I’m guessing we have to do the entire room but I’d love to only have to do a wall or two.

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    June 19th, 2008 10:36 pm

    Robin – Our experience here is that you can just do the wall. If there is a difference over the primer it will likely be minimal as long as you are painting similar colors. You wouldn’t want to do just a small part of the wall, though, as it is possible that you would be able to see the difference in that area.

    [Reply]

  • alan herrell responds...
    June 20th, 2008 9:36 am

    For new work Behr is the stuff, especially if you are using Behr finish paints. In terms of coverage, behr is a heavier bodied paint and does lay down a thicker coat.

    Kilz is the product if you are painting over marker,especially ‘magic marker’ or ‘sharpie’ ink, or smoke damage, either fire or bad habit.

    The distinction between the two is that Kilz is a sealer primer, and behr is a primer.

    I would not recommend valspar for any reason. As you mentioned it requires multiple coats, by virtue of being a much thinner bodied paint, both in primer and cover styles.

    P.S. I hope your samples used dry erase marker or you will need Kilz to cover:)

    [Reply]

    meh Reply:

    Zinzer is 10x the primer of Kilz

    [Reply]

  • Jennifer responds...
    June 20th, 2008 5:58 pm

    I’m currently using a can of Valspar primer… it is VERY nice. OF course, my can cost me $4 at Habitat, so it’s worth the money for ME…

    [Reply]

  • randy responds...
    June 21st, 2008 9:35 am

    Kilz works great. But I usually use Kilz 2 (latex). It covers stains and unwanted colors very well. With the additional benefit of cleaning up with water. And has almost no smell.

    [Reply]

  • Jocie responds...
    June 24th, 2008 3:33 pm

    Hi all! Thanks so much for your thoughts and experiences. Sorry for not responding, I was lost in a cyber black whole while on vacation. :)

    Tish – Great idea with tinting the primer. I have heard others with good experiences with this. I with I had known this when I originally painted the walls red! In this case, I chose not to tint the primer since the bottom was going to be white.

    Alan – I used Sharpies to write on the primer and used KILZ over top. Interesting though, I wish I had thought to compare KILZ, Behr, abnd Valspar in covering the marker as well. Maybe next time…

    -Jocie

    [Reply]

  • Dmitriy responds...
    June 28th, 2008 10:35 pm

    Using Valspar to cover a neon blue wall right now. Third coat – still can see through somewhat. It is very nice and smooth, even coverage, but you are right – several coats is not worth the time

    [Reply]

  • Ethan responds...
    June 29th, 2008 8:48 am

    @Dmitriy, Thanks for the info. It’s always great when other people can share their own paint experiences. Good luck with the neon blue!

    [Reply]

  • Andrew responds...
    August 28th, 2008 5:05 pm

    Try the Valspar High Hiding primer instead as that is the one specifically designed for a high hiding ability. One coat, never had a problem. As far as I’m concerned you cannot compare the Kilz with the other two unless you used a water base as the oil bases are better hiding primers/sealers. I’ve had more issues with Behr Paints than either Valspar, Ben Moore, or Sherwin Williams.

    [Reply]

  • KJ responds...
    September 12th, 2008 12:56 am

    Would anyone recommend any of these products for painting over a cheap wood-like desk (think IKEA or office store)? I’d like to get away from the blond wood color, but think that just painting it won’t work. Need to prime first. Thoughts?

    [Reply]

  • Fred responds...
    September 12th, 2008 9:23 am

    KJ-You’ll definitely need to prime first… and you’ll probably want to lightly sand the surface since ikea furniture will already be varnished. disassemble as much as you can, lightly sand, prime, then paint.

    [Reply]

  • TJ responds...
    October 9th, 2008 9:29 pm

    I want to paint over cheap laminate paneling by doing some faux painting with Valspar interior acrylic granite paint. This product has texture in it. I had purchased Kilz primer but am not sure whether that will actually work adequately. Can anybody give me some guidance as to how to get this project accomplished? Is painting over this stuff even an option?

    [Reply]

  • Jocie responds...
    October 9th, 2008 10:05 pm

    Hey TJ, If you are going to paint over laminate you need to first lightly sand, or the paint and primer won’t stick. You may want to try KILZ Premium (rather than original or general purpose), since it claims to also adhere to glossy surfaces. Good luck and let us know what works!

    [Reply]

  • [...] 2. Prime each letter using your favorite primer. See my previous post on which primers work best. [...]

  • Rick responds...
    February 1st, 2009 2:22 am

    I have a new home with drywall ready to paint. It has a hock and trowl textured finish. I need to prime it and was told I should go with the Kilz latex vs other types of primer and give it two coats. Do you think it would need two coats of the primer. Seems like a lot for something that doesn’t really have color yet. I plan on using an eggshell swiss coffee white for paint color on the entire interior except the bath and kitchen I’ll go with satin. Anyone have any comments or suggestions on this project? I am doing it myself and have professional sprayer. Do you know how long the primer takes to dry before applying the paint to it?

    [Reply]

  • Tom from PA responds...
    February 9th, 2009 3:52 pm

    I’m in the process of priming my entire new addition. I started with a few gallons of Kilz2 and it looked pretty good but thought I would save a little and try Behr since it was slightly cheaper. It wasn’t worth it. With the Kilz2, I could stop with one coat and put my top coat on and be finished, but with Behr, I need to put another coat on just to try get it covered. There is more to paint than if it can just cover a darker color the way Jocie did her comparison. One thing I struggled with in Behr was trying to cut in the corners. I can really see a difference between the edges and the wall and if I didn’t go back right away to fix it, I have to now sand it. Kilz2 blended much nicer. Lastly, I’m not a big fan of paint odor, not sure anyone is, but be prepared to open all the windows with Behr. I didn’t have that problem with Kilz2. I’m going back to Kilz2.

    [Reply]

  • Tom from PA responds...
    February 16th, 2009 1:46 pm

    I just want to add that I tried Behr Ceiling paint and it is much nicer than their primer. I bought 10 gallons to do all my ceilings, the first area looks very nice.

    [Reply]

  • Arel responds...
    February 17th, 2009 3:08 am

    I am a GC and I used Behr for many years. I used to stand by it but it has become nothing but a line of problems. I have had more complaints using Behr paints, primers and stains than I have with any other issues combined in the last 3 years and it has only gotten worse. And to make matters worse, whenever there has been a failure with any of their products, they have never once made good on a warranty. There is the usually response, “we feel the directions were not followed”, funny how that has never happened with any other brands or any other products for that matter. I would avoid Behr, unless you are forced to use it, and then you had better get a waiver to make sure it doesn’t come back on you!

    [Reply]

  • Faux finish designs responds...
    March 3rd, 2009 8:54 pm

    Kilz does do a good job of hiding things on a diy homeowner’s wall in preparation of painting.

    [Reply]

  • Terry responds...
    March 4th, 2009 5:00 pm

    I’m buying what I call a “Crayola-Condo” and want to make sure that Kilz 2 Latex Primer is what I need to use. I call it that because whoever lived there must have lost their mind when chosing colors…Orange-Yellow-Green-Dark Brown! Thank god they left the ceiling’s white. I’m going with either an off white or a very light tan throughout the entire unit. Should I expect to apply 2 coats of primer? Can the Kilz 2 be tinted towards the finish top coat? I’d hate to have to paint the entire place 3 times to achieve the final color…unless I have to.

    [Reply]

  • Carol responds...
    March 14th, 2009 1:12 am

    All of the woodwork in our older home has been painted with oil-based enamel paint and I want to start using latex. What should I use…..Kilz or Behr primer? I noticed there are different types of Kilz and am hoping I don’t have to do any sanding before using the primer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    [Reply]

  • SUSAN responds...
    April 18th, 2009 3:23 pm

    I HEARD THAT IF YOU USE KILZ PRIMER YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WASH YOUR WALL iS THAT TRUE?????

    [Reply]

  • Carole responds...
    May 18th, 2009 3:42 pm

    I am currently repainting drywall that all the paint peeled off of,this was a builder problem for not selecting a proper drywall primer. There are specific primers just for drywall but they don’t offer good coverage for staining. I have staining from permanent and sharpie type markers that seeped down into the drywall.
    One product going through this abused house that I have been pleased with has been Kiltz 2,another primer that I love but was not on sale at the time is the Zinsser Gripper.
    In case you are wondering the primer I am using for the drywall is a PVA primer by Glidden it stinks to high heaven ,however, it equalizes the walls two bases (drywall and mud) each suck up the paint differently which can be noticeable with any non-flat paint.
    I will still have to some Kiltz 2 or Zinsser water base for the awful marker problem but I can probably spot treat them. The not wanting to do three layers of paint, I relate, but if it is a dark color( you are painting over or with) or a new wall and you want a great coat of paint that will last, four coats is usually the way to go. That is two primer and two of your chosen color-especially with non-flat paints as any acidental backrolling of a second coat of paint color will show a sheen variation.

    [Reply]

  • Valerie responds...
    May 21st, 2009 2:34 pm

    Is there any certain primer that is good over wallpaper? We purchased a used mobile home in Florida. The walls are individual panels that are covered in what seems to be wallpaper that cannot be removed. The panels are put up and then a matching wallpapered strip runs from ceiling to floor to cover the seams. The patterns of the mobile home were picked out by an elderly lady. We want to prime the walls and paint a seashore light blue. Looking for the best primer and paint. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

  • Shirley responds...
    May 25th, 2009 8:33 pm

    How much Kiltz primer should be on the roller

    [Reply]

  • Walt responds...
    May 28th, 2009 1:06 pm

    I live in Florida and have home with a garage. When the car is parked and the garage door is closed after a rainstorm, the humidity and dampness has caused the ceiling popcorn and drywall tapes to loosen and fall off. I am having the popcorn removed and the ceiling repaired and coated with ‘orange peel’. I want a good water resistant finish using latex paint, if possible. If I prime with Kilz2 or with Behr Primer and then put a finish coat of Behr Premium Satin white, will that combination provide effective dampness resistance? Do I need to use Kilz oil based primer and then the Behr Prmium Satin? All coats will be white.

    [Reply]

  • Chakka1 responds...
    June 8th, 2009 7:21 am

    I can’t beleive those results. I just got done painting some walls in a house and used both Behr and Kilz. With Behr had to cover blue room used a primer and paint and had to use two coats of paint. With kilz on another room, an unforgiving loud purple, i just used the casual colors one coat and no primer and only had to use Kilz paint one coat and it did an excellent job some areas of the wall required another coat. Kilz is superior in my book. Low smell and great coverage and it washes nicely. I’m sold on Kilz paint from now on.

    [Reply]

  • Jen Manzo responds...
    July 1st, 2009 6:25 pm

    I have never seen such lousy paint primer as the Valspar that I am packing up the take back to Lowes. I should have listened to my head and past experiences than listen to that loser who was pushing the Valspar Primer. I doesn’t even stick to the paper around the can. If your taking the time to prime before you paint, I would you a good sealer/primer like Kilz…you won’t go wrong.

    [Reply]

  • Bob Gromski responds...
    July 12th, 2009 4:26 pm

    “for those of us with texture/sensory issues, this was a little gross”

    Jeez…grow up little girl!

    [Reply]

  • Jamie Skeeters responds...
    July 14th, 2009 6:35 pm

    I have a question, I just used kilz to seal my basement which I just cleaned mold from. I have applied several layers (to some areas) to cover water stains that keep coming thru. Is this normal and also does this mean the chances of future water damage is high?

    [Reply]

  • Cyndy Bellavita responds...
    July 16th, 2009 3:14 pm

    I was going to buy Kilz to cover wallpaper before painting. I have Behr primer and sealer, would this work as well? One of the walpaper walls have a slight texture, any recomendations? thank you

    [Reply]

    Sheila Reply:

    Cyndy,
    I am currently using Kilz (original) to cover wallpaper in our travel trailer. It is awesome. In the bathroom the wallpaper is a dark floral print and it did take two coats. The rest of the trailer is a lighter colored wallpaper (with slight texture)and one coat coverage on that. It was the only paint/primer I saw that would cover wallpaper. Good Luck

    [Reply]

  • Irene responds...
    September 21st, 2009 11:23 am

    Hello, Will KILZ PRIMER COVER MOLD and stop it? Less than 1 year ago I had the exterior of house painted. Now I am seeing some RED spots under 2 soffits located under the gutter. Each NEW soffit is in a different area of the house. I don’t know if the painters used a primer first as they should have and then applied 2 coats of paint or if the wood was already moldy and they just painted over it. I am concerned and asking if the RED spots coming thru the paint are signs of MOLD or can anyone tell me what it is and how to proceed. IF it is mold, would KILZ PRIMER cover it (plus 2 more coats of paint) and essentially STOP the mold coming thru or should the wood just be removed (and be a bigger project)?

    [Reply]

  • Susan responds...
    September 22nd, 2009 7:59 pm

    Help please. I need to paint the walls of a mobile home which look like wallpaper, but are actually dark brown flowered pattern panels. I’ve been told to use Kilz primer, but I’m not sure that’s my best choice. Is there a 1 coat primer which is sure to block the dark pattern before painting a sage green? Thank you! Susan in Folsom, Ca.

    [Reply]

  • Susan responds...
    September 23rd, 2009 9:54 am

    I am so in love with the results I get rom Kilz. My house was smoked in 15 years before I bought it. I have been using it in every room. I usually need one coat sometimes two. But I’ll tell you I am not sure why people are saying it smell is not so bad. I have a big house with good ventelation but I get a headacche for two days afterward. My last room to paint now is my bedroom I keep procrastinating because of the headache. Any ideas? Am I just to sensitive for this primer?.
    In the end the primer has been worth the headache.

    [Reply]

  • Heather responds...
    September 24th, 2009 1:22 pm

    To answer Jaimie Skeeters question. When you are sealing water based stains you need to use oil-base sealer. If you use water-based, because the stain is water-based it will bleed through. Same goes for oil-based stains, you need to use water-based sealer.

    [Reply]

  • Stephanie responds...
    November 21st, 2009 7:45 pm

    I love Kilz! You can’t go wrong with it. I bought a house where the previous owner hadn’t cleaned in years and was a smoker. Even though I cleaned the walls first there was still tons of staining. I painted everything with oil based Kilz (this is the stinky version) because of the nicotine, wallpaper residue (removed wallpaper in one room) and the likely hood of oil based paints on the walls (house is a 1948). You would never guy a smoker ever lived in my house. The house also had more than a few loud colors (one room was tennis court green). I also used Kilz2 (water based) to go from red/black to light green/white and it required one coat. I work in the construction industry and there isn’t single contractor I talked to who would use any primer except Kilz.

    For those who don’t know if you will be painting over anything with an oil based finish you will need to use oil based primar to switch to a water based finish such as latex paint.

    [Reply]

  • Brad responds...
    November 24th, 2009 11:28 am

    I’m a painting contractor. I never use latex primers. They don’t cover most stains. Oil-based is THE only way to go. For a dark wall /color change a homeowner might use latex primer. I just use a fat roller nap and two coats of paint. Sherwin Williams promar 200. Thick and clumpy? And a few tablespoons of water and stir. Use a 3/4 purdy nap.I use a 5 gal. Bucket, screen, pole and just dump 80% in the bucket and use the can for my brush.in my opinion latex primer just suck unless it’s new sheetrock.red spots outside under the eves?? It’s tannin bleed. Oilbased primer or shellac it. They used latex primer or none at all.

    [Reply]

  • mab responds...
    December 2nd, 2009 7:03 am

    Hi, folks. I’m in Moscow, figuring out how to paint some IKEA furniture. One site tells me to scuff-sand the wood, use a primer like KILZ, then paint as I wish. So far I haven’t found KILZ here. Could you tell me what ingredients I should look for? We have lots of European products, like Alpina, which is apparently an alkyl primer. Is that the same thing?
    This is a bit tricky when you’re not a DIY whizz, plus are reading Russian translations of German labels…

    [Reply]

  • sf responds...
    December 31st, 2009 9:28 pm

    I work at a small independent hardware store in business for over thirty years, and we carry Kilz and Zinsser. Two bits of advice for several of the questions I’ve seen here:

    1. For covering water stains with a water-based primer, the Zinsser is probably the only one that will do it. Zinsser is in the Rustoleum family, and is in my mind the best primer on the market. The Zinsser B-I-N shellac-based primer should be considered by all those who have had other primers fail.

    2. On IKEA/plastic/laminate shelving/tile/glass: there are few primers which will adhere to these surfaces. For IKEA furniture or laminate shelving or plastic, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to at least lightly scuff the surface. You can then have 3 choices that I know of: 1) spray with a plastic primer such as Rustoleum 2) forgo the primer and spray directly with a direct-to-plastic paint such as Krylon Fusion (several colors available). 3) once again, the Zinsser primer. Both the B-I-N shellac-based and the Bull’s Eye 1-2-3 water-based primer will adhere to plastics including PVC and laminates, tile, and even glass.

    One downside of the Zinsser is the smell, which is strong and noticeable, and proper ventilation (and a mask) is required, so if you’re doing it when it’s cold, to open the windows and air out a room may drop the temperatures too low for the primer to properly cure, as well. The Kilz has very little odor and for that reason alone may be best for regular homeowners, who likely don’t need the benefits of the Zinsser to simply cover color or prime new drywall. But if even the Kilz fails you, go to Zinsser. The other two don’t even deserve having their names mentioned here.

    [Reply]

  • Mac responds...
    February 21st, 2010 6:45 pm

    I know it’s an old thread, however for what it’s worth I just used the Lowes Valspar multi-purpose primer (~$20) and was not very happy with the results. I chose the multi-purpose over the cheaper high coverage formula (~$15) thinking that it was the better way to go. I don’t have the room dimensions available, however it is a relatively small childrens room in a typical northeast raised ranch style house. We removed a wall paper border that ran the middle of the room that presented some surprising paint colorings underneath that needed to be primed over. It took the entire gallon ~ apprx 2.5 coats to get the room in relatively decent shape to paint. I will not be using Valspar for the final coat – I am looking at Sherwin Williams. My sons room is the next project, I will try the SW primaer and post my findings.

    Am I alone on this – should I expect to put more than one coat for relatively clean walls (no bright red/blue/etc)??

    [Reply]

  • mab responds...
    February 22nd, 2010 3:53 am

    Thanks. In the end I used an alkyd primer (European firm called Alpina). Scuffed up the surface, put down two coats. Then painted with a water-based paint , antiqued the surface and covered with a water-based varnish. It turned out really well.

    [Reply]

  • Sam B. responds...
    March 2nd, 2010 11:02 am

    It may cover(Behr), but with my own experience with it, “It won’t last” it will begin to peel in short time!!!!!

    [Reply]

  • jan responds...
    March 5th, 2010 2:20 pm

    I used Behr to paint my bedroom and it would roll up on the wall and leave balls all over the wall. It was awful. It also dried so fast it wouldn’t spread. Never again.

    [Reply]

  • lois responds...
    April 10th, 2010 7:11 pm

    I want to cover up soot that is on my walls, and plan on using behr paint plus primer. I plan on painting them a very light purple is this a good thing to use?

    [Reply]

  • Marlene responds...
    May 12th, 2010 11:37 am

    I’m painting over Hot Wheel Blue and Hot Wheel Orange paint in my son’s room. I need to know which primer to use, that won’t take more than two coats to cover up this paint. I will be repainting the walls a lite pink and purple for my grand-daughter.

    Thank you for your suggestions.

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  • Gary responds...
    May 20th, 2010 8:36 pm

    You should never ever need more than one coat of primer or primer/sealer. Reconsider the branding some products have. Talk to a pro at your local independent paint store. Get the primer tinted. Put on one coat and move on.

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  • Dean responds...
    June 16th, 2010 4:37 pm

    I’m very surprised by the Behr results. I’ve never had Behr perform well; and as such, stopped buying years ago. I would never recommend it!

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  • Kay Robertson responds...
    June 20th, 2010 9:26 am

    I purchased a home and the previous owners painted the deck with Behr paint. They put on a uneven coat or two on. Within a year and there are many spots especially where you walk bare wood is showing. I tried paint stripper and power washer but had ok luck but alot of the white paint did not come off .
    So I am just going to redo it white. Is the a good primer I could put down and then put a solid stain on top? I heard Cabot was good solid stain. Any other ideas?

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  • Mandye responds...
    July 21st, 2010 4:18 pm

    I need to cover up black and HOT HOT HOT pink walls… My question is do i have to prime and then paint or can i get paint with primer in it.. I just want the walls to be back to white. Maybe not a bright white but a small bit of off white… HELP…

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  • Steve responds...
    September 9th, 2010 8:11 am

    I can’t have the wallpaper removed from my bathroom, so I’m looking for a primer or paint that will cover it, what do you recomend?

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  • Doug responds...
    September 13th, 2010 9:31 pm

    Is there a problem using an oil base paint over a latex Kilz primer, applied to a stained wood?

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  • Jack Pauhl responds...
    December 22nd, 2010 1:58 am

    Thank you for this short primer review. The BEHR results are not surprising, the Kilz review was. I never applied Kilz over a red like that before. We know even the smallest reviews take considerable time to produce. Glad you chose to apply white untinted primer over such a bold red.

    Jack Pauhl

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  • Leldon Lockart responds...
    January 31st, 2011 12:26 pm

    Used the VAlspar with primer this weekend. Worst painting experience I have ever had. Poor coverage “EXTREMELY” runny . I will never buy this crap again.

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  • Bonita responds...
    March 30th, 2011 11:31 am

    Hey Jocie, I am going to repaint my red walls next weekend and was just wondering which kind of Behr Primer you bought? Was it oil based or water based?

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  • Rohan responds...
    May 17th, 2011 9:58 pm

    Totally agree with Leldon Lockart about Valspar with primer. never again.

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  • Mary Ann Weberg responds...
    August 15th, 2011 10:17 pm

    I have just had two bad expierences with Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer. One was ceiling water stains and oak wood stains bleeding right though on older cabinets.. Even through the second coat. I am going back to my Kilz 2.

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    Naomi Reply:

    You need to use an oil or shellac base primer. NO water base will work.

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  • paintergal responds...
    September 20th, 2011 8:46 am

    I really wish Wal-Mart hadn’t stopped carrying Kilz. It was my favorite paint for the price.

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    Naomi Reply:

    Kilz Pro is now at Home Depot

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    Sheila Reply:

    I was just at walmart and they do carry it here in Nevada, but I found it cheaper at Home Depot.

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  • MissFixIt responds...
    September 20th, 2011 11:01 am

    Looks like I will be picking up Kilz to fix this aqua blue bedroom here.

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  • jeff_williams responds...
    September 21st, 2011 3:43 pm

    Is oil based even available in the big box anymore? They were 3 years ago but I’m not sure about now. I know my local Ace only carries latex.

    I used 35 gallons of Kilz back in 2006 to cover up 30 years of smoking by the previous owners. Worked great.

    I can second Gary’s comment from above, one coat of primer in most cases except when trying to seal a stain. Sometimes it takes two. The goal of the primer isn’t to completely cover the previous color.

    “Gary responds…
    May 20th, 2010 8:36 pm
    You should never ever need more than one coat of primer or primer/sealer. Reconsider the branding some products have. Talk to a pro at your local independent paint store. Get the primer tinted. Put on one coat and move on.”

    [Reply]

  • Eek565 responds...
    September 30th, 2011 10:19 pm

    I’ve used the Kilz oil based primer to go over spots of the wall that were spackled and I had issues with the drywall mud forming little balls in the paint such that it had to be sanded once dried. I do like how it covers though so I’ve been using the spray cans wherever possible. Make sure to open some windows if you use the spray cans!

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  • john harrington responds...
    October 2nd, 2011 1:02 pm

    does everybody know that killz is a behr product?

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  • Naomi responds...
    October 6th, 2011 4:28 pm

    Kilz is not a Behr product… They are both products of MasterChem. Formulas are very similar however. I have used just about every brand of paint and primer over the years. I must admit that price to results Bin 123 is the best and Behr paint is the best as far as coverage and durability. Valspar gives you close results with the flat, flat enamel and eggshell finishes. However if you want a durable satin or semi gloss Behr is a must. Valspar gives you the “look” of a satin but when you touch it or try to wash it, it is more like a flat paint. My ultimate favorite is Behr Flat Enamel. It gives you the elegant look of a flat paint but will hold up to scrubbing and the high moisture of bathrooms.

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  • Naomi responds...
    October 6th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Just to add… Kilz and Zinzer both make product for just about every situation. It’s best to know what you need for each situation. As far as waterbase vs oil vs shellac.

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  • JustME responds...
    October 18th, 2011 1:32 pm

    I’m with Paintergal. I too like Kilz paint and primer. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever used any primer but Kilz. We have use Behr and Valspar paints and have been very happy with them both too.

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  • Scott responds...
    December 10th, 2011 11:25 pm

    I have had very poor luck with Behr paints. Even using their primer, I’ve had the top-coat tear during the application. The result is a wall that has very tiny pinholes with no top-coat. So I apply another coat and OK. I prefer Zinnser primer. It’s very thin and levels out nicely and doesn’t dry so fast like Kilz does. For the top-coat, I like the Valspar top-of-the-line paints that Lowe’s sells. Run from Behr in my opinion as it’s a Bear to apply.

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  • Mark responds...
    February 19th, 2012 12:29 pm

    We removed wallpaper from drywall. Do we need a separate primer or will one of the “primer and paint in one” products work? Thanks!

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  • Naomi responds...
    February 19th, 2012 8:04 pm

    You need an oil based primer first. I suggest kilz orderless. However you must be prepared to paint the same day! Otherwise you’ll have to reprime

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  • Graeme responds...
    March 1st, 2012 1:13 am

    I have painted a number of houses over the year, and used several brands of “premium” paint. Without question in my experience 1) Zinsser Cover Stain or Bullseye 1-2-3 (water-base) are the best primers. Kilz also is good. But if you have something nasty like tobacco stains, use the Zinsser. For paint, I will always use Benjamin Moore–best coverage ever. It costs more, but it goes on the easiest (by far), and you use a lot less. Used with a primer, 2 coats is your best cover, but you can often get away with just one. I switched to another paint once in a weak moment, and regretted it. Never again–what a PITA the other brand was! Zinsser and Benjamin Moore, hands down.

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  • katieQ responds...
    October 6th, 2012 12:26 am

    I’ve never used any of the Valspar products. After reading your review, I won’t be tempted to try it. I’ve been successful with Kilz primer and will stick with it.

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  • Ron L. responds...
    October 9th, 2012 7:09 pm

    I just finished a major water damaged condo. Flat deck above leaked. Hard acoustic / plaster that i finished smooth. All the water stains have virtualy disappeared as this damage happened years ago so water stains are old and dried. Am i safe to prime with stain blocker water based paint, or use the kilz and bite the bullet, condo is empty?

    I hate breathing the oil fumes. Also there is glue residue on some walls with wallper i removed and some glue was just stubborn and i should have used steam. I did however 100% putted coated over those areas with fast drying mud / do i need to oil those also?

    thanks Ron

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  • Ron L. responds...
    October 9th, 2012 7:18 pm

    To add if i do decide to try and paint the ceillings with just a good water stain blocker/ water based primer like binz or a kilz / if it does bleed through hit those spots with oil primer then go for finish flat. I have alot of drywall mudd over these problem areas is why the stains are so hard to see…slight rust stains.

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  • Margaux responds...
    July 22nd, 2013 4:49 pm

    Did anyone realize you were comparing a latex based with a 100% acrylic based with an oil based? Of course the oil based primer won! Lol might want to do a little deeper research next time!

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  • Stacy responds...
    September 5th, 2013 11:46 pm

    Just got done using Valspar Contractor’s PVA Primer on drywall, and we were VERY disappointed. Sprayed with a Graco Magnum sprayer and what a freaking MESS!!! 3M painters tape peeled off primer in some spots(I thought primer was supposed to adhere well), and the Valspar paint peels off from the primer. Was trying to save some $$$ and got what I paid for. Have used Zinser 123 in the past with great results. Kilz is awesome too. As far as Valspar products, I’m done.

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