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Oil Based Primer Help

I need to repaint two bathrooms in my home along with a room with wood paneling. I was told an oil-based primer would be my best bet for the 3 areas. My question would be what is the best oil-based primer I could use that would allow me to use any type of paint for a top/finish coat?


Does Behr make an oil-based primer?

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Posted 2013-12-15T20:35:57+0000  by murrayk murrayk

Here are my three favorite oil primers - all of which will be excellent for any top coat.




Always have good ventilation when painting with any oil based product.

Posted 2013-12-15T20:48:00+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL


Of the three primers mentioned in the above post, Behr's N0. 75 is actually a water based acrylic. This,  the water based "Gripper" by Glidden, or Zinsser 1-2-3 are viable alternatives to oil primers for the areas mentioned to be primed.


There are certainly areas where  oil based primers have the advantage, such as sealing in water based stains such as nicotine or water stains. Oil primers are often useful  where the water content of  a water based  primer might create problems , such as sealing in wallpaper to be painted over.


However, pure acrylic water based primers are now virtually the equal of oil based products for adhesion. If there is a primer which is superior to either water based or oil products in terms of adhesion, it is probably the shellac based  BIN by Zinsser. BIN is also unsurpassed in terms of being a vapor barrier and for odor control, such as from  pets.

Posted 2013-12-16T05:12:14+0000  by ordjen

Hello murrayk!


Let's answer your second question first ... "what oil-based primer would allow me to use any type paint."


Virtually all oil-based primers have these three qualities:

1) Sticks to most surfaces without sanding (though I sometimes recommend lightly sanding existing oil-based surfaces);

2) Dries quickly (at room temp, most will dry in one-to-two hours; and

3) Use any topcoat.


The last is the one you asked about.


So should you actually need an oil primer, you can be certain that water-based paints will adhere well.



I would always recommend oil primer over paneling because the surface is commonly coated with oil-based products at the factory. Water-based primer will make a coating over oil-based surfaces, but will also scratch off much easier than oil-based primer.


And, if the rooms you are painting have water stains, you will also need an oil-based primer to seal the stain ... water products often "re-wet" water stains, which then bleed back through the paint.


One other surface that requires oil is wallpaper.


The water-based adhesive that holds the wallpaper to the wall is commonly known to "re-wet" when coated with water-based primer or water-based paint ... resulting in wallpaper bubbles or even complete release from the wall.


Other than these scenarios, you would likely be OK with water-based primer or simply use the paint and primer-in-one products.



Bathrooms and kitchens are commonly painted with eggshell (low luster) or satin (visible shine) because they protect the wall and are cleanable.


Other rooms exposed only to every day traffic might use a flat (no sheen), flat enamel (washable flat), or eggshell (low luster)


The advantage of the less shiny sheens is they touch-up without showing brush or roller marks.


More shiny sheens reflect light and may show imperfections, like nail pops, more.



If required, use either Zinsser Cover Stain or Kilz Original ... Behr does not presently sell an oil-based interior primer.

CoverStain.jpg  Kilz Original.jpg

Posted 2013-12-19T14:27:07+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL


 One of the best quick reference quides for primer selection is put out by the Zinsser Company. Zinsser is an old line company which is extremely well respected in the paint industry. It is apparent that the water based product

1-2-3 now is rated right up with the oil based CoverStain in many categories. Here s the guide:



Posted 2013-12-20T00:17:28+0000  by ordjen

Thanks for all the help!!! Sounds like I have narrowed my choices down greatly and will definitely use an oil-based for sections of my home (especially the wood paneled room).


Posted 2013-12-21T00:47:53+0000  by murrayk
Although we've discussed multiple primer, MurrayK, we haven't answered your preference question.

Personally, I prefer Zinsser Cover Stain.

It is thicker than most other oil-based primer and I find that it drips less ... preventing secondary repairs for DIYers who don't use these products frequently.
Posted 2015-12-08T21:27:33+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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