Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (2023)

Wood paneling gives your home a warm and welcoming atmosphere. However, this decorative element can have the opposite effect if it looks outdated and worn. So you may want to give your wood paneling a new look by covering it with fresh paint. In most cases you will need to prime the walls before applying the paint to ensure better adhesion, a smoother finish and to ensure the paint stays on the walls longer.Therefore, you can look for the best wood panel primers to prepare the veneer for finishing.

our choice

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (1)

Zinsser cover patch

The best primer for wood panels.

Extend the life and improve durability of paint finishes by providing a basecoat proven to provide superior adhesion to a wide range of coatings, even complex surfaces and substrates.
Read the full review.

So take a look at this review when you decide to paint the wood paneling in your home. You will find some of the most decent products to suit your restoration project. I will review both water based and oil based primers to give you a better idea of ​​which one will best suit your needs.

Comparison table for wood panel primer

NameSize, fluid ouncestype of colorUsetype of executionAnalyse
Zinsser cover patchoverall better12,0oilInside OutsidemateAnalyse
Rust-oleum marine coatings32,0oilInside OutsidemateAnalyse
KILZ primer32,0watercolorInside OutsideSpiegelAnalyse
General remarks128watercolorInside OutsideSpiegelAnalyse
Zinsser B-I-N advanced32,0watercolorInside OutsidemateAnalyse

How to choose a primer for wooden panels?

Which primer color to choose?

When choosing a color board primer, it's a good idea to spend more time researching which color will work best for your project. For example, you need to buy onewhite primerif you want to achieve a solid base for light tones. A clear primer is a good option if you want to see the wood through the paint. A gray base is great for darker colors. You will find other color options as well, but make sure you get the shade that is closest to your new color.

What type of primer to choose for panels?

In addition to the color selection, you will also find a wide range of primer types. For example, you can find a water-based wood paneling primer that dries quickly and is known to be more people-friendly, releasing significantly fewer odors and harmful VOCs than an oil-based primer. A water-based primer is easy to clean but may offer limited coverage. In contrast, oil-based primers are great for sealing old paint or stains, but they emit a high amount of VOCs. These primers also do not reinforce the grain, resulting in a smooth wood texture.

Which primer to choose for wood paneling?

It's all about the look of your wood panel. So you have to think about what finish you want for the primer. You can find a clear primer that doesn't affect the finish of the paint. Consider a matte primer for situations where you need a solid base for your project as they lack shine. If you want to enhance the paint job and get a smooth finish, a glossy primer will help. Finally, there are semi-gloss primers that create a slight reflection to give the color a deeper feel.

How I tested wood panel primers

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (2)

I tested all of the primers on my list on separate wallcoverings to get a better idea of ​​how they applied and what finish and opacity they gave. Before testing, I sanded the panels to remove texture imperfections and ensure better adhesion.

The best primer for wood panel revisions

article navigation

  • Oil based primers.
    • Zinsser cover patch- better overall.
    • Original KILZ.
    • Rust-oleum marine coatings.
  • Water-based primers.
    • KILZ primer.
    • General remarks.
    • Zinsser B-I-N Avanzado.

Oil based primers

Zinsser cover patch- better overall

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (3)

Turns out you need to cover the stained wood? Sounds like an easy task for Zinsser Cover Stain, the ultimate panel primer. The oil-based nature of this product provides a thick, smooth coverage and allows it to target watermarked surfaces, smoke damage, and nicotine stains.

This white tintable stain blocker sticks to almost any surface without sanding. In this respect it is similar to the KILZ Original Primer. However, Zinsser Cover Stain is suitable for both interior and exterior projects. Therefore it is more versatile. Use it for new construction, renovations or finishing work - any project that requires a primer.

(Video) Best Oil Based Primer for Wood - Top 5 picks

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (4)

Whether you need to prepare a small or large area, you can choose from different sizes (1 liter, 1 gallon, 5 gallons) to meet your needs. I must admit that this primer dries very quickly. However, the smell is not what you like about this product, it is intense. Luckily, the smell dissipates quickly, so using this primer indoors is not a problem.

When looking for the best wood panel primer, you should therefore pay attention to the Zinsser covering glaze. It is versatile, has a number of serious advantages over the competition and is perfect for any wood.

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
  • The thick, oil-based texture provides thick coverage of blemishes.
  • It can be applied to surfaces without sanding.
  • It dries quickly.
In contrast
  • The smell is intense.


Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (5)

When looking for a suitable stain protection primer for indoor use, there is hardly a primer that performs better than KILZ Original. This oil-based primer is suitable for offices, schools, homes or dining rooms.

Unlike Zinsser Cover Stain, another oil-based primer on my list, this product emits less odor. Also, thanks to the fast odor evacuation technology, you won't notice any lingering odors that could cause headaches or other discomfort. Nevertheless, I recommend airing the room, as this product is not completely odorless.

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (6)

This formula is suitable for wood paneling, painted metal, wallpaper, brick, plaster and other difficult surfaces. It sticks very well, but it's not like thatdicklike other petroleum products. I had to apply three coats of this foundation to get the desired effect. However, the paint settled well and no stains were observed on the wall panels.

Due to the slightly watery texture, you may need more primer than usual. So carefully consider the size of your can so you have enough primer to cover the surface: a quart, a gallon, or five.

KILZ Original Low Odor Formula is a great solution for interior projects. The smell dissipates quickly, while the primer covers stains with little effort.

main specifications
  • Size, fluid ounces: 33.3.
  • Ink Type: Oil
  • The color white.
  • Finish: wood, metal.
  • Usage: Inside.
  • Finish Type: Matt
  • Suitable for indoor projects due to the mild fragrance.
  • An oil-based foundation that covers blemishes.
  • It works as a good base for painting.
  • Fits in various sizes: quart, gallon, five.
In contrast
  • It's not entirely odorless.
  • A watery texture allows you to use more primer than usual.
(Video) PAINT PRIMER GUIDE | Which Primer Should You Use? | How to Choose Paint

Rust-oleum marine coatings

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (7)

Consider a primer from Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings when you want to give wood paneling or fiberglass elements in your interior a new shine. It improves the shine and appearance of surfaces to ensure your restoration project delivers the desired results.

Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Primer provides a durable, weather-resistant finish to wood paneling. Therefore, it is suitable for areas that occasionally come into contact with water, such as. B. bathroom or kitchen. This property distinguishes Rust-Oleum marine coatings from KILZ Original, which is well suited for interior wood coatings.

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (8)

This product is available in one can size - liter but you can get a pack of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 cans to provide enough primer for your project.

The primer is thick so it can settle to the floor. So you may needMixcarefully with a drill to ensure smooth coverage. I left the window open when I primed the wall with Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings as the odor was strong. But it dries quickly and gives the paint a nice finish.

Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Primer prepares your wood panels for painting. It's thick and covers the places you want to seal.

main specifications
  • Size, fluid ounces: 32.0.
  • Ink Type: Oil
  • The color white.
  • Finish: wood, fiberglass.
  • Use: indoor/outdoor.
  • Finish Type: Matt
  • Suitable for fiberglass and wood.
  • It can be applied in high humidity environments.
  • A thick texture ensures full coverage.
In contrast
  • The smell is strong, so ventilate the room well.

Water-based primers

KILZ primer

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (9)

If you are looking for high paint adhesion on wood paneling, there is a good option for you: KILZ Haftgrund.

Similar to General Finishes Primer, this is a water based product. However, KILZ Adhesion has been specifically designed for use on difficult to paint surfaces such as tile, glass, fiberglass, brick,Limestone colour, and more. So you can use it for a variety of projects without the need for sanding. However, it is best not to apply this primer to floors or horizontal surfaces that will be exposed to prolonged contact with water.

KILZ Adhesion Primer is white so it will cover any blemishes or darker color you want to hide. You can buy it in quarts and gallons.

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (10)

Its use gives the wooden panels a very nice finish. If you are coating plates for the first time or want to hide stains, you may need to apply two coats of this primer. As a rule, however, one coat of primer is sufficient to prepare the surface for further finishing work.

When I received the KILZ Adhesion Primer it leaked and part of the product was gone. Also, the can was completely dented, which explains the leak problem. Luckily, it doesn't have any strong odors, so it's safe to use indoors.

Despite this small packaging error (no fault of the manufacturer), KILZ Haftgrund works very well. In my opinion this is the best primer for old wood or other hard to work surfaces that need an extra layer of adhesion before painting.

(Video) Best Exterior Oil Based Primer [Top 5 Reviews] - How to Pick a Primer Paint | Exterior Primer Paint

main specifications
  • Size, fluid ounces: 32.0.
  • Painting type: watercolor.
  • The color white.
  • Finish: wood, metal, vinyl, glass.
  • Use: indoor/outdoor.
  • Finish Type: Gloss.
  • Specially formulated for difficult to paint surfaces.
  • Provides good stain coverage.
  • No strong odors for safe indoor use.
  • Gives the surface a smooth white finish for subsequent paint application.
In contrast
  • No obvious defects found.

General remarks

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (11)

Meet a General Finishes primer, a product that does much more than just prepare the surface for painting. While you can use it as a primer to ensure better adhesion and a smoother paint application, General Finishes can also be used as a formula to protect pigmented surfaces from staining. Due to this property, General Finishes achieves the status of an all-purpose primer and can be used in many ways alongside KILZ Adhesion.

This water-based stain blocking primer is designed for interior projects. Simply brush or spray over an existing surface, bare wood or MDF to protect the surface or prepare it for a later coat of paint.

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (12)

General Finishes Primer is available in liters and gallons. Quart-sized cans are metal, while you're more likely to get plastic jars if you buy a gallon-sized primer.

This primer is easy to apply, but I recommend sanding the wood before application to avoid smearingbrush strokes. It may not be the ideal choice if you want to cover up dark color. Even after two shifts, you could still see significant bleeding. However, the smell is bearable, which is good for families with children and pets.

If you want to protect the finish from stains and dirt, General Finishes Primer does a great job. It also effortlessly prepares wood paneling for painting, smoothes the surface and conceals small imperfections.

main specifications
  • Size, fluid ounces: 128
  • Painting type: watercolor.
  • The color white.
  • Surface: wood, plastic, metal.
  • Use: indoor/outdoor.
  • Finish Type: Gloss.
  • It can be used to refresh a frequently soiled surface.
  • It comes in quarts and gallons.
  • It doesn't smell bad, the smell is bearable.
In contrast
  • You must sand the wood to prevent planing.
  • Cannot cover darker inks or stubborn stains.

Zinsser B-I-N advanced

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (13)

When you need to cover up odors or seal stains, a Zinsser B-I-N Advanced primer comes to your rescue. It has better sealing properties than traditional finishes, so you can expect it to block smoke, cigar, cigarette, pet and food odors and hide water stains, rust stains, graffiti, crayons, grease, smoke stains and more. . It also works great on indoor and outdoor surfaces. You can use the primer in new construction or renovations.

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (14)

(Video) Buy The RIGHT Primer

This synthetic shellac-based primer is white in color and available in multiple doses (quart, 1 gallon, 5 gallon). However, it may take some time to get used to the application. Unlike the thick KILZ Adhesion Primer, this one is liquid, almost like water. Therefore, you need to apply it in a thin layer. Also, it dries quickly so you need to work fast as you will quickly develop skin on unused foundation.

This is one of the few finish primers and odor blockers for stained wood that will get the job done without complaint. The coverage is good and the smell of the primer doesn't knock you out.

main specifications
  • Size, fluid ounces: 32.0.
  • Painting type: watercolor.
  • The color white.
  • Finish: wood, metal.
  • Use: indoor/outdoor.
  • Finish Type: Matt
  • Advanced odor and stain blocking formula.
  • It is available in a variety of can sizes: quart, 1 gallon, 5 gallon.
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor projects.
In contrast
  • Very runny and watery so application can be more difficult.

How do you varnish wooden panels?

Top 5 Primers for Wood Panels [Oil and Water Based] (15)

If you're looking to give your wood panel a fresher look, you've come to the right placethe tips to help you paint this decorative element in your homevery easy.

Before proceeding with painting, you must first clean the wall panels. Dust and oily fingerprints can prevent paint from adhering, so it's best to remove dust or other contaminants from the plates. Make sure that no nails stick out of the wall. Remove nails or hanging objects to ensure a smooth surface. Also the temporary removal of sockets.

Next, I recommend sanding the wood panels lightly. This ensures that the wood panel primer forms a strong bond with the primer, allowing the paint to adhere better and last longer.

Before proceeding to apply the primer, cover doors or other items with drop cloths and tape to protect against spills. Then apply a thin layer of primer with a roller. A foam sponge roller cover helps you achieve a nice, smooth finish with no orange peel effect.

Two coats of primer are usually sufficient to prepare wood paneling for painting. Be sure to let the primer dry completely before coloring.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many primers do I need for wood paneling?

It all depends on the type of foundation you use. Wood paneling usually requires two primers.

Can I use drywall primer on wood paneling?

Yes, you can use drywall primer on wood paneling. This helps seal the wood's porous surface and also provides a base for the paint to adhere to. However, remember that if there are any damaged or rotten areas, it is better to repair them before applying the primer.

Is it possible to paint wooden panels without a primer?

It is possible to paint wood paneling without a primer, but it is not recommended. The primer helps create a smooth surface for paint to adhere to and can help prevent paint from peeling or chipping. If you choose to skip the primer, use a quality paint designed for use on wood.


What primer for wood paneling? ›

When painting for wood paneling, choose either a stain-blocking latex primer or an oil-based primer. Apply a thin coat of primer with a roller. Use a brush to fill in any grooves. Allow the primer to dry a full 24 hours before painting over it.

What is the best water based wood primer? ›

Berger Water Based Universal Primer is a water based primer with universal applicability on metal, wood and concrete substrates. It has good spreading and substrate wetting properties and excellent adhesion to all types of substrates.

Which is better oil or water based primer? ›

Water based primer is usually used for walls and ceilings where there is new work and preparation is required, and oil based primer is primarily used for doors, windows, metal or woodwork. Enamel is hardier so surfaces that require heavy traffic or exposure to the elements are usually painted in enamel.

Can I use water-based primer on wood paneling? ›

Prime the Wood

Make sure to cover the entire surface, including any trim. It's best to use an oil-based primer or a water-based stain-blocking primer. These will prevent any grease or wood stains from coming through and ruining your paint job.

How many coats of primer do I need for wood paneling? ›

Two thin primer coats are normally sufficient. Check your can of primer for instructions on exactly how long to wait between coats.

Which primer is better kilz or Zinsser? ›

Conclusion. In our Zinsser vs Kilz primer comparison, Zinsser came on top in terms of odor, bleed-through prevention, and adhesion. Since Kilz Original is oil-based and won't paint on galvanized metal surfaces, Zinsser is more of the multi-purpose paint primer between the two.

How do I choose the right primer? ›

Look for primers with words like “hydrating,” “soothing,” or “replenishing.” Pick a mattifying primer if you have oily skin. If you struggle with excess oil and shine, you want to combat this with your primer. To do so, your best bet is a great mattifying primer that will reduce your skin's oil production.

Which Zinsser primer is best for bare wood? ›

Zinsser 123 is great for surfaces that are easier to adhere to and has low odour. Zinsser Cover Stain provides durability and adhesion on glossy glossy surfaces. It's especially good on raw wood or MDF removing the risk of swelling that you could get with the water based 123 primer.

Is Zinsser primer oil or water based? ›

The high-hiding, oil-base formula effectively seals and blocks difficult-to-coat stains – even stains that bleed through ordinary primers.

Can you put oil based primer over water based primer? ›

You can use an oil-based primer on top of a water-based primer. You can use oil-based primer on water-based paint.

Is oil based primer better for wood? ›

Oil-based primers are ideal for interior and exterior unfinished or bare wood because they seal the porous surface of wood, enabling the coat of paint to better cover the surface. They stop tannins, released from woods, such as cedar or redwood, from bleeding through the surface of the paint.

Can you use Kilz primer on wood paneling? ›

Offering excellent adhesion and durability, KILZ Original Interior | Exterior can be used on wood, drywall, plaster, stucco, brick, masonry, paneling and more.

Do you need to prime wood panels before painting? ›

So once you purchase a wood panel you need to do two important steps before painting: seal to keep out moisture, and then prime to strengthen adhesion between the paint and wood panel.

What kind of paint do you use to paint wood paneling? ›

When painting wood wall paneling, you can choose between water-based or oil-based paints. For most interior wall painting applications, water-based acrylic/latex paints are a good choice. Water-based latex paint cleans up with water, is less smelly, and dries quickly.

Can you prime wood paneling without sanding? ›

Contrary to many popular methods that you might have found on the internet, you do NOT need to sand or de-gloss the paneling (unless it's like a super mirror finish – but most are not). Also, this can be done in only 2 coats total, including the primer!


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