5 Best Oil Based Primers For Wood – Step By Step Guide to Get Rid of Dullness

A primer is an amazing addition to compliment your paint job. You need to carefully select the best primer for your wood, which is why we have brought you this amazing guide to help you out!

When painting wooden furniture, most people concentrate on the paint kind or color. Most people ignore the type of primer they should be applying. Before the final coating, a primer is put on furniture as a layer of special paint.

Several kinds of primers are available on the market, making it difficult to choose the perfect one for your furniture.

Whether you are looking for the best oil-based or all-purpose primer, our post will propose the appropriate models and provide search points.

In addition, the purpose of the whole purchasing guide is to offer you maximum aid in locating an appropriate product. So use the shopping advice to your advantage and choose the most acceptable primer for your home.

What you will know about the best oil based primers for wood:

  • What are oil Based primers for wood, their advantages, and how to use them?
  • The best oil-based primers for wood you can find in the market.
  • Oil Based Primer VS Water Based Primer: Which One is Better?
  • Our top picks and most favorite oil-based primers paint for wood.

My Top Picks For Oil Based Primers For Wood

1. Zinsser Oil-based Primer

  • It prevents cedar and redwood bleed
  • Seals smoke, nicotine, and water stains
  • Adhere to all surfaces without the need for sanding
  • Dries in an hour.

2. Kilz Oil-based Exterior Primer

  • They are designed to adhere to various surfaces that are difficult to paint
  • Its sophisticated chemistry offers a solid foundation for topcoats while possibly decreasing or eliminating the need to sand thick glossy surfaces
  • On various indoor and outdoor surfaces.

3. Rust-Oleum Corporation GIDDS-800201 Oil Base Primer

  • Utilize it to avoid stains, conceal dark colors, reduce tannin bleed, and penetrate and seal exterior wood
  • Exterior and interior
  • Best exterior wood protectant
  • It prevents cedar and redwood bleed
  • Seals smoke, nicotine, and water stains
  • Adhere to all surfaces without the need for sanding.

Comparison Of The Best Oil Based Primers For Wood

1. Best Oil-Based Primer Exterior Wood Sealer- Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer

  • Unit/Quantity ‎1-Quart
  • Product Weight – ‎1.78 pounds
  • Finish – Matte
  • Check The Latest PriceHere

2. Best Oil-Based Exterior Primer For Wood- KILZ Adhesion Primer

  • Unit/Quantity 1-Quart
  • Product Weight 3.12 pounds
  • Finish – Glossy
  • Check The Latest PriceHere

3. Best Oil Based Primer Spray- Zinsser 3608 Cover Stain Oil Base Primer Spray

  • Unit/Quantity 13 oz
  • Product Weight ‎3.17 ounces
  • Finish – Flat
  • Check The Latest Price Here

Why Should You Use Oil-Based Primer?

Primers and paints based on oil have been the industry standard for decades. These primers are compatible with oil and latex paints, making them very flexible and adaptable to many surfaces.

Wood (painted or unpainted), steel, other metals, and surfaces with previous paint, such as interior and exterior walls, are suitable surfaces for oil-based primers.

Numerous oil-based primers are effective “stain killers” that keep stains from appearing through fresh paint layers. In addition, they are effective in protecting your walls from ink, nicotine, and water stains.

Oil-based primers are suitable for interior and exterior unfinished or bare wood because they seal the wood’s porous surface, allowing the paint to adhere better. They prevent tannins from woods such as cedar and redwood from leaking through the paint’s surface. In addition, they prevent or delay paint peeling, cracking, and blistering.

As with oil-based paints, oil-based primers have the disadvantage of slow-drying and emitting large quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It may be toxic to humans at high concentrations and with extended exposure.

In addition, you must use solid thinners and solvents to clean brushes and applicators, and they must be disposed of appropriately. Oil-based primers are not suitable for stone.

The primary distinction between the two primers is that water-based priming is used with acrylic or latex paints. In contrast, the oil-based primer is used with enamel paints. Walls and ceilings that need new work and preparation are often primed with a water-based primer. In contrast, oil-based primer is typically used for doors, windows, metal, and woodwork.

Enamel is more durable. Thus, surfaces subject to high traffic or the weather are often painted with enamel. On frames and doors, two coats of primer-undercoat colored to match the top coat of paint and one top coat of color; for acrylic, one coat of priming and two coats of paint. Most primers are primers, sealers, and undercoats, and they may be applied over previous acrylic or enamel.

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When Should You Use Oil-Based Primer?

Oil-based primers are selective regarding paint types. Oil-based Primers are best used as an undercoat for enamel, epoxy, and other oil-based paints.

Due to the high concentration of chemicals and VOCs in oil-based primers, it is best to apply them outside. If you use an oil-based primer inside, be careful to do it in a well-ventilated area. Otherwise, paint fumes and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may accumulate. In addition, oil-based primers are more robust and weather-resistant, making them better suited for the challenging external environment.

Due to the viscosity and chemical composition, oil-based primer is more effective in preventing stains and moisture from bleeding through the finished paint.

Dry oil-based primers have a more rigid consistency. In the primer coating, chemicals and binders provide a hard texture. Due to the dense texture, sanding is more challenging. In addition, once the priming layer has dried, it will be less probable to be able to shape it.

It is possible to apply oil-based primer over water-based primer. Oil-based primer as an overcoat for water-based primer or paint is also potential. Besides, a water-based primer may also be applied over an oil-based primer or paint.

Oil Based Primer VS Water Based Primer: Which One Is Better?

Water-based primer (latex primer) is an undercoat used for surface preparation before applying latex, acrylic, or other water-based paint.

Water-based primer, as its name implies, employs water as its solvent. This indicates that the primer is simple to clean and that no solvent is required. In addition, since the primer is water-based, the coating dries rapidly.

Water-based primers may be recoated in less than an hour with finish paint. In addition, the solvent’s water-based composition allows it to be used with both water-based and oil-based paints.

Primers based on water are often used to prepare surfaces for painting. Water-based primers may be sanded or shaped easily to get the required finish. In addition, this primer has a low VOC (volatile organic compound) content, resulting in fewer paint fumes.

An oil-based primer is a kind of undercoat that includes a significant amount of oil. Primers based on oil seal glossy or oil-based paints resist stains and prevent color bleed-through.

Oil-based paint prevents stains because it contains shellac-like ingredients and is naturally a thick primer.

Primers based on oil are uncommon on surfaces that need preparation, such as sanding. This is because the dried primer covering is often inflexible and rigid. Therefore, sanding or forming it without harming the primer covering would be challenging.

Oil-based primer has one disadvantage, however. The primer is reported to have a high concentration of paint ingredients and volatile organic compounds, causing it to emit an objectionable stench when employed.

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How To Choose The Best Oil-based Primers For Wood | Buying Guide

Continuing with the oil-based primer evaluation, let’s examine the procedure for locating the ideal product. This section intends to assist expert and novice painters to find the most effective oil-based primers.

1. Color

The primer is applied before the actual paint. Therefore, choosing a hue that will not impart any undertones to the primary paint layer is essential.

As shown in the review, primers are either white or gray. These light and neutral hues are chosen because they do not change the object’s color on which paint must be placed.

Primers are applied to walls and wooden surfaces, including cabinets and other wooden surfaces in the home. Therefore, be picky and choose just the best neutral-colored exterior oil-based primer.

2. Coverage

A primer’s capacity to conceal stains makes it worth purchasing. Therefore, this is one of the most significant characteristics to consider before buying an oil-based primer.

Technically speaking, the paints must cover all stains. However, paints are not very durable, and most fade off quickly. Therefore, primers are applied to surfaces before the application of paint to improve its age and give more excellent coverage.

A word of caution: it is vital to eliminate stains rather than conceal them. Primers are effective in maintaining the integrity of walls, but they cannot repair structural damage.

You should never apply primer to damp sheetrock until it is dried. Using a primer on a damp wall will cause more damage. In addition, you will lose all the money you would have spent on paint.

There is one additional factor of enormous relevance in coverage. It is the region that a particular primer covers. Typically, one gallon of primer will cover between 300 and 400 square feet.

Primers are also available in spray bottles. However, they have worse coverage compared to paint-like primers.

3. Capacity

The oil-based primers are available in various-sized canisters. Based on its utility, one should purchase primers. You may get primer containers ranging from 0.10- to 5 gallons.

Buying and storing primers at home is not recommended due to their short shelf life. However, it is prudent to acquire sufficient primer when the need arises.

4. Smell

Some primers have a harsh odor that is unpleasant to breathe. While all primers smell to some degree, no one wants to purchase one with a pungent stench that causes respiratory difficulties.

In such cases, low-odor primers are available for purchase. These primers are pricey, but they are worth the cost since they pose no health risks.

In addition, most primers specify whether they are intended for indoor or outdoor usage. However, the majority of those intended for outdoor use emit strong odors. Therefore, such primers are not advised for enclosed settings.

As previously stated, all primers emit a faint odor. Ensure you are working in a well-ventilated environment to decrease the number of fumes you inhale.

5. Drying Time

Nobody has a whole day to wait for the primer to dry. Therefore, primers typically must dry rapidly so that the remainder of the day’s work may be completed without delay.

Different primer brands have varying drying times. However, the majority of primers dry within 30 to 60 minutes. Additionally, you should ensure that the primer you are purchasing dries quickly.

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Which Is The Best Oil-Based Primer For Wood

1. Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Oil Primer Sealer

The Zinsser 03504 Best Oil-Based Primer Exterior Wood Sealer is among the finest for novices. This formulation is a fantastic option if you’re unsure where your next job will take you. It also lends a touch of sheen to whatever paint you choose, so your work will have a bit more oomph even if you’re new to this endeavor. It is ideal for novices, even if they are sanded poorly or not sanded at all.

Even better, it’s reasonably priced, which is a lot in the world of primers. You won’t want to miss out on this chance for your future endeavor since this formulation offers an excellent return on investment. Unfortunately, mold and mildew resistance is not a feature of this primer. So if you live in an area where that is an issue, you will need to apply an additive or purchase a different brand.

Special Features

  • First, it is for both indoors and outdoors
  • It adheres nicely to most surfaces
  • This primer is affordable
  • It is also the best primer for novices.

What I Liked In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • For Interior/Exterior usage
  • Good for beginners
  • Reasonably priced.

What I Didn’t Like In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Not resistant to mold.

2. KILZ Oil-Based Exterior Primer

The KILZ Oil-Based Primer characterizes interior priming projects as the best oil-based exterior primer for wood. It is an ancient brand that experts have used for decades and has improved over time. As a result, it performs a superb job of concealing stains in its current use. In addition, if your walls have been damaged by seeping water, this primer ensures that the final coat of paint will appear the same on damaged and undamaged walls.

For the best results, let it cure fully for a couple of days. Additionally, it is suitable for most wall surfaces, including brick, masonry, and painted metals, with which other primers struggle. When you purchase this brand, you get the most excellent primer on the market, despite its strong odor until it dries.

Special Features

  • Water-damaged materials may emit foul odors, but this compound also neutralizes pet and smoking odors that have permeated walls over time
  • This primer dries in 30 minutes and is ready to paint over in as little as an hour
  • Not only does this primer looks fabulous, but it prevents odors.

What I Liked In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Blocks stains and odors
  • Effective on most wall surfaces
  • Dries in one hour and attains excellent color consistency

What I Didn’t Like In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Strong odors

3. KILZ Original Low Odor Primer

KILZ odorless best low odor oil-based primer is effective against mysterious stains on walls and ceilings. In addition, it may be used to seal crayon markings, watermarks, and other marks that unruly youngsters leave around the home. However, most KILZ oil primers have a disagreeable odor and may trigger asthmatic sensitivities. Despite this, the KILZ Original Low odor primer is rather substantial.

In contrast to conventional oil-based paints, its primer, stain blocker, and sealer emit no lasting scents. Consequently, the solution is appropriate for usage in environments with prohibitive excessive odor levels.

Special Features

  • Ideal for experts and amateurs
  • It emits Fewer VOCs
  • It requires many coatings
  • Sluggish drying rate.

What I Liked In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Odorless primer
  • Superior protection of 300 square feet
  • It prevents the development of mold
  • Suitable for various surfaces.

What I Didn’t Like In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Cost is more than comparable items
  • It does not possess much luster.

4. Zinsser 3608 Cover Stain Oil Base Primer Spray

Zinsser’s products are developed for various purposes. The Zinsser 3608 by Rust-Oleum is the best oil-based primer spray on this list. Few products in this price range can compete with this primer’s versatility and effectiveness for interior and outdoor use. Additionally, this paint may be used for residential, industrial, and commercial services.

It improves coverage by up to 20 percent and efficiently prevents fouling from increasing the topcoat’s longevity.

This paint may be used on various surfaces, including concrete, wood, previously painted walls, and metal. 

Special Features

  • Stops cedar and redwood from bleeding
  • Seals smoke, nicotine and water stains
  • Adheres to all surfaces without needing sanding.

What I Liked In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • It adheres excellently with just one coat of paint and no sanding beforehand
  • It dries pretty fast 
  • It leaves behind a lovely base.

What I Didn’t Like In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Requires extremely vigilant application.

5. Tuff Coat UT-80 Adhesion Primer]

The Tuff Coat UT-80 Adhesion Primer is the best oil-based adhesion primer with a two-component epoxy primer/sealer. It may apply to concrete, wood, fiberglass, and painted surfaces in high-traffic and high-moisture environments. For example, Tuff Coat UT-80 may be used on moist concrete surfaces. In addition, this primer is compatible with all rubberized Tuff Coat anti-slip coatings.

Special Features

  • Great for concrete, brick, fiberglass, wood, and previously painted surfaces
  • Two-component epoxy primer based on water
  • Simple 1:1 mix ratio.

What I Liked In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Exterior primer
  • Weatherproof
  • Good for numerous 
  • Available in a broad range of hues
  • Simple to employ
  • Forms a flexible surface 
  • Eco-friendly.

What I Didn’t Like In This Oil-Based Primer For Wood

  • Expensive

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The Advantages Of Using An Oil-Based Primer

Painting is an excellent method for adding color and aesthetic appeal to a property. However, before painting the surface, a primer must be used. Primers are adhesives that improve paint adhesion to previously painted surfaces. Several primers are available today, with oil-based primers being the most common. Why should you use an oil-based primer as opposed to other types? Let’s examine the primary advantages of employing oil-based primers:

1. Primers Based On Olefins Provide Exceptional Adhesion

Oil-based primers give good adherence to almost all surfaces, which is one of the primary reasons they are used. Whether you’re painting over raw wood, metal, or even plastic, the oil-based primer will improve the paint’s adhesion to the surface, resulting in a more durable and long-lasting finish. In addition to bonding, Painters Care oil-based primers offer excellent sealing.

This helps protect your surface from moisture and other damaging factors that might compromise the paint’s integrity.

2. Primers Based On Oil Are More Durable Than Others

Oil-based primers provide a variety of advantages in terms of durability. For example, oil-based primers tend to develop a stronger connection with painted surfaces, resulting in less flaking and peeling over time.

Oil-based primers are also more resistant to discoloration since they better repel water and other liquids. This is ideal for surfaces that need a more durable finish, such as exterior siding or interior walls.

3. Oil-Based Primers Offer Better Coverage

Due to the delayed drying period, oil-based primers often cover a larger surface area than other priming forms, allowing you to cover more area with less primer. This makes them an ideal option for painting significant portions of your house, such as the basement or garage, while still achieving outstanding coverage as a water-based primer.

One gallon of primer, for example, may cover up to 400 square feet, making it a great option if you want to save time and money on your painting job. Therefore, if your house is around 1,250 square feet and you want to paint just the inside, you will need between 3 and 4 gallons of primer.

4. Primers Based On Oil Are More Simple To Apply

Additionally, oil-based primers are far more straightforward to deal with than other varieties. They offer an extended drying period, giving you more time to apply the primer evenly and achieve a flawless finish. Moreover, oil-based primers are often less messy and more straightforward to clean up than water-based primers.

Consequently, you won’t have to worry about them drying too quickly or being difficult to apply evenly before you can smooth them out, which is particularly crucial if you want to apply many coats of primer.

5. Various Sheens Are Available For Oil-based Primers

You must consider the desired shine when selecting the appropriate primer for your project. Oil-based primers are available in all three sheens, allowing you to choose the one that best meets your requirements. Flat, semi-gloss, and high-gloss are the three most frequent alternatives. Flat primers are ideal for surfaces, like walls and ceilings, that do not see much wear and tear.

Primer with a semi-gloss finish is suitable for surfaces subject to additional damage, such as doors and trim. And high-gloss primers are ideal for cabinetry and other surfaces that need a finish that can endure heavy wear. So, oil-based primers will provide whether you’re seeking maximum coverage or a smooth, glossy finish.

6. Primers Based On Oil Are Excellent For Blocking Stains

An oil-based primer is your best option if you paint over a stained surface. These primers are pretty effective in blocking off stains, so you won’t have to worry about them bleeding through the paint.

This is particularly crucial if you paint over wood, which is more vulnerable to staining than other surfaces. Using an oil-based primer, you can guarantee that the stain will be thoroughly coated and that it will not influence the final look of your paintwork.

There are several advantages to using oil-based primers when painting your house. From their superior adherence to their durability and user-friendliness, they are a fantastic option for any job requiring outstanding paint coverage and lasting effects. Consider utilizing oil-based primers if you’re about to embark on a painting job, and see how they may improve your environment.

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How To Apply Oil-Based Primers Effectively?

Let’s get to this article’s heart now that you need an oil-based primer. These six easy procedures will prepare your woodwork for your chosen paint.

1. Stir, Stir, And Stir Some More

Utilize a traditional wooden stir stick to combine the color and oil. These two components separate whenever the primer sits on a shelf unused. When you believe everything is well combined, whisk it a little longer. Keep your stir stick nearby to mix the primer as you use it continuously.

2. Transfer The Primer To A Fresh Container

Pouring the primer into a fresh container is a crucial but sometimes neglected step. Pour a tiny quantity into a different container, such as a yogurt container or a plastic cup. This will become your container for work. Replace the lid on the original can of paint.

If you opt to work straight from the color can, tiny bits of dry primer will be scraped back into the can and incorporated into the mixture if you use a brush. Either the globs will attach to the wood or form drag marks in the wet primer on your project.

3. Dilute With Mineral Spirits If Required

Frequently, the final third of the primer in the container becomes too thick for easy application. Even though the viscosity of primer differs significantly from that of paint, you should be able to produce clean brush strokes with an oil-based primer. The brush lines should disappear gradually as the primer dries.

If the primer is too tough to smooth with a paintbrush, use mineral spirits to thin it somewhat. There is no specific ratio of mineral spirits to primer, so begin cautiously. The objective is to reduce brush marks and make the primer simpler to apply. It will leak and sag if it is too thin for your job.

4. Employ A High-quality Bristle Brush

This is not the time to experiment with a sponge brush. Instead, invest in a bristle brush of high quality that is indicated for oil-based applications—Purdy and Wooster manufacture fine paint brushes. You will always have success using store-brand brushes from local hardware stores. Using a high-quality paint brush makes it simpler to distribute oil-based primers with long, uniform strokes.

5. Do Not Turn Around

Be like the documentary on Bob Dylan: Don’t look back. Advance onward. Use the brush with long, even strokes, and resist the desire to touch anything that has been drying for more than a minute.

Oil-based primer is more adhesive than latex primer, and this adhesiveness lasts for hours until oil-based primer dries. When you drag a brush over a drying oil-based primer, the brush will create markings and roughen the surface. The only solution is to wait until it is dry and then vigorously sand the surface to restore its smoothness.

6. Lightly Sand When Dry

When thoroughly dried with an oil-based primer, the surface may still have minor flaws. This is normal, even for professionals. For example, the surface may have a chalky or somewhat gritty texture. Sand the whole surface gently using a Sanding Sponge.

Be gentle! The objective is to eliminate the flaws, not the primer. After sanding, the surface should be smooth to the touch. Vacuum and clean down with a wet cloth.

Following these six easy procedures for applying oil-based primer, your project will be ready for your preferred paint.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Primer Go Bad?

Yes, primers do go bad; make sure to use them within the best before date. Before painting, most primers may sit on a surface for anywhere between a few hours to thirty days. The time varies depending on the kind of paint and primer, the drying period of the primer, the surface being painted, and external elements such as temperature and humidity.

2. Can You Paint Latex Over Oil-based Primer?

Yes, latex paint may be applied over an oil-based primer, but only if the surface has been properly prepared.

3. Can You Paint Water-Based Paint Over Oil-Based Primer?

No, It is impossible to apply water-based paint over oil-based paint. It is possible to use oil-based paint over water-based paint. A water-based primer may be applied over an oil-based primer.

4. Can I Put A Water-based Primer Over An Oil-based Primer?

A water-based paint may be utilized as a top coat after applying an oil-based primer over any oil-based top coat.

5. What Is The ‘Correct’ Method To Paint Bare Wood?

If you want to paint bare wood, seal all knots using a shellac-based primer (spot prime). Primers composed of shellac are excellent for sealing wood knots and sap streaks.

6. What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Oil-based Primers?

As with oil-based paints, oil-based primers have the disadvantage of being slow-drying and emitting large quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may be toxic to humans at high concentrations and with extended exposure.


The oil primer prevents the paint solution from penetrating and deteriorating the canvas fibers. Primer also prevents the canvas from becoming brittle with age since oil oxidizes with time, making the surface more fragile and prone to breaking.

Oil-based primers are suitable for interior and exterior unfinished or bare wood because they seal the wood’s porous surface, allowing the paint to adhere better. In addition, they prevent tannins from woods such as cedar and redwood from leaking through the paint’s surface.

As we conclude our evaluation of oil-based primers, we hope your quest for the most acceptable primer is complete. These primers have been meticulously chosen to guarantee that you get nothing but the finest.

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