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7 Best Exterior Primers for Peeling Paint of 2023 [Tested]

Preventing old walls from peeling might seem like a distant dream. However, you can turn this dream into reality by choosing the right exterior primer.

Best Exterior Primers for Peeling Paint

But, hold on because it's not as easy as it sounds. Selecting the right product to suit your requirements can be a little complicated, especially when there are so many cheap variants on the market. Having said that even professionals need a little help in selecting the right exterior primer as not all the options are up to the mark. That is why we have compiled a list of the 7 best exterior primers to simplify your selection process. 

Don't worry, as we have made this list only after extensive research and testing. Plus, we have added a buyer's guide to help you even further. Without further ado, let's jump right in! 

Listed below are the best exterior primers for peeling paint:

  • KILZ L211104: The KILZ L211194 exterior primer stands out for its robust adhesion to a plethora of surfaces. It eclipses most oil or water-based primers and offers up to 100 square feet of coverage per quart. The packaging falls short of expectations.
  • Prestige Paints E500-9: The Prestige Paints E500-9 is a primer and paint in one, made of 100% acrylic. It performs brilliantly on aluminum, cement, and wood, with a VOC content of 0.42 pounds per gallon. The price might not cater to all budgets, unlike the affordable Krylon 51318.
  • Krylon 51318: Krylon 51318 primer excels in quick drying, delivering readiness in fewer than 10 minutes, beating Prestige Paints E500-9 and INSL-X SXA110099-04 in this aspect. It's perfect for both interior and exterior projects but has a strong odor, unlike KILZ 13000.
  • INSL-X SXA110099-04: A primer that stands out for its strong adhesion, adhering to various hard-to-coat surfaces. It offers substantial coverage of 400 square feet per gallon and dries within 4 hours. Product packaging needs improvement.
  • KILZ 13000: The KILZ 13000 primer is exceptional at hiding previous colors, stains, and providing mildewcide protection. It's also odorless and quick-drying, with a recoat time of just one hour. Drawback: expensive compared to the cost-effective Krylon 51318.

1. KILZ L211104 - Best for Various Surfaces

For over 40 years, KILZ has been consistently delivering premium-quality primers and the latest model is no exception. Thanks to latex, this product ensures that it bonds on surfaces where most primers won't work. To know more about it you can read the following section.

This premium-quality primer makes sure that it adheres to surfaces that are tough to paint. Plus, its latex and high adhesive properties ensure that it does a better job than most oil or water-based primers available out there. Meaning, you can use it for various projects without any hassle.  

Furthermore, it is easy to apply and you can use a spray, roller, or brush to get the job done. One quart can cover an area of up to 100 square feet, which is pretty decent, in our opinion. And the best part is that it takes only 30 minutes to dry up. 

Apart from this, the KILZ L211104 is available at an affordable price, backed by a limited warranty, which gives it the edge over other products.

While testing this product, we didn't come across any major drawbacks. However, we were disappointed with its packaging as the box we received was completely smashed. Apart from this minor issue, it performs exceptionally well and is a good choice for DIYers.

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft. | Suitable Surfaces: Wood, Metal, Concrete | Application Method: Brush, Roller, Sprayer | Drying Time: 30 minutes | Stain Blocking: Yes | Mildew Resistance: Yes | Waterproofing: No

2. Prestige Paints E500-9 - Best for Outdoor Use

Prestige Paint is new on the market, and the E500-9 primer will delight you with its effortless application and exceptional coverage. Being acrylic-based, this product has the potential of delivering quality output on various projects; rest assured that you won’t be disappointed.

If you ask us, the best part about this product is the fact that it is specifically designed for outdoor use. As such, it can be applied on several surfaces, including aluminum, cement, masonry surfaces, and wood. Plus, it works both as a primer and a paint, making it all the more popular.

What’s more, it is 100% acrylic and very easy to clean; soap and warm water are perfect for maintenance. Moreover, it has a VOC content of under 0.42 pounds per gallon, which is within permitted limits, thereby ensuring safety. 

Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, there is more. It has a drying time of only 2 hours, meaning you can apply a fresh coat of paint within 24 hours of drying. In addition, its high-gloss finish makes it appropriate for humid areas.  

This product is undoubtedly one of the best options on the market, mainly because of its versatile application and quick dry-up time. That being said, it is slightly on the expensive side, so it may not be a suitable product for those on a tight budget. 

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft. | Suitable Surfaces: Wood, Metal, Masonry | Application Method: Brush, Roller, Sprayer | Drying Time: 30 minutes | Stain Blocking: Yes | Mildew Resistance: Yes | Waterproofing: No

3. Krylon 51318 - Best for Fast Drying

Founded in 1947 in the US, Krylon is one of the biggest names for delivering top-quality and innovative products. On that note, this would be a good time to introduce you to the 51318 model. It has a drying time of fewer than 10 minutes, which makes this product the perfect choice for professionals.

To be honest, the Krylon 51318 has most bases covered but especially pleasing is its short drying time. It is a sprayer that you can use on both interior and exterior projects. 

Furthermore, this product has strong adhesive properties, enabling the walls to shine. You can use it to smoothen rough surfaces before applying the paint. Plus, its unique gray color makes it stand apart from most primers available on the market. 

Apart from this, the tip of the sprayer features an ergonomic design to reduce fatigue for a comfortable experience. Additionally, it offers exceptional coverage, and no matter how big your project is, you can always count on it. 

Finally, all these handy features are coupled with an affordable price tag, ensuring that you get great value for money.  

We were quite satisfied with its performance for most parts but our only gripe is that it has an offensive odor, bordering on unbearable. You can use it for outdoor projects, however, if you intend to use it indoors, make sure that the room is properly ventilated. 

Coverage: N/A | Suitable Surfaces: Various (primarily Wood) | Application Method: Spray | Drying Time: 10 minutes | Stain Blocking: No | Mildew Resistance: No | Waterproofing: No

4. INSL-X SXA110099-04

Our next recommendation is another highly efficient product from INSL-X. Established in 1883, this brand is famous for delivering high-quality primers to achieve optimal results on DIY projects. Naturally, the SXA110099-04 is bound to impress you with superior adhesion, suitable for numerous painting projects.

For starters, it is affordable, easy to use, and adheres to surfaces that are rough and tough to coat. This acrylic primer is highly versatile, so you can apply it on several materials, including tiles, glasses, plastic, and vinyl. 

Now, it hardly has any odor, which is something we absolutely appreciate about primers. Moreover, its VOC content is within health and safety standards, making it an eco-friendly option. 

Worried about a long drying time? Well, it dries up within 30 minutes and becomes ready for re-coating within 4 hours. Furthermore, we loved the coverage it offers and one gallon of this primer can cover an area as large as 400 square feet, which is decent enough.

We must also mention that it’s low maintenance and all you need is a bit of soap and warm water to keep your home clean. 

There is hardly any fault with this primer itself, but like a few other options, this one, too, don't come with proper packaging. When it was delivered, the canister was slightly open, and the primer was almost dry. So, we hope the manufacturers start taking the packaging seriously. 

Coverage: 350-450 sq. ft. | Suitable Surfaces: Wood, Metal, Masonry | Application Method: Brush, Roller, Sprayer | Drying Time: 30 minutes | Stain Blocking: Yes | Mildew Resistance: Yes | Waterproofing: No

5. KILZ 13000

As you already know, KILZ consistently produces top-notch products; that is why we have added the 13000 model to this list. Since you are well familiar with the brand, we won't waste any time talking about it. Let us, instead, have a closer look at the product itself.

The KILZ 13000 does an outstanding job at hiding old colors and stains, thanks to its robust stain-blocking formula. Besides, the mildewcide protection safeguards your project from mold and mildew. This makes it ideal for areas with high humidity, on both interior and exterior surfaces. 

Now, its smooth finish lets you cover up all the imperfections on your project. And since it has zero odor, long working hours won’t be a hassle. Additionally, DIYers will be pleased with its zero VOC content, making it highly popular. 

Furthermore, what makes this product interesting is that it has a fast drying time, so you can apply a new coat within an hour. As a result, it guarantees a smooth experience - be it painting or maintenance. Speaking of maintenance, consumers can clean it easily, using warm water and soap. 

In our opinion, The KILZ 13000 is an excellent option, especially because of its unique mildewcide protection and zero VOC content. And for that reason, this primer comes with an expensive price tag. However, considering the features it offers, it's definitely worth investing in it. 

Coverage: 300-400 sq. ft. | Suitable Surfaces: Wood, Metal, Concrete | Application Method: Brush, Roller, Sprayer | Drying Time: 30 minutes | Stain Blocking: Yes | Mildew Resistance: Yes | Waterproofing: No

6. Rust-Oleum 60004

Rust-Oleum is a US-based brand that needs no introduction. And the 60004 clear binding sealer is yet another noteworthy addition to their line of painting products. Unsurprisingly, it is a perfect choice for DIYers and painting professionals looking for a reliable exterior primer for peeling paint. 

People who have used Rust-Oleum products can vouch for their quality. As far as the 60004 clear binding sealers is concerned, we love its water-based formula. Not only does it help with peeling paint but also helps seal chalky surfaces for binding cracks.

What’s more, it has a very mild odor, which is tolerable. And since it provides such great adhesion, you can use it on a range of exterior as well as interior surfaces. 

In addition, one quart of this sealer can cover up to 100 square feet, and the best part is that it dries within 30 minutes. Lastly, it is highly affordable which makes it suitable for increasing the life of surfaces that are not in good condition.  

We were quite satisfied with the overall results produced by the Rust-Oleum 60004. However, since it is water-based, it is not as thick as we would have liked. Understandably, this could be a drawback for professionals who will need to look elsewhere to meet their painting needs. 

Coverage: 100-125 sq. ft. | Suitable Surfaces: Wood, Metal, Concrete | Application Method: Brush, Roller, Sprayer | Drying Time: 2 hours | Stain Blocking: Yes | Mildew Resistance: No | Waterproofing: Yes

7. POR-15 41104

POR-15 is one of the leading manufacturers of robust rust preventive coatings, rust removers, and primers. And the 41104 high-build primer is a true testament to the brand's quality. That said, if you are looking for an option specifically designed for automobiles, this could be the right product for you.

For starters, it is highly adhesive, which is one of the main USPs of the product. Thanks to its single-component formula, it fills all the little imperfections on your vehicle. Plus, it delivers a buildable and sandable surface for fast re-coating.

Apart from this, we were pleased with its performance, to say the least. It offers quality output by drying the surface quickly and providing an even finish. Moreover, it is super easy to use and you can apply it using a brush. 

Be it brass, stainless steel, or aluminum, the POR-15 41104 adheres well to a wide range of exterior automotive surfaces. Also, its affordable price tag deserves mention, making this high-build primer the go-to option for car owners. 

There are a few things wrong with the product, one of which is that it’s thicker than we would have liked. This makes it a problem for people who want to apply it with a sprayer. Besides, there are issues with typing which makes the surface difficult for sanding. Other than that, the POR-15 41104 works perfectly.

Coverage: N/A | Suitable Surfaces: Metal | Application Method: Brush, Roller, Sprayer | Drying Time: 24 hours | Stain Blocking: Yes | Mildew Resistance: No | Waterproofing: Yes

What is the Best Exterior Primer for Peeling Paint?

If you're searching for the best exterior primer to address peeling paint, the table below compares coverage area measured in square feet, suitable surfaces, application method, drying time in hours and minutes, stain-blocking capability, mildew resistance, and waterproofing properties.

ProductCoverageSuitable SurfacesApplication MethodDrying TimeStain BlockingMildew ResistanceWaterproofing
KILZ L211104300-400 sq. ft.Wood, Metal, ConcreteBrush, Roller, Sprayer30 minutesYesYesNo
Prestige Paints E500-9300-400 sq. ft.Wood, Metal, MasonryBrush, Roller, Sprayer30 minutesYesYesNo
Krylon 51318N/AVarious (primarily Wood)Spray10 minutesNoNoNo
INSL-X SXA110099-04350-450 sq. ft.Wood, Metal, MasonryBrush, Roller, Sprayer30 minutesYesYesNo
KILZ 3 13000300-400 sq. ft.Wood, Metal, ConcreteBrush, Roller, Sprayer30 minutesYesYesNo
Rust-Oleum 60004100-125 sq. ft.Wood, Metal, ConcreteBrush, Roller, Sprayer2 hoursYesNoYes
POR-15 41104N/AMetalBrush, Roller, Sprayer24 hoursYesNoYes

Buying Guide for the Best Exterior Primer for Peeling Paint

Have you gone through all the 7 products on our list and were you able to decide which one to buy? If you weren't, there is nothing to worry about. 

As a matter of fact, knowing just the exterior primers and their pros and cons is not enough information. There are a few other factors that you need to keep in mind in order to buy the right product based on your requirements. 

To make things easier for you, we have discussed all these important factors here in detail. We recommend reading this section to make an informed decision.

  1. Environment

Believe it or not, exterior and interior primers are not made of the same components. So, you can't expect an interior primer to do the job of an exterior one. A good-quality exterior primer should be resistant to UV rays, stains, molds, and scratches. 

Also, it should be long-lasting as you can’t afford to re-apply it after a couple of years. Consequently, if you intend to use it on interior surfaces as well, we strongly recommend going with a product that is suitable for both exterior and interior use. 

  1. Surface

The surface is a big factor that you should keep in mind while buying exterior paint because different primers do well on different surfaces. For instance, latex-based primers work well on materials like wood. 

On the other hand, oil-based primers are the most compatible on steel and metal surfaces as they prevent rusting and help shine the surface. However, if you are buying a primer only for peeling paint, then any primer would work just fine.  

  1. Safety

As you already know, most primers are made of toxic content and are very harmful to the eyes and lungs. This is why we recommend going with a product that has low VOC content in it. Furthermore, to ensure safety, you can wear gloves and a mask while working. 

If you are working indoors, make sure that the room is well-ventilated, ensuring that you stay healthy.  

  1. Drying time

All exterior primers have a different drying time with some drying in 4-5 hours, while other products take less than 30 minutes. If you are a professional, you would want the job done quickly, so make sure to research the brand before making the purchase.

Why is it important to use an exterior primer?

It's important to use an exterior primer because it forms a stable, adhesive surface for the new paint to stick to. Primers are specially designed to bond with both the underlying surface and the paint, thereby reducing peeling and increasing the durability of the paint job. Primers also help to cover old paint and stains, ensuring an even appearance and color for the new paint.

Can I use any exterior primer for any surface?

You cannot use just any exterior primer for any surface as primers are specifically formulated for different types of materials, such as wood, metal, or masonry. Not every primer will provide optimal adhesion and protective properties for every surface type. To ensure a strong bond and prevent further peeling, choose a primer that is compatible with the surface material you are working on.

Can I apply an exterior primer directly over the old paint?

Yes, an exterior primer can be applied directly over old, peeling paint, but important preparatory steps must be taken first. The surface should be thoroughly cleaned, any loose or peeling paint should be scraped off, and the surface should be lightly sanded to create a better surface for primer adhesion. This preparation is crucial for the primer to effectively bond with the surface and provide a stable base for further painting.

How should I apply an exterior primer?

To apply an exterior primer, first prepare the surface by cleaning it, scraping away any loose or peeling paint, and lightly sanding it for better adhesion. Then, primer should be applied using a brush, roller, or sprayer in a uniform layer, following the manufacturer's instructions for application. Allow the primer to dry fully before applying the topcoat of paint.

How long should I wait before applying the topcoat after using an exterior primer?

How long you should wait before applying the topcoat after using an exterior primer can vary depending on the specific product and environmental conditions, but it generally ranges from one to three hours until the primer is dry to the touch. For full drying and curing, waiting 24 hours is often recommended. Consult the manufacturer's instructions for specific drying times.

Applying a coat of primer is a good way to prevent walls from facing peeling issues. So, we suggest getting a quality exterior primer ASAP to protect your walls.   

With that, we have come to the end of this article; hopefully, you can buy the right exterior primer for your home. Before concluding, we have decided to highlight our favorite products from the list.

The KILZ L211104 is the best overall, mainly because it can be applied on a wide variety of surfaces and is backed by a limited warranty. Followed by it is the Prestige Paints E500-9 because it is very easy to clean and dries quickly. 

Other than that, if you are looking for a product that offers excellent value for money, we recommend going with Krylon 51318.

That’s all for now. See ya!