Best Exterior Wood Primer
As of 2020, the longest lasting exterior primer is the Sherwin Williams® slow-dry oil-based primer. The slow-dry action of this primer increases adhesion through extended bonding time. This primer can be either rolled or sprayed and back-rolled.
Pros: Highly adhesive. Block stains and tanning.
Cons: Slow drying. Requires pressure from a roller or brush to penetrate. Not homeowner grade. Difficult to apply. Not water clean-up
Best interior primer: millwork
Millwork that is stained/varnished requires oil-based primer. While it still requires the varnished to be etched using very fine sand paper, Cover Stain Classic Oil 100 is our #1 choice. This product adheres extremely well to sanded doors, baseboards, cabinets, and other previously unpainted interior surfaces.
Pros: Highly adhesive. Block stains and tanning. Fast drying. Once dry, it sands smooth.
Cons: Toxic formula. Very thick and difficult to apply. Requires high-pressure paint sprayers Not water clean-up
Sealing New texture or new sheetrock
We lean away from the standard sheetrock sealer, also known as PVA. PVA is basically the cheapest form of sealant - absolute minimum required. As standard interior water-based primer does a much better job of sealing new texture/sheetrock. Our favorite right now is the Zinsser® SmartPrime®.
Pros: Excellent hide (it blocks and seals virtually anything). Water-based. Low odor.
Cons: Best suitable for walls and ceilings. May not adhere to surfaces previously painted with semigloss or gloss sheen.
Sealing rusty pipes
Rust tends to bleed through most primer and paints. For rusty pipes, after sanding and cleaning, we use the mother of primers - Shellac-based BIN spray can.
Pros: Adhesion 10/10. Blocks all stains guaranteed.
Cons: Highly toxic and flammable. Foul smell. Toxic fumes. Use only in extreme situations where other primers have failed.
When painting over walls & ceilings previously painted with high-sheen paints
If your walls and ceilings are currently painted with semi-gloss, gloss, or high-gloss sheen, you must prime before changing color. For this application, we like any fast drying oil based primer. KILZ Premium 3 is an excellent choice for most situations. .
Pros: Adhesion 10/10. Blocks all stains guaranteed. Sticks to high-sheen previous coats perfectly.
Cons: Toxic fumes. Paint-thinner smell.