Don’t Apply Kilz Primer on Floors (Here’s Why)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

You can use any paint and primer on your floor, except Kilz primer. Why?

You shouldn’t use Kilz primer on your floor because doesn’t have a glossy finish and doesn’t protect them from high foot traffic and heavy use.

However, you can use it on strong and durable floors, such as concrete or tiles. because they don’t need much protection.

What is Kilz Primer?

Kilz is an oil-based thick paint primer. You can use it to seal stains and imperfections and to prevent bleed-through on porous surfaces.

It’s designed with a flat (and no sheen), meaning that it has a dry textured finish. This is the main reason Kilz isn’t recommended for flooring. The textured finish isn’t strong enough to withstand heavy usage and high foot traffic.

If Kilz is Applied Over Floors:

If applied over a floor, Kilz will adhere properly to it. That’s because this primer is designed with impressive adhesive qualities. However, it won’t protect it because Kilz is a primer and not a finish.

So, this primer is used on a floor as a base coat and not as a final coat, so you must apply paint and a sealer over it to protect it. Leaving only the Kilz primer on a floor isn’t enough to protect it.

Also, its dry textured finish attracts dust and debris. So, you must properly clean it before applying new paint over it. If you don’t, the dust will prevent the new paint from sticking. This leads to a sticky finish.

Types Of Flooring That You Can Use Kilz On

You can apply Kilz primer on floors that are strong and durable as they can handle high foot traffic without a primer or sealer.

  1. Concrete Floors

Concrete floors are strong and tough as they are made from a combination of concrete, sand, and other durable materials. As such, concrete floors by design can’t be damaged easily. So, you can use Kilz on concrete floors.

However, Kilz won’t dry to form a glossy layer on the concrete. Instead, its coating will be textured, so it can be easily stained. So you will need frequent cleaning.

  1. Tiled Floors

You can also use Kilz on tiled floors because they are strong and moisture-resistant. So the floor is tough enough to handle the high foot traffic and usage.

However, Kilz coating won’t last long on a tiled floor. That’s because the Kilz isn’t a floor finish and can’t withstand the constant foot traffic. Also, it won’t adhere well to it because tiles are slick and non-porous.

  1. Subfloors

Kilz primer is designed to be used on a subfloor. The subfloor is the foundation of your floor. You can apply it on the subfloor and it will prevent water from penetrating the floor from underneath.

  1. Composite Floors and Decks

You can also use it on composite decks.

Types Of Flooring You Can’t Use Kilz On

You shouldn’t use KIlz primer on weak and non-durable floors as they aren’t strong enough to withstand heavy use without a sealer. So, you must apply a glossy finish on these floors, not a Kilz primer coating.

  1. Wooden Floors

You shouldn’t use Kilz primer as the final coat on the wooden floor because it won’t the wooden surface from moisture and dents, which can cause the wood to rot. Also, the primer will prevent wood finishes from penetrating the floor surface and sticking.

  1. Outdoor Floors and Decks

You shouldn’t use Kilz primer for outdoor floors, such as decks. This is because outdoor floors are exposed to weather elements and moisture, and the primer won’t protect them from weather elements. Instead, you must apply a waterproof sealer over outdoor decks.

  1. Finished Floors

If the floor is already painted, you shouldn’t apply the primer unless you want a new finish. A Kilz primer over a painted surface will do more bad than good. However, if you want to paint over a finished floor, you must apply it to allow the new paint to stick.

Kilz Dry Time Before Floor Finish

Kilz must dry for one hour before applying a floor finish or paint over it. That’s because Kilz primer is oil-based and has a thick flow, so you must allow 1 hour for the solvent (oil) to dry.

If you re-coat too soon, the finish might turn sticky. That’s because the floor finish (or paint) won’t stick to a tacky or wet primer; this ruins the finish.

To know if the primer is dry enough for a re-coat, try sanding it with fine-grit sandpaper. If the sandpaper moves over the primer easily, it has dried enough, and you can re-coat it. But, if the sandpaper gets clogged, the primer is still wet and not dry enough for a re-coat.

Things To Know

Low Protection

Kilz primer doesn’t protect the floor from moisture or dents because it’s designed to seal surfaces and not protect them.

Not Waterproof

Kilz primer isn’t waterproof; at best it’s water-resistant. So, the primer must be used to prevent bleed-through and to provide a smooth surface for the new paint to stick to, but not for its water-resistant qualities.

However, Kilz has different types of primers and paints; some are waterproof.

Don’t Leave It Unpainted

You shouldn’t leave Kilz unpainted because it isn’t formulated with additives to make it thrive under heavy use or exposure to water. So, if left unpainted, it will get washed off.

Final Words

You shouldn’t use Kilz primer as a top (final) coat for floors because it isn’t strong enough to protect them. Also, Kilz primer prevents wood oils from penetrating a floor surface, preventing it from getting an amber-like finish.

You can use Kilz primer on subfloors or durable floors such as concrete. This is because these surfaces are durable and don’t need protection. Also, subfloors don’t need an oily finish as wood floors do.

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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