The Best Oil Based Primer: Latex Painting & More

So, you have decided to tackle a painting project in and around the house, and you may be wondering what the best oil-based primer may be to suit your specific needs, and why you may need it.

As the saying goes, ‘never ask a paint to do a primers job!’, and I will give you some ideas as to why that is. Before painting, it is recommended that you use a good primer or primer/sealer to cover the existing coat of paint.

The reason for this is simple. Primer will stick better to old paint than new paint does. Further than that, applying a quality primer will help to prevent the new paint from looking blotchy and will create a more even sheen.

Primer creates a consistently smooth layer for even spreading of the paint, and gives the paint something to bind to. Furthermore, using a primer before painting will ensure that your paint looks and wears better. Let’s now review some of the best oil-based primers out there.

Rust-Oleum 03504 Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Cover Stain

Rust-Oleum 03504 Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer

Manufactured in the United States, this oil based stain killing primer/sealer is guaranteed to add some extra shine to the paint that you choose to use. Its high-holding formula blocks out most stains, and helps conceal water, smoke and nicotine stains.

 Zinsser Cover-Stain is ideal for interior and exterior surfaces, and is perfect for new, remodeling, or repainting work.

It dries quickly on interior surface and sands easily, providing flexibility on an array of surface materials.

This primer further helps enamel undercoating performance and aids in delivering full penetration on exterior surfaces.

KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior Oil-Based Primer/Sealer

KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior Oil-Based Primer:Sealer

KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Oil-Based Primer covers existing stains and odors, as well as helping to prevent new stains and odors, and prevents mildew. It blocks most stains, including: water, smoke, tannin, ink, pencil, felt marker and grease.

This primer effectively seals pet and smoke odors, and its versatility allows it to be used on most interior surfaces, such as wood, drywall, plaster, paneling, wallpaper, masonry, brick, painted metals and properly prepared glossy surfaces.

This product is not recommended for use on flooring and wearing eye protection during use is suggested. KILZ Original dries to the touch in 30 minutes, and is perfect for walls and ceilings with mild to medium stains, after existing mildew has been removed.

The 1-Gallon can cover an area of around 300 square feet, and can be applied using a brush, sprayers, or a roller.

Rust-Oleum 272479 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Spray Primer

Rust-Oleum 272479 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Spray Primer

Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Spray Primer is an all-purpose, high-performance primer that can be used for both interior and exterior applications. This oil-based primer is great for residential, commercial and industrial purposes, and provides 20% greater coverage, ensuring a longer life and better quality for your top coats.

It can be used on new or previously painted concrete, drywall, wood, masonry, gloss or difficult surfaces, and metal. The oil-based formula seals uniformly and provides a smooth, white finish.

It has been further designed to block imperfections with only one coat, and will stick to any surface without the need for sanding. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 covers an area of 12 square feet and dries to the touch in just 30 minutes.

Furthermore, it has excellent stain blocking properties and can be used over any oil or Latex topcoat, which makes this primer great for latex painting over an oil-based primer.

Rust-Oleum Corporation 03609 Cover Stain Oil-Based Primer, 16 Ounce

Rust-Oleum Corporation 03609 Cover Stain Oil Base Primer

The Zinsser Cover Stain Oil-Based Primer is great for blocking Cedar and Redwood bleed and is an excellent exterior wood sealer. It’s great for sealing water, smoke and nicotine stains, drying to the touch in just 1 hour.

Zinsser Cover Stain sticks to all surfaces, and surfaces need not be sanded for cohesion before use. This primer is a whole-house primer/sealer and is a favorite among professional.

Used to hide dark stains and prevent tannin bleed, while at the same time providing deep penetration to ensure an amazing seal to exterior wood, making this product a great oil-based exterior primer.

A stain killing primer/sealer all-in-one finish that comes with a vertical aerosol for all overhead and professional projects.


Of all the oil-based primers out on the market today, these four have surely proven themselves worthy of being trusted partners in your next DIY or painting project.

Saving countless hours of washing walls and tough stain removal will surely help you save valuable time and money, stretching your paint and protecting surfaces against stains, mildew and unsightly wood bleeding and tannins.

I hope that this informative glance at these oil-based primers will help you when choosing the best oil-based primer for your next big project. Good luck!

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