Are you looking for the best exterior primer for your home to help your exterior paint last and look its best? The greatest DIY paint project results come from excellent prep skills and carefully chosen, high-quality primer and paint.
Exterior painting is a popular way to transform your home exterior quickly when using the right tools and materials. In this post, we’ll cover how to make a list of qualities to look for when choosing a primer and which primers work best with different exterior surfaces. Then we will wrap up with the best exterior primers on the market.
Things To Consider When Choosing the Best Exterior Primer for Your Home
When researching the best exterior primers, keep in mind that there are various primer qualities that may suit your own preferences or specific needs better than others. Your home’s exterior surface material will also greatly affect which type of primer will work best for you.
Exterior Primer Qualities
Required Prep Time
Does this particular exterior primer require additional prep work before it’s applied? Will you need to add more than one coat?
Depending on the type of your home, different brands of primer may work differently. Make sure to choose a primer that best fits your home’s specific needs.
The best exterior primer for your home will be one that can withstand the outside elements.
It’s best to choose a primer that handles outdoor elements and offers you mold and mildew resistance. In addition, some primers will show yellowing underneath the topcoat, which causes you to need to repaint sooner.
Since you know your primer will be outdoors, choose a primer compatible with these conditions.
VOCs & Odor
VOCs and odors are essential to think about and have become more of a concern in recent times.
It’s always important to practice safety wearing a mask, gloves, and protective eyewear during painting projects. In addition, we recommend checking labels to know what’s in your primer before making a selection.
Once your primer is applied, how long will it take to dry completely before you can start painting? How long should the drying time be between coats? Are there specific times of year to achieve the best results?
Drying times are essential to know. It’s crucial to pick the correct times of the year, watch the weather, and ensure your home will have the proper required drying times for primer and paint. Always provide a full drying time between applications to get the best results.
Exterior Home Surfaces
Inspect your home’s surfaces and get to know them better before settling on the best exterior primer for your home.
Not all primers are going to adhere to the same types of surfaces. However, you can usually find helpful information about different textures on the back of a can of primer.
We will cover some of the different types of surfaces that your home’s exterior might have below.
Bare Wood Surfaces
If you need to choose the best primer for bare wood surfaces, choose a primer that’s oil-based or latex-based. This type of primer only works if your wood has never been previously painted or stained. Bare wood surfaces can be made more durable by using a primer meant for sealing wood.
It’s important to note that oil-based primers can emit VOCs, so be careful while using this type of primer.
Painted Wood Surfaces
Exterior oil-based primers are the best choice for painted wood surfaces so you don’t end up with a chalking. “Chalking” is when a painted wood surface corrodes and gives off a chalky powder.
The best exterior oil-based primer produces a smoother finish on painted wood and prevents imperfections. Feel free to check out our list of exterior primer reviews below before deciding on a final product.
You can also select a stain-blocking primer for stained wood with exterior primers. Stain-blocking primer will work well on tannin-contaminated bare wood, grease-stained cabinets, and more. Covering these stains with primer prevents bleeding and discoloration that may otherwise come through the topcoat.
We suggest you choose a latex stain-blocking primer if you need to cover water-based stains.
Next, If you’re working with glossy exterior surfaces, we recommend using a bonding primer specifically manufactured to adhere well to glossy surfaces.
Using the wrong primer will give you poor results and become a challenge to apply to your exterior surfaces.
Finally, when it comes to metal exterior surfaces, remember metals are prone to rust. So if your home’s exterior is metal, then a rust-resistant, oil-based primer will be the best exterior primer for your home.
Avoid latex primers when painting on metal surfaces as this could promote rust development. Remember, though, it will be tough to use primer on rusty metal surfaces due to the rust, and the texture will not come out smoothly.
The Best Exterior Primers Currently On The Market
Now that you are familiar with the various qualities of the best exterior primers for your home and which primers are likely to be most compatible with the exterior surfaces, you should have a good idea of what type of primer you’ll need.
With that information in mind, let’s take a look at several candidates for the best exterior primer for your home.
Budget-Friendly Primer Choices
Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Exterior Primer
When researching, we found that Rust-Oleum does it again when it comes to a budget-friendly primer choice, offering you an affordable yet dependable primer.
Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Exterior Primer is a water-based formula. The beauty of this primer is that it adheres to all surfaces without the need for sanding. You can choose to use this primer indoors and outdoors, and even for coating tile.
You’ll have an excellent finish with Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Exterior Primer as it works exceptionally well on formerly painted surfaces.
However, there’s a catch to consider. Even with two coats of Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Exterior Primer, the primer itself is a bit thin. This means that to get a smooth finish, you may need to sand your surfaces before painting.
Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Water-Based Interior Exterior Primer and Sealer will cost you about twenty-seven dollars plus tax a gallon.
All-in-One Primer + Paint Choices
Prestige Exterior Paint And Primer in One
If you’re looking for the best all-in-one primer and paint, you can find this quality created by Prestige.
Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One will give you the option to paint side panels, shutters, and doors straight away with no additional waiting times. In addition, this primer provides you with top-notch solutions when it comes to painting every exterior surface.
When tested, we found Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One is also the easiest to clean of all the choices. While most paints are prone to damage due to high humidity exposure, Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One stands its ground!
Prestige Exterior Paint And Primer in One is excellent for those on a budget because while it may be more expensive than other primers, it functions as both the paint and the primer, saving you the cost of the paint and the time it would take to apply both coats.
Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One will cost just shy of forty dollars per gallon.
All Around Great Primer Choices
In this category of all-around great primer choices, three made our list. We felt these choices had the most to offer you on the whole when it comes to choosing the best exterior primer for your home.
KILZ Klear Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer
First in our category of great all-around primers is KILZ Klear Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer, a high-quality primer suitable for your home areas with plaster, masonry, or cement surfaces.
When applied, you will find that KILZ Klear primer provides you with a rigid yet flexible coating which is an essential feature of exterior primers.
KILZ Klear primer is also a perfect option when you need to seal porous surfaces. This primer will form a transparent but permeable layer that will prepare your surface for painting.
KILZ Klear primer has a fast drying time which is a feature that allows for your coats to be applied quickly and is named the perfect choice for DIYers. However, the negative quality is that this primer is thinner than its competitors.
KILZ KLEAR Clear Interior Exterior Multi-Surface Primer and Sealer will cost you about twenty-four dollars plus tax a gallon and doubles as a great budget-friendly option as well!
Rust-Oleum, Painter’s Touch Primer
Next on our list of all-around best primers for 2022 is Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Primer. Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Primer is a comprehensive quality primer that’s completely worth the cost.
Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Primer is Rust-Oleum’s most popular primer on the market.
Painter’s Touch Primer is quick-drying, allowing you to speed up your painting project while giving off a low odor, which is better for your health and well-being.
If you need an excellent option to help prevent discoloration, stains, and irregularities from appearing on your exterior surfaces, we highly recommend Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Primer.
Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Primer will cost you thirty-eight dollars for 64 oz of primer.
INSL-X Aqua Lock Plus 100% Acrylic Water-Based Sealer Primer
Finally, let us introduce INSL-X Aqua Lock Plus 100% Acrylic Water-Based Sealer Primer.
You can use INSL-X Aqua Lock Plus as a multi-purpose primer on most surfaces, such as tiles, metal, and even wood. If you’re not sure how much you’ll need, we are here to tell you that one gallon decently covers an area of three hundred to three hundred and fifty square feet.
INSL-X Aqua Lock Plus is a water-based product that’s entirely odorless, which is better for your overall health. In addition, you’ll find this acrylic water-based primer to be mold and mildew resistant, which ensures your project’s surfaces will remain free of blemishes and stains for a long time to come. It also protects from water stains, smoke damage, and more.
You will love the superior adhesion this primer has, even when it comes to glossy surfaces. INSL-X Aqua Lock Plus is also a quick-drying primer known to dry in as little as an hour!
You can purchase INSL-X Aqua Lock Plus 100% Acrylic Water-Based Sealer Primer by the quart here for sixteen dollars a can.
Wrapping Up The Best Exterior Primer Choices
We hope you now feel much more confident in choosing the best exterior primer for your home.
By making a list of preferred primer qualities, defining your home’s exterior surfaces, and using our list of top primers currently available, we know you’ll easily find the perfect primer for your exterior painting needs.
Check out our Exterior Painting page for even more information on exterior painting, paints, and products.
I started painting in 2001 and have seen just about everything in my painting career. I started in production and commercial painting, then moved over to new construction and remodeling during the boom of the early 2000s. Post 2010, I niched down into residential painting where I have done everything from exteriors, decks, interiors, furniture and more. Over the last few years, I’ve had a focus on kitchen cabinets.
I started the DIY Painting Tips blog in 2015 to start sharing everything I’ve learned over the years and help all the people who’d rather tackle their painting projects themselves.
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