How to Use Kilz Painting Oil Base as a Primer

Updated February 21, 2017

Kilz makes a number of oil based primers formulated to seal in tough stains and keep them from bleeding through the top paint layer. Kilz Original primer seals in water, smoke and pet stains. Kilz Complete primer blocks stains and seals surfaces. Kilz Odorless primer dries quickly, stains and seals without permeating the area with paint fumes. Kilz Upshot aerosol stains and seals ceilings and cabinet undersides with a vertical spray applicator. Only use oil-based paints on oil-based primers. For the best results, use Kilz oil-based paint as a topcoat.

Wash the surface that you intend to prime with trisodiumphosphate (TSP) powder, diluted in water according to the manufacturer's instructions, and a scrub brush. Rinse twice. Wipe dry with a cloth and allow further air drying overnight.

Scrape off any loose paint layers with a paint scraper.

Scuff sand the surface with a fine grit sponge sanding pad. Only sand enough to roughen the surface or remove any gloss. Wipe away the sanding dust with tack cloth once you are finished.

Stir the primer thoroughly with a paint paddle before use. If you do not think you will need the whole can (one can covers roughly 300 to 400 square feet), pour the amount you will need in a separate plastic container. Dipping the brush in the main supply will contaminate it.

Apply one thin coat of primer with a paint brush, roller or paint sprayer.

Allow the coat to dry for one hour. If any stains are still visible through the primer layer, apply a second coat on top of the first (but not before one hour has elapsed).

Clean spills, and tools with white spirit.


Kilz oil-based primer is designed for use on most interior surfaces: wood, drywall, plaster, panelling, wallpaper, masonry, brick, painted metal and glossy surfaces. It is not recommended for flooring or exterior surfaces. Masonry cured for less than 90 days must be primed with Kilz Premium or Kilz Odorless primer. Kilz oil-based primers can be tinted with up to two ounces of universal colourant per gallon of primer. Do not use Kilz Odorless primer to prime mildew-prone surfaces.

Things You'll Need

  • Trisodiumphosphate (TSP) powder
  • Scrub brush
  • Cloth
  • Paint scraper
  • Fine-grit sponge sanding pad
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint sprayer
  • Plastic container
  • Paint paddle
  • White spirit
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.