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Zinsser Peel Stop Primer Review

Peeling exterior paint can be an absolute nightmare.

If you paint over it, your new paint will be peeling within a year and if you remove it, plan on sanding and scraping for weeks.

This was always the dilemma for exterior painting. How do you go about properly fixing peeling paint in an efficient manner and prevent any future peeling?

Zinsser Peel Stop primer is an amazing bonding primer that solves this problem better than any other product on the market.

Exterior Painting On Victorian Home

A Little Bit About Exterior Primers

Choosing the right exterior primer is vitally important to have a paint job that lasts the long haul.

Choosing the wrong primer, or not priming at all, can cause your paint to crack and peel over time and shorten the life of your paint job.

An improperly primed exterior paint job can cause more hassle than just having to repaint your home before you should have to. Peeling, flaking, and cracking paint not only looks bad, but it also allows moisture into your home causing damage like wood rot and mildew growth.

Won’t Any Primer Do?

Prepping the winder for Zinsser Peel Stop Primer

Most people understand that in order to get the best paint job possible, you should prime a surface before you put on your top coat. Primers help bond to substrate, block stains, and give top coats a truer color.

On interior walls, it is true that you can put on almost any primer and be just fine. I’ve even mixed left over paints and used them as primers in flip homes with zero issues.

But that same cannot be said for exteriors, especially ones that already have a peeling problem.

Choosing the wrong exterior primer can mean a shorter paint life and peeling paint.

Many exterior primers won’t hold up to harsh elements of northern climates or the extreme heat of Southern climates and other primers have poor bonding ability and cause premature peeling.

Choosing the right exterior primer means having a long-lasting paint job with few problems.

Zinsser Peel Stop Exterior Primer

Zinsser Peel Stop primer is an exterior clear binding primer that is built specifically to stop peeling paint. It is a water-based primer that can be brushed, rolled, or sprayed and get in cracks, under the edges of peeling paint and over the top of peeling paint and essentially glues it down the surface, thus stopping the peeling and preventing future peeling.

Peel Stop can be used as a general primer on raw wood, masonry, stucco, brick, and other materials but where it really shines is going over peeling paint.

How Does Peel Stop Compare To Other Exterior Primers

Other exterior primers are meant to prime a substrate to bond with the topcoat (Peel Stop does accomplish this as well), they do not “glue” down peeling paint and prevent future peeling. If you were to apply a standard exterior primer on a home that had serious peeling issues, even after power washing and scraping, you would likely start experiencing peeling issues again within 1-5 years.

The reason for this is that normal primers don’t encapsulate the peeling paint and bind it to the substrate. Instead, when you apply a standard primer and two topcoats, you are actually putting a lot of extra weight onto the already peeling paint and can often speed up the peeling process on the remaining paint.

Peel Stop however goes in the cracks of the peeling paint, gets under the peeling paint, and goes over the peeling paint and binds it to the substrate (essentially glues it to it), and creates a stable surface for you to apply the top coat to.

Who Is Zinsser Peel Stop Meant For?

Exterior Peeling Paint: Zinsser Peel Stop

I would have no problem recommending Zinsser Peel Stop to anyone planning on painting the exterior of their home. It is a great primer for new wood, cement board, and any other exterior surfaces, even if they are new.

But the person who really needs a product like Peel Stop is the homeowner whose paint is actively peeling, chipping, or cracking (when it has those spiderweb hairline cracks, they allow water into the substrate).

First, you’ll avoid having to strip every last paint chip off of your building (although you do still need to wash and scrape loose paint).

Second, you should get a drastically longer life out of your exterior paint and siding when you use Peel Stop. This primer should easily more than double the life expectancy of your paint job.

Main Competitor

Pros / Cons


  • Stops Peeling Paint
  • Extends The Life Of Paint Jobs
  • General Primer
  • Low VOC: 60 g/l


Everything has cons right? But honestly, I haven’t experienced any cons using this product yet. Its price point is on par with other primers, it goes on great, and it does exactly what it says it does.

Features and Benefits Of Zinsser Peel Stop

Penetrating and Bonding

Peel Stop actually penetrates through chalky residue and bonds to the substrate. With peeling paint, it penetrates into cracks and under peeling paint edges and bonds (glues) everything together.

Stain Blocking

Stain blocking isn’t typically a concern for me when I am priming an exterior, this is usually more of an interior concern. But having the ability to block wood tannins is great when priming new wood, or I have run into greasy areas around grills where having a good stain blocking primer is nice. Peel Stop blocks staining and tannins as good as any primer I have ever used.

VOC Content

VOC content is always something I look at when recommending or using a product. I decided years ago that my health while on the job was my top priority. I have actually found conflicting data sheets by Rustoleum (owners of Zinsser) on Peel Stop. From what I have read, Peel Stop either has 60 grams/liter, or 98 g/l.

So what does that mean?

Anything under 100 g/l is actually pretty good. Oil and shellac-based primers are often in the 250-500 g/l range while water-based paints and primers are in the 20-75 range.

I would typically say that 98 is a little high, but this is an outdoor product, so I am completely comfortable with 98 since I use this product only outdoors. *Technically Peel Stop is an interior/exterior sealer and could be a great solution for restoration work, just wear a mask.

VOC content isn’t the be-all, end-all for determining how safe a product is, but it is a great starting point and something we can all understand.


Zinsser Peel Stop is water-based, which means that cleanup is done easily with water.

How To Use This Product

Using Peel Stop is really quite simple and as with any other paint, it’s really all about the prep work.

Before you apply Peel Stop, make sure to wash your home thoroughly. I prefer to power wash every exterior before I paint it, but you can also use a hose and a large cash washing brush/broom (I’ve done this and it works great). Try to get as much of the dirt off the home as possible.

Next, make sure to scrape all loose paint off your home. This is extremely important. Don’t leave on any paint that is just hanging on. Scrape it off, but don’t overdo it. It can be hard to know when to stop scraping on some homes. Just get the loose stuff and don’t worry about the stuff that is still firmly attached to your home, the Peel Stop will bond that paint in place.

Note: Not all paint scrapers are created equal. A quality scraper will make this job much easier. I recommend a scraper with angled, double edge, replaceable blades. I typically flip a blade after every side of the home and go through at least 2 blades per home.

Now you can spray, brush, or roll the primer on. I like to cover all surfaces, but you can choose to only prime the problem areas if you choose. Make sure to work the Peel Stop into the cracks and under any paint edges. If you spray, make sure to back brush or roll to work the primer in.

Want A Sprayer To Speed Up Your Exterior Painting Project? Check Out My Review Of The Graco Magnum Pro X17 Sprayer.

My Experience With Zinsser Peel Stop

I started using Peel Stop in the summer of 2007. I was a young painter with little experience (I had started my business in 2004) and I already had a couple of call back homes starting pop up. I was getting calls from exteriors I had painted previous summers and they were already experiencing peeling paint again (in less than 2 years).

I thought I had done everything right. I power washed the homes and scraped the loose paint. But the new paint was peeling just like the old paint.

This is when I learned about Peel Stop and started using it on homes that had peeling paint. I trusted the idea to begin with and knew that I wouldn’t know for a few years if it really worked or not.

I didn’t get any callbacks over the next couple of summers.

By 2009 I was priming every single exterior I painted with Peel Stop. Whether it had peeling paint or not. It was how I could guarantee my exteriors and not have to deal with expensive callbacks.

100% honest truth here. I have not had a call back due to peeling paint since. That’s 13+ years of no callbacks from peeling paint.

This stuff works exactly how it is supposed to and I consider it a worthwhile investment for anyone painting their home’s exterior.

Peel Stop’s Main Competitors / Alternatives

Zinsser Peel Stop Triple Thick

Zinnser Peel Stop Triple Thick is the same product as regular peel stop only it literally goes on 3x thicker. Triple Thick can be applied up to 30 mils wet (which is really thick) without running or sagging.

Why would you want to put your primer on that thick?

Alligatoring Paint

There is really only one reason to go from regular Peel Stop to Triple Thick and that is to reduce alligatoring on your finish (at least that is what I call it). Alligatoring is when you have lots of peeling and cracking paint that create an uneven surface, much like alligator skin. You can read more about this on PPG’s website.

By applying Zinsser Peel Stop Triple Thick, you can smooth out this alligatoring while preventing future peeling. Technically Triple Thick costs about the same as regular Peel Stop per gallon, but only cover about 1/3 of the surface area. Zinsser says to expect 50-200 sq ft of coverage per gallon compared to 292 sq ft with regular Peel Stop. So you will pay a premium for this product.

XIM Peel Bond

XIM Peel Bond was the main competitor to Zinsser Peel Stop for years and still is considered its competitor, except that Rustoleum purchased XIM in 2017 and Rustoleum has owned Zinsser since 1986.

Peel Bond is essentially the exact same type of product as Peel Stop and personally, I don’t necessarily love one more than the other. I typically will purchase one or the other based on convenience and local pricing.

Sherwin Williams Peel Bonding Primer

Sherwin Williams didn’t spend too much time coming up with a clever name for their primer that prevents peeling. Sherwin Williams Peel Bonding Primer does just that, bonds peeling paint and prevents future peeling.

Of all the products mentioned here though, this is my least favorite. It seems to go on thinner and thus doesn’t cover up much of the alligatoring that you get with peeling and cracking paint.

Also, It is the most expensive of the peel bonding primers and it’s not close. SW Peel Bonding Primer retails for $59 and even on sale only goes down to $42. Peel Bond and Peel Stop are both roughly $35 regular price.


If your home is peeling, I cannot recommend priming it with Zinsser Peel Stop enough. Whether you plan on removing all the peeling paint by sanding down all your siding (TONS of work), or just power washing and scraping the loose paint, a coat of Peel Stop primer will give your new paint a drastically longer life span.

Zinsser Peel Stop Technical Data Sheet.


Saturday 30th of September 2023

I never used this product and am a painter for 35 years. So dumb question. It's getting Fall I was wondering does surface have to be bo e dry or can it dry for couple days after pressure washing or can it be almost not noticeable little damp

Ryan Cunningham

Wednesday 18th of October 2023

Honestly, I've never painted over a damp surface nor do I think I would try. I'd wait for it to dry out. Always better safe than sorry.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Hi Ryan, Excellent article. Thanks for putting this together.

I used Peel Stop on some stain that had peeled. I scraped and sanded what was loose a few days ago, hosed and brushed the area and after it dried a few days brushed on a coat of Peel Stop.

Today I brushed on a coat of acrylic stain. In some areas I can still see the ridged areas that had peeled. I'm guessing I didn't do a thick enough layer of Peel Stop?

Can I brush on another coat of Peel Stop over my coat of stain after it has dried to, hopefully, even out the edges, followed by another coat of stain?

Will this be adding too many layers on top of each other causing it to likely peel again next year?

Thanks! Catherine

PS,,, Working with Peel Stop is amazing! I love how it goes on. I can see why you choose to use it for all your projects! I will too!!

Ryan Cunningham

Wednesday 18th of October 2023

Peel stop is amazing, but it is not meant to cover alligatoring (seeing the ridges from the old peeling paint). Peel stop prevents future peeling. Getting rid of alligatoring sadly involves lots of elbow grease. Sand sand sand.

David Golding

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

Outstanding article! Thank you so much for this level of detail. After agonizing (I’m being a bit dramatic) over what type of primer to buy for my old metal porch roof I went with this. I was concerned about how well it would work and time will tell. But your review gives me hope that I made the right choice. Thanks again!


Monday 27th of September 2021

Thanks for the compliment David! Good luck on your project!


Thursday 16th of September 2021

Can it be used over a peeling oil base top coat then a new latex top coat be used?


Monday 27th of September 2021



Monday 21st of June 2021

Hi Ryanc I have read your very informative review on peel stop, thank you for that. I do have a question though..can it be used on an old sandstone step thats a getting a bit powdery lately? I have tried a sealer previously and then painted it, but unfortunately the mainsonary paint i used did start to peel the following year. I do intend to paint it again, any advice I will be very grateful for. Thank you, Gina


Monday 5th of July 2021

Hi Gina,

I have never used Peel Stop on flooring in that way before, so I cannot say for certain how it would hold up. If it were me, I would go ahead and use it but then make sure to top coat with a porch and floor paint that is made for foot traffic. Make sure to clean the steps as thoroughly as possible first. Good Luck!