Top 5 Wood Panel Primers - Product Reviews - Toildrop Woodwork (2023)

Do you plan to paint your wood paneling? Unlike a traditional wall, painting a panel requires additional preparation. Interestingly, I still find people who skip sanding and skip primer. The fact that you're here means you understand the importance of a good primer for wood paneling and are willing to do whatever it takes to get a smooth, shiny finish. The cladding, like any other wooden element, can have some pores and veins that only disappear if it is treated systematically. Applying a good primer ensures that paint absorption is minimal and the final finish is aesthetically pleasing. In the next section, I'll describe the five best primers for wood coating and provide simple buying tips. Read the information to facilitate the purchase process.


  • The best primers for wood paneling
    • 1) Best primer for super rough fairings: Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1-Quart Bulls Eye Clear Shellac
    • 2) Best primer for aged/reclaimed wood paneling - STIX Water Based Primer - 5 gallons
    • 3) Best primer for pre-painted panels - KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer White 1 Gallon
    • 4) Best primer for unpainted wood paneling: Kilz Odorless Primer and Sealer
    • 5) Best Primer for Engineered Wood Panels - Rustins MDFS250 250ml Quick Drying MDF Sealer - Clear
  • Wood Panel Primer Buyer's Guide
    • a) Latex primer
    • b) beer primer
    • c) Pigmented shellac primer
    • The Best Primer for Wood Paneling: Choose Carefully
  • common questions
  • Diploma

Here is our list of the best primers for wood paneling.

1) Best primer for super rough fairings:Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1 Quart Bulls Eye Shellac transparente

Shellac primer is the ideal solution for rough surfaces, so I recommend Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1-Quart Bulls Eye Clear Shellac from the trusted manufacturer Rust-Oleum. With its natural and traditional finishing qualities, this primer can be just right for your super-rough wood panels.

While it's common practice to let the primer dry for 24 hours, this product dries in 45 minutes, allowing you to cover a lot of ground in a short time. It's easy to apply, whether you're applying the first coat or painting over it.

If the sign-up process doesn't convince you, the product content will. I say this because primer is one of the least toxic options you can find in this category. This item is all natural and alcohol based and can even be used for interior finishing.

As for the finish, there is a reason why the manufacturer calls the finish sealer and traditional sealer. It gives the fairing that admirable classic finish that oozes value. Thus, it goes through several projects along with wainscoting, including domestic and craft projects. You can even use it on some metals.

Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1-Quart Bulls Eye Clear Shellac comes in a 1 liter clear container and will transform even the roughest wood paneling. Get it for these qualities plus a good guarantee.

2) Best primer for reclaimed/aged wood panels -STIX Water Based Adhesive Primer - 5 GALON

Wood is a special material that can withstand hundreds of years of use with minimal care. Despite the deterioration that can occur, with a little preparation and priming, you can restore your wood with this trusty primer from INSL-X.

Applied after a good coat of linseed oil, this primer offers incredible adhesion. While there is no mention of how long this foundation takes to dry, it is obvious that it is easy to apply. It is also versatile as it can be applied to many types of wood as well as non-ferrous metals and drywall.

A look at the content information reveals a product that qualifies for LEED® v4 credit, qualifies for CHPS Low Emissions Credit, and is CDPH v1 Emissions Certified. This means that it can also be safely used for indoor applications. Offers excellent sagging, low odor and cures at just 35°F.

Once applied, this primer adheres exceptionally well to even the most demanding wood paneling surfaces. It is designed to offer unparalleled adhesion. You can freely combine the primer with a wide range of coatings, including epoxy, lacquer, and acrylic latex, to achieve your desired finish.

Now you can extend the usefulness of that aged wainscoting with this fantastic product that comes in a 5 gallon container.

3)The best primer for already painted wood panels:KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocker Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer, White, 1 gallon

A primer is also recommended for refinishing wood panels that have already been painted. Due to the unique challenge of preparing with the correct adhesion properties, KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer, White, 1 Gallon is ideal.

I found this thick and creamy formula easy to use as its consistency is perfect. Even if you apply it in occupied spaces, you don't have to worry because, firstly, it is easy to clean with soap and water, and secondly, it does not contain VOC solvents. You can paint over the primer after an hour.

In addition to being VOC free, this primer is low odor and dries quickly. Use anywhere wood paneling is available, even in high humidity areas like laundry rooms and bathrooms.

The primer is perfect for painted panels, as it perfectly hides minor imperfections. It gives the wood a smooth, even finish. It also blocks stains and resists mold growth in the wood. These qualities have made the brand popular with DIYers and experts alike for over 40 years.

Get the 1 gallon can of KILZ Premium Leather Stain Blocking Latex Primer/Sealer and you can cover up to 300-400 square feet of indoor and/or outdoor surface area.

4) Best primer for unpainted wood paneling:Kilz Primer and Odorless Sealer

If you haven't painted the trim yet and want the most user-friendly primer, see KILZ Odorless Interior Oil-Based Primer/Sealer/Stain Blocker, White, 1-Quart. Being an oil-based primer, being odorless is a plus if you ask me.

Plus, this primer dries in 1 hour, allowing you to get on with the painting process. As long as you've mixed the primer well, it's easy to apply by brush, roller, or even spray. If there is an odor, you can be sure it will disappear once the primer dries.

The odorless property is the highlight of this oil-based product. However, the fact that the primer blocks water, smoke, tannin, ink, pencil, marker, and grease stains so well, while also sealing in pet and smoke odors, is equally intriguing.

Prepare your unpainted wood panel professionally and apply the primer. As long as the surface is not prone to mold or mildew, I think this product will be just fine. It is suitable for a wide range of wood cladding for interiors in schools, homes, offices, etc.

It comes in an attractive 1 liter can and can cover 300 square feet per gallon.

5) Best primer for engineered wood panels:Rustins MDFS250 250ml Quick Drying MDF Sealer - Clear

A good example of engineered wood panels is medium density fiberboard (MDF). The challenge with this type of product is the high porosity, but you can simplify the painting process by using a specific primer for MDF, this transparent sealant from Rustins being ideal.

With good preparation of the MDF surface, the clear seal maintains these pores so that painting is done easily and effectively. It also dries quickly, within 1 hour. This allows you to quickly cover an important part of the project.

What I like most about this product is that you can varnish or paint it for a perfect finish. Use a regular sprayer or brush to apply to wood panels.

It comes in a 250ml container and weighs 5 ounces in total. I can fully recommend this primer for wood-based panels.

Any unpainted wood panel requires proper preparation before receiving its first coat of paint. In addition to cleaning and roughening the surface, priming is one of the most important preparations.

You might think it's not a good idea to prime until painted wood panels start to crack, chalk and peel even faster than a primed finish. There's no need to prep pre-painted wood paneling unless you're switching from latex to oil paint or vice versa. If the current color is deteriorating, you may need to prime as well.

Essentially, priming accomplishes two things:

  • blocks blemishes
  • Improves paint adhesion.

To do this, the wood siding primer must be high solids and strong. What kind of primer meets these two properties? Next, I will explain different types of primers so that we can identify the properties:

a) Latex primer

I would recommend this water based primer on drywall. Flexibility is reflected in drying speed and minimal susceptibility to cracking and flaking. I use it to prep my pine and other softwoods with amazing results. Advantages of primer are low chemical VOC content and ease of cleaning.

b) beer primer

I would call this kind of an industry standard. Because they are versatile, they are suitable for both latex and oil paints. In addition to wood paneling, this primer works well on metal walls, both exterior and interior. You can even use it on previously painted surfaces.

Another reason why this type is so popular is its ability to "pick out" stains so that subsequent coats of paint are not damaged. In addition, this primer perfectly seals porous wooden surfaces and allows the paint to better cover the surface. To combat redwood and other woods that release tannins, this strain is chosen.

On the other hand, the primer can take a while to dry. It also emits a significant amount of volatile chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

c) Pigmented shellac primer

Perhaps the oldest of the three primers, shellac is perfect for interior work. First, this primer is excellent at hiding stains, which is why you'll be using it on most smoke-damaged surfaces. It is ideal for wood, plastic, metal and many other materials. Unfortunately, the versatility is limited compared to the first two types.

The Best Primer for Wood Paneling: Choose Carefully

Here's a simple process to ensure you get the best primer for wood paneling:

  1. Check the type of wood for the cladding. Cedar and other redwood siding requires an oil-based primer. The oil particles in the primer prevent the red particles found in wood from bleeding through. Use it on this type of fairing and you will avoid discoloration problems of this type.
  2. If the wood panel shows signs of mildew, check the primer for zinc oxide and anti-mildew. Mildewcide kills spores while rust prevents them from reappearing after painting. You need this primer especially as different types of wood paneling are common in damp environments.
  3. I hope you already know what kind of paint you want to put on your fairing. It is necessary because it can determine the best primer for wood paneling. Some products can only match certain types of colors. Simply put, compatibility is required.
  4. VOCs such as formaldehyde are often present in primers, so you'll want to determine what level of volatility is acceptable. To avoid health complications, it is necessary to choose primers with the lowest percentages of these compounds, and this will be indicated in the reviews.
  5. Finally, regarding the price, I discovered one thing: the more expensive options are usually better. So don't be afraid to opt for more expensive options if your budget allows.

A quick scan shows that buyers ask some common questions such as: B. the following:

  • What is the best primer for wood paneling in wet areas?
  • Can I find a cheap wood panel primer?
  • What kind of ratings does this item receive on shopping sites?
  • What is the coverage of this primer?
  • Different primers have different applications?

Answering these questions before you buy will help you find the best product for your application.

The main function of a primer is to seal the pores before the layer of paint arrives. Varnishes give wood coatings the desired appearance and/or protection. I've listed five quality wood panel primers that are suitable for different circumstances, so I bet the search just got a lot easier now. If I had to single out one brand that is the best of the best, I would say that KILZ® Primers are my number one choice due to the many varieties offered and the low VOC levels. As not all primers are low VOC, wear protective masks when applying coats. For sealing outdoor wood products, I have written a special guide to get a goodwaterproof sealants.


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