Perhaps you’re looking to boost your home’s curb appeal, or maybe you simply want to give your garden shed a touch-up. Whatever the reason, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a fresh lick of paint, right?
Not so fast! If you don’t properly prepare your surface for paint application, not only will you have to re-do the job, but you’ll have also wasted hard-earned money along the way. Luckily for you, we have the solution: a primer.
Exterior primer paint is an important (and vital) first step that will not only provide a foundation for the paint to be applied but will also help to properly prepare the surface so that you get the best possible results for longer.
If you’ve already begun scouring the internet and feel stuck with the amount of choice, worry not. Below, you’ll find 5 of the best exterior primer paints currently available to buy, as well as an in-depth review of each one to help you make your selection. Read on!
Our Top Pick
|KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Primer||
Best Value Pick
|Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Primer||
Best Premium Pick
|Kilz Adhesion In High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer||
Best Mould-Prevention Pick
|KILZ General Purpose Exterior Latex Primer||
Best Time-Saving Pick
|INSL-X Aqua Lock Water-Based Primer||
The Top 5 Best Exterior Paints
KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Primer
Specifically created for exterior surfaces, the KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Exterior Primer is just the ticket for those looking to achieve a smooth and professional paint job.
For starters, this mega-powerful water-based formula is able to effectively block stains from forming, all while helping to prevent mildew from growing, as well as any peeling from occurring. Thanks to that, you can be confident that your slick and smooth paint finish will stay that way, no matter what.
Plus, thanks to that water-based formula we mentioned, this KILZ Primer offers versatile adhesive capabilities and will be able to bond itself to multiple surfaces, including exterior plaster, woodwork, paneling, concrete, and even masonry. This means that you’ll be able to use this primer for a variety of purposes.
Not only that, but KILZ has made this primer with your safety in mind. So much so, that this exterior primer contains no VOC (volatile organic compounds), which are often used in water-based paints in order to improve performance. They can cause damage to the nervous system and organs, however, you can use this primer with the peace of mind that your health isn’t being compromised.
Upon use, this primer will help to achieve a perfect uniform finish that you can be proud of, all while helping to hide stains, prevent new ones from forming, and prevent the growth of mildew. It’s an excellent choice for anyone looking for a reliable primer they can put their trust in.
- Helps to prevent peeling – this will ensure your paint will have a flawless finish for longer.
- Good value for money – 1-gallon sized can will cover 300-400 square feet.
- High adhesiveness – this primer is compatible with multiple exterior surfaces.
- Strong odor – this may be unpleasant for some.
Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Primer
On a budget but still want to purchase a great primer? No problem. The Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Primer blends affordability with premium quality.
Suitable to be used on both interior and exterior applications, the Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Primer boasts a versatile formula that can bond itself to numerous surfaces, so it’s great value for money.
What’s more, i’s water-based formula doesn’t require the need for any prior-sanding of the chosen surface area, which will cut the application process time in half. How’s that for convenience?
Plus, thanks to that innovative water-formula, this primer will also be able to prevent mildew growth, peeling, and blistering, meaning that you’ll be saving on any additional costs as you won’t need to retouch it for a very long time.
The Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Primer also stands out to us because it has also been formulated to be compatible on high pH surfaces (like freshly made concrete) which is not something that many primers offer. On top of that, it also contains a rust inhibitor that makes it suitable for use on new metal surfaces, too! For the price, you really can’t beat it.
- Water-based formula – this makes it compatible with a variety of indoor and outdoor surfaces.
- Prevents mildew, blistering, and peeling – this makes it more cost-effective, as the finish will stay perfect for longer.
- Affordable – it offers the best value for money on the market.
- White color – this color may not be to everyone’s taste.
Kilz Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer
If you’re looking for something a little more high-end, the Kilz Adhesion HigH-Bonding Interior Latex Primer should be on your radar.
Designed to act as the perfect bonding primer across all exterior surfaces, the Kilz Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer is specifically designed to bond to all types of tough-to-paint surfaces.
Not just that, but displaying its premium edge, the Kilz Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer features a unique formula that has been specifically developed to be able to effectively secure itself across slicker surfaces, in which standard water-based primers will not be able to correctly adhere.
Thanks to this, you’ll be able to use this particular primer on surfaces such as PVC, Kynar, Formica, vinyl, glass, glazed brick, fiberglass, and even metals. In addition to that, this innovative, problem-solving formula can be used under all types of paints, including lacquers, solvents, epoxies, and formulas that contain xylene.
When used correctly, this primer will be able to prevent peeling, molding, and scratches from forming, which ensures the finish will stay uniform and perfect for longer. For added ease, it will dry within 30 minutes of application and be ready for a recoat within an hour. All in all, given its quality formula and fast-drying promise, we think this primer is ideal for anyone wanting to spend extra on convenience features.
- Specifically designed for hard-to-paint surfaces – this ensures that this primer will be able to be used across all types of surfaces, even the most difficult.
- Great value – this primer comes in a 1-gallon container that can cover up to 300 square feet of surface area.
- Quick-drying – this will save time and allow you to get the job done more quickly.
- High price point – may not be in everyone’s budget.
KILZ General Purpose Exterior Latex Primer
Next up, we have chosen the KILZ General Purpose Exterior Latex Primer, which has gained recognition for being exceptionally good at preventing mold growth.
Specifically formulated to be used for exterior surfaces, the Kilz General Purpose Exterior Latex Primer has been made to enhance the life of a paint job by reducing the chances of any common outdoor problems from occurring, such as porosity problems, peeling and, of course, mildew and mold growth.
When you’re ready to apply, you can choose to either spray, roll, or brush it on. Unlike other kinds of water-based primers, this one has been made with a focus on being able to withstand the elements. It will achieve this by sealing itself to even the most porous surfaces, ensuring that the paint will apply smoothly and with the best level of adhesion.
Not only that, but this fantastic primer also offers fast-drying capabilities and can cover approximately 300-400 square feet per gallon, so it’s great value for money. If you’re looking for the best exterior primer suited to handling the elements, this just might be the primer for you.
- Specifically designed for outdoor use – its formula is designed to effectively withstand the elements.
- Mold-preventing – this primer will be able to prevent mold from growing, keeping your paint flawless for longer.
- Can be applied in numerous ways – giving you the freedom to choose how you’d like to apply it, this primer can be rolled, brushed, or sprayed on.
- Can’t be used indoors – though this isn’t necessarily a drawback, it may not be suitable for those that want a primer suitable for interior and exterior use.
INSL-X Aqua Lock Water-Based Primer
Last but certainly not least, we have selected the INSL-X Aqua Lock Water-Based Primer, which is one of the fastest-drying primers on the market.
If you’re looking for an exterior primer that will dry at high speeds, you’re in luck with the INSL-X Aqua Lock Water-Based Primer. In just 30 minutes after the initial application, this primer will be non-sticky, and after one hour this primer will be ready for the next coat.
For your safety, the INSL-X Aqua Lock Water-Based Primer contains low VOC, which means that it only has a very low amount of volatile organic compounds. On top of that, it also features premium sealing and coverage features and will be able to provide high-quality adhesion across a variety of exterior surfaces.
Upon application, the 100% acrylic primer sealer will effectively seal itself to your chosen surface, providing exceptional stain-blocking ability, all the while reducing the chances of any mildew from growing.
Another feature that we really like about the INSL-X Aqua Lock Water-Based Primer is that it comes with an instruction label sheet. It is filled with both preparation and application instructions and tips that will make the application process as simple as possible.
- Quick-drying – this primer will dry in as little as 30 minutes and will be ready for topcoat application in around 1 hour.
- Mold-resistant – designed for outdoor use, this primer is able to reduce the chances of mold growth.
- Temperature-sensitive – it can only be used between 10-32 degrees celsius.
What should you look for when choosing an exterior primer?
Before investing in a brand spanking new primer, you should first double-check to make sure that it is going to be compatible with the exterior surface you plan on prepping!
Generally speaking, the best exterior primer paints consist of a water-based formula that will be able to properly bond itself to a variety of exterior surfaces – including glass. However, we still recommend making sure to check this before purchasing, just to be on the safe side.
Good Drying Time
The next important consideration is the drying time of the primer. Some primers on the market can take up to 4 hours to seal, and when you combine that with 3 or so coats, the time needed to prime the surface can rack itself up pretty quickly.
Now, though this might not be an issue for some, for others that want to get the job done as fast as possible, we recommend checking how quickly the primer will be able to dry.
Luckily, there are many fast-drying primers out there, the best being the INSL-X Aqua Lock Water-Based Primer (as you will have seen above).
Mold and Scratch Preventing Properties
So, besides adhesive abilities and drying speeds, the next factor you’ll need to take into consideration is the durability of the primer – and the best way to do that is by checking to see whether or not it has both mold and scratch resistance.
The best exterior paint primers will be able to prevent any scratching or peeling, all while helping to reduce the chances of any mildew or mold forming.
Not only will this help to maintain the attractiveness of the building exterior or surface, but it will also ensure that the surface won’t need to be repainted for longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does exterior paint with primer really work?
In short, yes! An exterior primer will not only work very well with exterior paint but is a fundamental component that will make the difference between the paint properly bonding to the surface or not.
Though it is more costly to purchase both paint and primer, a primer will ensure that the surface is properly primed and ready for the paint, and will ensure the very best results.
Should I prime before I paint the exterior?
Yes. Before you get stuck in with the main paint, you’ll first need to allocate time to properly preparing the surface with a primer. On average, a primer will take a few hours to cure, at which point you will be free to begin painting your chosen paint onto the primed surface.
The reason that you’ll need to prime the exterior first is that the surface needs to be prepared before the paint can be applied.
What happens if you don’t use a primer before painting?
If you decide to cut corners and skip the priming step before painting your exterior surface, it means that your paint will likely begin to chip and peel.
This is because the primer will help the paint to adhere to the surface properly, so without it, the paint will not be able to bond to the surface correctly.
Is one coat of primer enough?
It depends. The answer to this question greatly depends on where you are in the world and what it is you’re painting!
By this we mean, if you live in a hot country where it is very humid, you’ll likely need to use more coats of a primer than for someone that lives in a colder country where the air is cool.
However, on average, around 2-3 coats of primer are recommended for exterior surfaces.