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Kilz 2 Primer Review

To get the best paint job possible, you usually need to primer your surfaces before applying the topcoat. In fact, the right primer will usually make or break a difficult painting job.

This Is A Review of Kilz 2 All Purpose Primer

Kilz 2 Review

Kilz 2 All Purpose Primer is a great general purpose and low-cost primer. It’s great for all kinds of DIY projects and won’t break the bank.

My Experience With Kilz 2

I’ve been painting for just over 20 years now and have been running DIY Painting Tips since 2015.

During this time I have used Kilz 2 on literally over 100 projects. Just recently I used it in a 5000 square foot home that my client had just purchased from a smoker. The house stunk and had smokey grease on everything. I’ll tell you exactly how well Kilz 2 worked and what exactly I used it for.

Kilz 2 Review Summary

Kilz 2 All Purpose is my go-to general-purpose primer. If I need a primer for a very specific problem, there are other primers I use like Zinnser Peel Stop or Zinsser Smart Prime.

But on most painting jobs, I always make sure I have a can of Kilz 2 on hand for priming drywall patches, covering marker, grease stains, blocking tannins, and more.

Kilz 2 Review Table Of Contents

Kilz 2 General Purpose Overview

Kilz 2 Primer

Kilz 2 is a general-purpose primer that has many uses for the DIY Painter.

If you are getting ready to repaint a room, Kilz 2 is great to primer any old marker spots, water stains, or new drywall patches.

Priming new drywall patches is probably the most common way I use Kilz 2. By applying one coat of primer before starting your repaint, you’ll ensure that these new drywall patches don’t flash through your final topcoat.

Kilz 2 is also great at sealing in smells and grease such as in a room where people have smoked or done lots of cooking.

It’s also good at priming trim, cabinets, doors, and windows before you plan on painting them. But while it does work, it’s not my first choice for priming wood (that would be Zinsser Smart Prime).

Is Kilz 2 A Good Primer?

Whether Kilz 2 is a good primer or not really depends on what you are using it for. This question requires a little bit of an explanation.

For really general purposes and for the price, Kilz 2 is a fine primer. You can typically find Kilz 2 for $12 – $15 per gallon.

If you are looking for a more specific primer, like the one you would use to prime your kitchen cabinets, you are more likely going to be spending $30+ per gallon.

I also wouldn’t bring Kilz 2 into a restoration project, nor would I use it to prime the whole exterior of a house. But a couple of spots, a small water stain, a smokey ceiling, yes, it’s a good enough primer for those things.

My Recent Experience With Kilz 2

Like I stated earlier, I have been painting for just over 20 years as a professional painter and running DIY Painting Tips since 2015. I have a lot of painting experience and have run into many different priming scenarios.

I typically keep a gallon of Kilz 2 on me for small priming projects on residential repaints. Whether it is some grease stains in kitchens, drywall patches, or a small water stain.

Just recently I finished a 5000 square foot home where I was hired to come in before the new homeowner moved in and prime everything, enamel all woodwork (doors, windows, cabinets, trim, and crown), and paint all walls.

I had a few different issues I had to contend with. First, the previous homeowner had smoked cigars in his home for 20 years. IT STUNK.

Second, other contractors would be working on the project the entire time I was there.

Third, I had to stay within budget.

To stay on budget, my choices were Kilz Original and Kilz 2. They are both cheap general purpose primers.

Kilz Original would have been the best primer because it is oil-based, and would have sealed in the stains and smells wonderful.

But, Kilz Original has a VOC content of 442 grams per liter. That is a huge VOC content. It smells so bad that the house would need to be evacuated while I spent days spraying primer on all the ceilings, walls, and sub-floors.

However, I decided years ago to stop sacrificing my health for projects like this. Long term exposure to high VOC products like this is horrible for your health.

So, my next best solution was Kilz 2. Kilz 2 is a water-based primer with 10 grams per liter of VOCs. That is incredibly low. This means I will keep my health and the home won’t stink and cause other contractors to quit working.

I used Kilz 2 to spray every inch of ceilings, walls, and subfloors in the home. It worked great and saved me a lot of money over more expensive primers. It gave me great color in my topcoats when I painted the walls and allowed me to cover the ceilings with one coat of ceiling paint.

When the project was finished and all ducts were cleaned, there was not a trace of old cigar smell in the home. Overall, I used something like 60-70 gallons of Kilz 2 in this home and I was extremely happy with the results.

I did opt to not use Kilz 2 for priming the woodwork however, In my experience, it doesn’t bond as well to old woodwork as do other primers like Zinsser Smart Prime.

When Should You Use a Primer Like Kilz 2?

Priming new drywall with kilz 2

I would recommend using Kilz 2 anytime you need to prime old walls before repainting. This could be dirty kitchen walls, greasy walls at the head of a bed, smoke-stained walls, urined stained sub-floors, new drywall, and drywall patches.

I would opt for a more powerful primer when priming woodwork or large water stains such as leaky roof stains.

Kilz 2 Questions and Answers

Is Kilz 2 Water Based

Yes, Kilz 2 is a water based primer and will clean up easily with soap and water.

Can Kilz 2 Be Used on New Drywall

Yes, Kilz 2 is a great for new drywall. It is not a PVA primer, which is specifically designed for new drywall, but it does a great job at priming new drywall.

What is Kilz 2 Dry Time

Kilz 2 typically dries to the touch within 30 minutes and can be topcoated within 1 hour. This will changed depending on the humidity of the environment you are using Kilz in though.

Can You Leave Kilz 2 Unpainted?

Technically, yes you can leave Kilz 2 unpainted, but it won’t be very wear resistant and will not hold up well to everyday use. Kilz 2 is meant to be covered with a topcoat and to provide stain blocking and adhesion for that coat.

Can You Use Kilz 2 To Paint Over Mold

If you have properly treated the surface that had mold, you can paint over mold with Kilz2. However, it is not a mold killing primer. Check out this post for more on Mold Killing Primers.

How Many Coats of Kilz 2 Should I Use?

You should only need one coat of Kilz 2 primer when using it properly. You should then topcoat with two coats of your desired topcoat.

What Is The Difference Between Kilz and Kilz 2

Original Kilz is an oil based primer and is much more effective at blocking stains and smell. Kilz 2 is a water based primer but has a drastically lower VOC content.

Can Kilz 2 Be Used For Exterior Painting?

Yes, Kilz 2 can be used for exterior painting. But it is rarely your best choice as an exterior primer.

Kilz 2 Alternatives

While Kilz 2 is a good primer, it is a general purpose primer. This means that different situations will call for a specialty primer, here are a few of my recommendations.

Zinsser Smart Prime

Zinsser Smart Prime is my go to primer for priming kitchen cabinets and other interior woodwork when enameling for residential clients. You can read my full review here as well as How To Enamel Kitchen Cabinets Like a Pro, and the Best Grain Filler For Kitchen Cabinets.

Zinsser Peel Stop

Zinsser Peel Stop is the perfect exterior primer to stop peeling paint in its tracks. I have used it for years and it has absolutely stopped callbacks for peeling paint.

Paint and Primer in One

Whenever you are repainting a bedroom and the walls are in good shape, a primer isn’t necessary. A typical paint and primer in one is all you need (and most quality paints are paint and primer’s in one these days.

Kilz PVA

Kilz PVA is a drywall specific primer formulated for priming new drywall. If you are refinishing your basement and have a lot of new drywall to paint, Kilz PVA is the perfect choice for your project.

In Conclusion

Kilz 2 is a great general purpose primer and should solve most DIY Painter’s priming issues. It’s a great primer to keep on hand for small projects, getting rid of smells, priming small drywall repairs, as well as water and grease stains.

With it’s low price, it fits nearly all budgets and gives you good bonding and sealing so that your topcoat will look amazing.

You can purchase Kilz 2 with the link below:

KILZ 2 Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer

Kilz 2 All Purpose is a general purpose primer great for the DIY homeowner. Cover water stains, marker, grease, oil, mildew, and more. Use it to prime new drywall, wood, metal, concrete and more.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

My name is Ryan Cunningham and I have been a professional painter since 2001. On DIY Painting Tips I give my real life honest painting advice based on 20+ years of experience. Feel free to leave a comment with your questions, I make sure to answer every one.

Zinsser Peel Stop Primer Review
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