Sign In to join the community | Help

Primer tinting at home?

I just bought some Killz primer at a Home Depot, and I wanted them to tint it to black, as they've tinted numerous gallons of paint for me before. They informed me that the best they could do was a medium grey, because it requires a lot of tint to get to black, and because the 5-gallon primer buckets are basically filled to the brim already. I wanted to know if it would be possible for me to, at home, pour out some of the grey primer to make room in the bucket, and tint it myself- all the way to black. I know there are colorants that are sold here and there online, but I didn't know if these would work or would be a horrible idea. Does adding tint to primer weaken its adherance to the drywall, or otherwise weaken the integrity of the primer?

This is the primer I bought:

And before anyone mentions that primer shouldn't be considered a top-coat, I know. I know primer is not the best look for a finished wall, but this is for a theater studio, so we wanted to be as budget conscious as possible, and if we can paint our studio black instead of medium grey, then we can come back with a proper top coat down the line.

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2015-07-27T15:50:55+0000  by sebastions1 sebastions1


You will NEVER get to black starting from a white based primer. Worse, the tint you intend to add in massive doses will end up corrupting the paint. Tint is NOT paint, it is a form of glycol.  I know of no primer which exceeds 7 ounces of tint per gallon.

You would be best advised to choose one of the self-priming paints which can be tinted to a true black starting from a "deep base" paint. A deep base paint has absolutely no white in it. although it looks slightly white in its wet state, it dries to a clear paint film. Even a deep based paint, which is intended to be tinted to black, does not call for more than 13 or 14 ounces of tint per gallon.

Further tints themselves are not inexpensive. Should you buy massive amounts of tint, you will have wiped out any intended savings. The old saying, "penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind.
Posted 2015-07-28T04:33:39+0000  by ordjen
Hey sebastions1,

Ordjen nailed it ... an inexpensive flat paint tinted black in a deep-base would be your best choice.

Behr Premium Plus Interior Flat or Glidden Interior Flat would be excellent choices ... true non-reflective flat black made with between twelve and fourteen ounces of pure black tint.

You'll produce the blackout effect you seek for your home theater.


While PVA is inexpensive, it is not a realistic alternative for your home theater.

First, as Ordjen has indicated, the manufacturer only allows several ounces of tint to maintain the integrity of the primer ... once tinted beyond that recommendation, the primer is thinned too much and may lose the ability to dry properly.

Second, primer begins to oxidize in thirty-days ... the surface will become so chalky that it will leave chalky residue on your clothing when you bump into the wall. The manufacturer says, "Must be top-coated within 30-days."

Third, once the primer starts to oxidize you'll have to clean and re-prime before adding the topcoat.

So why not simply apply two coats of either Behr or Glidden Interior Flat as the best solution. 

Both contain primer and paint, so you'll save several coats of labor and ultimately save both the frustration as well as the additional cost when the primer-only surface fails after 30-days.


Gripper Gray Primer is mid-tone gray and the manufacturer allows an additional seven-ounces of tint.

Even with seven additional ounces of tint, it will only reach a darker gray ... not a true Black.

This is the closest you'll get to Black when tinting a primer at The Paint Pit.
Posted 2015-07-28T16:50:28+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question