Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My secret time-saver weapon…again

A couple readers came up with this most fantastic idea of reusing a few of my old posts until I get to feeling better.  This one is highly applicable to any paint project, so for those of you who haven't read it, I hope it's useful.  I've added a few new primer tidbits at the end of the post as well.

My secret time-saver weapon is none other than my Kilz spray primer.  It's pricey - like 5 x the price of the stuff in the gallon, but for me it's totally worth it.  (I've actually gone through 8 cans within the last week!)

This spray primer can be sanded within 30 minutes of applying and then quickly painted over.  If I roll on the other non-aerosol type, I have to wait until the next day to sand and paint.  It dries to the touch within 30 minutes, but clumps like crazy if you try to sand it within 12 hours.  If any of you have applied oil-based primer, you also know that it's difficult to work with and requires quite a bit of elbow grease to sand smooth.  Not my spray Kilz - it sprays smooth and only needs a light sand with a 220 grit paper.

Because of its hefty price tag {$5-$6 a can}, I try to skimp where and I can and only prime the tops of low usage furniture, such as these end tables; the body does fine with a light sand.  If I'm working with wood that has a tendency to bleed, then the entire piece has to be primed to prevent the tannin from coming through the paint.  Your regular old water-based primer won't block tannin bleed... and neither will re-applying your paint over and over - believe me, I've tried.

I roll on 2 coats of oil-based primer if I'm working with a grainy wood like oak and I want to fill in some of the wood grain.  It doesn't get rid of it, but it definitely reduces it.

It worked like a charm on my oak dining room table.

Try it on your next project - you'll never go back to rolling primer again...I promise.

The key to a quality paint job is how well the paint adheres to whatever it is you are painting.  Who cares if your paint job is smooth if the paint scratches off because the surface wasn't prepped correctly?  Sanding helps grip the primer and primer helps grip the paint.  

There are many types of primer.  Oil-based has the highest adhesion properties and blocks all tannin bleed, so it is the one I use most frequently.  

Occasionally to cut costs, I'll spray Zinnsser's water based primer through my spray gun.  It works passably well, but doesn't block tannin, so I end up spot spraying my Kilz on bleed through spots where needed.  The water based primer also requires two coats to achieve the same coverage as oil.  Why don't you spray oil-based primer through your gun, you ask?  Because I hate cleaning it out and I try to avoid paint thinner wherever I can.

If something's not clear don't hesitate to leave a question is the comments section.  Make sure to leave your email address as well.


  1. Hey! Great post! We did a little test project using KILZ primer, too, except we used KILZ Clean Start primer. If you're interested, check out the post .
    Now I really want to try the spray can version, it looks a lot easier to use. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What great tips- I definitely don't mind a re-post! I've never used KILZ brand before, but it looks like it works wonders, especially with the bleed through. Oh the bleed through. Hope you're feeling ok today!


  3. Oh man is this timely! I'm going to be repainting a vintage dresser that's in my daughter's room and it has places on it where there's something bleeding through. And you're right, repainting that spot over and over does not work. I'm pickin' up a can of this when I get the other paint!

  4. I have an armoire that I would like to paint. I was told years ago by a painter to use a product called Liquid Sand. He told me to wipe it on let it dry and paint. NO Sanding...have you ever used this?

  5. But you are just using it as a primer right?
    Thanks for sharing and I love your ideas.
    Hope you feel better soon.
    Do you ever do a job for someone else? like on their furniture?
    I have a small stool that my dad built in hs and I started sanding the many layers of paint off. Discovered a design? under all the paint, but didn't realize what it was right away.
    One I did I stopped and now I don't know what to do. I don't like that type of project but I don't want to ruin it either, if its not too late.
    Not in any hurry at all.

  6. Thanks for the tip! When I used the Kilz roll-on primer it left an "orange peel" look! I prefer the spray-on primer too! It's a little cheaper at Walmart, then Home DePot! Thanks again, Kim

  7. first i will admit that i use spray paints. but i've recently read about the bad things they do to the environment and the VOCs? i just had a baby and spray painted his dresser and now i'm feeling super guilty for introducing these nasty toxins into his room. any thoughts on this? am i overreacting?? i love this blog, by the way :) !!

  8. That was a great tip on primer and genious idea to re-use old posts. I hope you get feeling better and congratulations on the new addition to your family!

  9. Great idea to use spray primer especially the reduce the clean up time.
    One tip I recently read is that you can use regular cooking oil instead of paint thinner to clean up oil based paint products. Well, I can attest it works after my 4 year old got into my oil based wood stain and got it all over himself and his shirt. I used canola oil to dilute the stain and then plain soap and water to get it off. It worked on his shirt as well and it is good as new! No joke!

  10. Hi Natty!
    Thank you for the tip.
    I'm a spray primer big fan now!


  11. AnonymousMay 21, 2012

    I am painting a mahogany vaneer dresser that was in good shape so I didn't sand it before priming. I used 2 coats of an acrylic white primer. Fronts of drawers look light pink (tannin bleed). So then I brushed on 2 coats of Zinsser Smart Prime. I was told this would hold the stain from coming through the top coat. Well, I have painted one coat of my chosen white acrylic paint and it still looks light pink. The top and sides of dresser look perfectly white. Only the drawers are having tannin bleed. I was trying to avoid using oil based anything because I am painting indoors and have 2 small children. What can I do at this point to get rid of the tannin bleed? Thank you!!! christelhodge@yahoo.com

  12. Do you always sand after your primer? I always prime and do not sand. Does it help the paint adhere? Thanks!