Valspar One Coat Primer Review

March 17, 2008 | by Ethan (email) |

We recently decided to give several old pieces of furniture a new matching look by repainting them. We selected Valspar Interior High Hiding Primer from Lowes because it claims superior coverage over dark colors and we had not tried this primer before. This brief article summarizes our experience using this product on this furniture and its results.

Valspar One Coat Primer Trial

We have two pieces of hunter green furniture. One dresser and one end table. Both are typical size. We would like to paint both of these pieces white when we’re finished with the job. Valspar High Hiding Primer claims that it will cover dramatic paint colors and dry fast (straight from the website).

Our Simple Test

Following the manufacturers recommendations, we started with a quick sanding to remove any hidden finishing layers on the furniture and to make sure all dirt and dust were removed. This process helps prepare wood for a new coat of paint. We cleaned up the sanding with a dry paper towel.

Tip: Make sure to clean up all surfaces if you sand before painting, as painting where saw dust is present will cause the dust to mix with the paint, reducing the effectiveness of the primer and often leaving streaks.

We then applied the primer with a standard mid-range paint brush and small roller combination, just like we expect any homeowner would.

The Results

One coat primer didn’t hold up to its name. The primer quickly soaked into the wood and dried. But a light green tinge and wood grain could be seen throughout, as shown in the picture below (apologies for the low-res, we did not have the camera set properly for this shot).

It took another full application before we were confident that no green would bleed through in a final top coat of paint (again, apologies for the low-res photo below). We were hoping for a single coverage primer. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t look to be it.

Valspar Responds: (Updated March 15, 2008): After reading this article, a customer service representative from Valspar contacted us to discuss the product’s performance. In general, the representative stood by Valspar’s product. He’s said he’s used his competitors’ products and believes Valspar’s primer is superior. However, he did apologize for the lack of performance and offered a few suggestions for getting better results in the future. In the end, he let us know that we could return the unused primer for a full refund at the store where we purchased it. If the store wouldn’t honor the return, Valspar would refund our money directly.

If you’re considering Valspar paint, that means you’ll be shopping at Lowes. See our Lowes Coupon article for instructions on how to get a 10% off coupon for Lowes.

13 Responses
  1. Kelli says:

    I’ve always been happy with Kilz. I’ve used it on very dark wood paneling, outdoor furniture, and drywall in the bathroom, and it’s always covered well and given a nice surface to work with. I will say, it took two coats of the Kilz on the dark wood paneling. It was very old, dry wood and it soaked up the Kilz, but in that case, it’s probably a good thing because that means we got the dry parts all soaked in so that whatever color we applied later would not soak in and reveal the dark wood underneath. We’ve had no bleed through at all. Good luck!

  2. Sandy says:

    I, too, have been very happy with Kilz. Covers all kinds of stuff very well!

  3. Ethan says:

    I’ve never tried Kilz but it sounds like a worthwhile product. And I know I have some painting in my future. Thanks for the recommendations (Kelli, Sandy).

  4. Jennifer says:

    I have to say that I have never used primer… We’ve had great luck so far, even with painting our kitchen dark brick red from white.

  5. Fred says:

    We painted the cabinets in our kitchen when we moved in as a temporary solution (eventually we want to re-do the kitchen but just haven’t scraped together the $ yet). The back of our cabinets had some staining on them (a gift from the POs). It literally took 2 coats of kilz primer and like 4 additional coats of semi-gloss to irradicate the stain. I was surprised that the kilz didn’t handle it within the first 2 coats (and I probably should have just continued to put kilz on, instead of moving to the final paint).

  6. Anita says:

    I love Valspar paints – but have been disappointed with Valspar primers. I’ll join the rest of the comment crowd in going with Kilz for priming!

  7. Ethan says:


    I plan on comparing the two when I paint the dinning room. I’ll post about how it turned out. Then we can all see which is better.

  8. Joe says:

    I have been painting for 15 years and started using Valspar products a few years ago per customer requests. All of their primers and paints work well, however they have specific primers for specific uses like drywall primer, multi-purp primer and high hiding primer which is designed to cover up dark painted walls. Their multi-purp primer is great cause it covers as well as sticks to any surface without sanding. I have to say kilz is ok at blocking stains but it does NOT cover well. Stick with the Valspar!!

  9. Ethan says:

    Hey Joe. Thanks for the feedback. 15 years sounds like some good experience. I’ve started to wonder if any primer would have really done a better job. I think this summer I’ll do a Valspar to Kilz comparison when we paint our dining room.

  10. Paul&Aundrea says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned Zinsser primer. A painter friend of our gave us a good tounge lashing when he found out we were using Kilz. Apparently there is a huge debate over Zinsser vs. Kilz.

  11. Dennis Sloan says:

    I have hired very good professionals to paint for me. The new everything was looking great, until we used Valspar Premium white ceiling (all in one).I have always shopped @ Lowe’s, money spent well, nice people. I wanted a great paint & thought I was getting it, my painter of 25 years experience had never been so frustrated in his career. A mess we have & don.t know personally, if it can possibly ever look good, my way of thinking. I built house’s for 40 years, myself..Point being, after starting 3rd coat of Valspar to ceiling, painter & I decided, we HAD better try another, off to Sherwin Williams, I go. Looks some better, not with (4 coats ) I should have gone there to start, 1 coat helped but still not good for a new place. Guess, in the end, will have to start completly over.. Called Lowe’s , have not heard from them, yet. We have a lot more materials to buy, hope they return my call or I will shop else .where..

  12. Dennis Sloan says:

    I am not complainng about Lowe’s, only the paint, the sheetrock was prepared according to their directions on their site, by a professional, also the manager said one coat should have covered the ceiling. They had to use a second coat, the shadows & roller marks, along with streakings of light & dark would not cover. Could have been the mixing, one 5 gallon buckett did better in another area, not good, but a little better. The painter had all the right tools for this job as I watched some of his work. I also researched, the prep. & paint before buying this paint. Did not read the reviews, until it was to late on another site. Wish I had, now. Now, I hope the wall paint works on the other colors, it is alread bought.

  13. jack ward says:

    How long should i wait after having my metal trim painted with Valspar Reserve
    before installing gutters.

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