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7 Best Primers For Covering Red Paint [Tested]

Do you have an old worn-out red wall in the house that you have been dreading to paint over?

Best Primers For Covering Red Paint

While red can be a bold, yet classic paint color for your wall, it has also proved itself to be quite a nightmare to paint over. This is because red paint usually contains extra pigments that provide it a rich and vibrant finish. These pigments make this color extra difficult to paint over, ultimately leading it to bleed through lighter paint shades applied on your wall.

Fortunately, there are lots of high-quality primers available in the market that can provide the coverage requirements to paint over your red wall with ease. The trick, however, lies in identifying the brand of primer that will give the quality and finish you seek.

And that’s where we come in! In this guide, we have reviewed the 7 best primers that will make painting over your red wall a breeze.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get right to it!

Listed below are the 5 best Primers for Covering Red Paint from our list:

  • KILZ 2 20941: Known for its robust formulation that allows it to cover a wide range of surface areas and resist mildew, offering efficient usage for indoor and outdoor projects.
  • Rust-Oleum 286258: Distinct for its efficient application on a variety of materials like glossy surfaces, metal, wood, and other challenging surfaces, making it ideal for more difficult assignments.
  • KILZ L200201: Celebrated for being a robust stain and odor blocker, this primer functions like the oil and shellac-based undercoatings, and seals strong odors before placing laminates or carpets on subfloors.
  • PRESTIGE SW7029-PCM: Prominent for its exceptional adhesive quality and ability for self-priming when applied on a properly washed and prepared surface, saving time in the painting process.
  • INSL-X SXA11009A-01: Renowned for its strong acrylic-urethane bonding capacity, enabling it to adhere to a multitude of challenging surfaces and forming a hard film ideal for various topcoats.

Here is the list of the 7 best primers for covering red paint that you can use to get your walls ready for a brand new look.

1. KILZ 2 20941 - Best for Indoor & Outdoor Use

First up in this guide, we have the KILZ-2 primer in model number 20941. KILZ, as you may already know, is a popular and well-established brand in the home improvement field. For 40 years now, this company has been manufacturing premium quality paints and primers at incredibly affordable prices, making it one of the top primer brands in the USA.

KILZ has developed a multi-purpose latex primer that can cover an impressive 300-400 square feet of area per gallon of this product. The powerful formulation of this primer enables it to hide mild to moderate stains while also making it mildew-resistant and an effective sealer of porous surfaces. What’s more, the latex in its composition makes this primer ideal for efficiently hiding previous colors with minimum paint wastage.

As mentioned in the specifications, this is a water-based primer and is hence very easy to clean with just soap and water. Once applied, this primer only takes half an hour to dry to the touch and can be used to recoat the surface as soon as 1 hour after application.

The shiny finish, high adhesive quality, and low-odor formulation of this primer have made it extremely popular among customers for both indoor as well as outdoor projects. It can also be effectively applied with a roller, brush, and spray, thereby giving its users the option to use the application method they are most comfortable with.

Most consumers agree that this is one of the best primers available in the market today. However, some have complained that their primer was busted and leaking when it arrived due to negligent and faulty shipping procedures. Hence, the packaging and shipping of this primer need to be improved.

Color: White | Finish: N/A | Volume: 32fl oz | Coverage: 300 to 400sq ft | Dry Time: 30 Minutes (To Touch), 1 Hour (To Recoat)

2. Rust-Oleum 286258 - Best for Difficult-to-Paint Surfaces

Rust-Oleum has been one of the leading and most highly recommended manufacturers of paints and primers in the USA. Their superior formulation and high user ratings have continued to set them apart from the rest of their competitors time and time again. Hence, it’s no surprise a primer from their range is one of our top recommendations today.

This product is a water-based primer that works effectively on a multitude of materials and textures such as glossy, metal, wood, and other difficult-to-paint surfaces. The primer itself is gray in color and hence works wonders when applied under vibrant and dark-shaded topcoats.

Moreover, this primer has outstanding adhesive quality extending the overall durability of the paint while simultaneously decreasing the amount required in the process. One can of this primer easily covers 100 square feet of area and dries to touch in just 30 minutes thereby enabling it to be recoated in an hour.

But what’s more? The impressive formulation of this primer provides excellent stain-blocking resistance while preventing and covering up mildew, mold, and water damage. The best thing about this primer, however, is that it requires little to no surface prep prior to application. This means that you can simply skip the scrubbing and sanding process which is usually recommended as a preparatory step. This saves you both time and energy in the process.

Some users have said that this primer tends to scratch off easily if used as the final or topcoat for painting. However, it’s specifically designed to be an undercoat and therefore recommended to be followed up with paint for optimum finish.

Color: White | Finish: Gloss | Volume: 31.5fl oz | Coverage: 100sq ft | Dry Time: 30 Minutes (To Touch), 1 Hour (To Recoat)

3. KILZ L200201 - Best for Odor & Stain Blocking

KILZ, as we discussed before, has established a remarkable reputation in the paint industry and has consequently been a household name in the USA for almost 40 years now. This primer in model L200201 is one of their most popular products known for its superior stain and odor removal qualities.

This primer is a powerful water-based primer, sealer, odor, and stain blocker developed to function specifically like oil and shellac-based undercoats. It’s an incredibly effective formula that can block stains from water damage, nicotine, rust, graffiti, permanent marker, felt pen, crayon, etc. It can also efficiently seal strong pet and smoke odors and is thereby perfect for blocking these same odors before placing laminates or carpets on subfloors.

One gallon of this product comfortably covers the usual 300-400 square feet of area. Equipped with strong adhesion, this primer can be applied to virtually all indoor surfaces like plaster, brick, ceramic tile, masonry, drywall, woodwork, etc. It always seals the texture of any surface it’s applied on to ensure a smooth and flawless paint application.

Furthermore, this primer much like most others in this guide dries up in 30 minutes and can be recoated within the hour. Lastly, it can be applied via brush, roller, and spray gun thereby providing users the option of application they are most comfortable with.

This product has a strong unpleasant smell which a few customers have found to be displeasing. The smell takes a long while to completely vanish and hence can pose an issue for someone who is planning to purchase it.

Color: White | Finish: Matte | Volume: 128fl oz | Coverage: 300 to 400sq ft | Dry Time: 30 Minutes (To Touch), 1 Hour (To Recoat)


Next up we have the Prestige SW7029-PCM, an ultra-premium acrylic two-in-one paint, and primer that was created as a comparable match to the Sherwin Williams paint color. This paint is created by Prestige with industry-leading technology and is ideal for application on a variety of indoor surfaces.

This premium paint is the perfect product for anyone who wants to skip the priming step of painting your red wall entirely. The shade of this topcoat, as mentioned above, is comparable to the popular Sherwin-Williams paint color which you can reference for a better idea.

Equipped with a unique formulation, this paint can self-prime when applied on a properly washed and prepared surface. Its strong adhesive quality enables application on a variety of surfaces, including but not limited to uncoated drywall, plaster, or your previously painted red wall.

If that wasn’t enough, this paint has an average coverage of 250-400 square feet per gallon. The consistency of the primer enables you to apply it via roller, brush, or spray gun after it’s slightly diluted with water. Moreover, the paint also has a semi-gloss finish and has a lifetime warranty when applied as per the directions enclosed, which we absolutely adore!

This primer takes up to 4 hours to completely dry and thereby extends the timeline of the overall painting process. Moreover, the gloss finish of this product tends to highlight all the imperfections your wall might have, which makes properly prepping the wall before application a necessity.

Color: Agreeable Gray | Finish: Semi-Gloss | Volume: 128fl oz | Coverage: 250 to 400sq ft | Dry Time: 1 Hour, 4 Hours (To Recoat)

5. INSL-X SXA11009A-01

The INSL-X in SXA11009A-01 is a premium quality bonding primer that’s ideal for application on both interiors as well as exterior surfaces. It has a flat or matte finish that is ideal for providing excellent coverage on any surface it is applied.

The best part about this primer is that it can be used on a variety of challenging surfaces such as fiberglass, drywall, ceramic tiles, galvanized metal, concrete, stucco, shutters, etc. Equipped with unparalleled adhesive quality and an excellent acrylic-urethane bonding capacity, this primer can be applied to virtually all difficult-to-paint surfaces.

The unique formulation of this primer forms a hard film after application, making it the perfect base for various topcoats including alkyd, acrylic, lacquer, epoxy, and more. A gallon of this primer can comfortably cover 300-400 square feet of any given area. It’s also recommended that this primer be applied with either a high-quality nylon or polyester brush or an airless sprayer, for an even and flawless finish.

Furthermore, if you’re looking for a primer to paint over surfaces that are low ambient, then this is the product for you. The novel composition of the primer enables it to be applied and cured in exceedingly low temperatures that other conventional brands would not usually support.

This primer takes about one hour to dry to touch and can only be recoated after waiting for 3-4 hours. This may be a little inconvenient for people working on a deadline and who therefore need the paint to dry faster.

Color: White | Finish: Flat | Volume: 128fl oz | Coverage: 300 to 400sq ft | Dry Time: 3 to 4 Hours (To Recoat)

6. Rust-Oleum 271009

Rust-Oleum, as we have mentioned before, is one of the most highly-rated paint and primer brands in the USA. The B-I-N Advanced model of their primer is a water-based formulation that is specifically designed to act like synthetic shellac primer.

This is a one-of-a-kind water-based primer that is formulated to behave like a shellac-based primer instead. For this reason, while being easy to apply and clean, the primer also has the superior sealing, blocking, and durability properties of shellac.

Hence, this primer and sealer can not only effectively block water, graffiti, grease, crayon, and rust stains, but can further block odors from pets, smoke, and cigarettes efficiently. If that wasn’t enough, it also has a record fast drying time of 45 minutes, making it incredibly convenient to apply and recoat within a short interval of time.

Rust-Oleum has thereby managed to manufacture a primer that’s only high quality but also extremely affordable making it a top pick among most DIY enthusiasts. This product is very popular among industrial professionals for new construction, remodeling, and fire and water restoration projects.

The manufacturer has neglected to mention the average surface area one can of this primer will be able to cover. This may hamper interested users in figuring out the coverage and thereby the overall value-for-money of this primer.

Color: White | Finish: Matte | Volume: 32fl oz | Coverage: ‎35sq ft | Dry Time: 45 Minutes

7. Rust-Oleum 260925

Last up on this guide, we have yet another Rust-Oleum primer. This primer has a triple-thick formulation making it one of the most vicious and hardy formulations on our guide today. This thick consistency of the primer guarantees 100% coverage on all kinds of worn-out and pre-painted surfaces with no leakage of any sort.

If you’re looking for an especially durable primer that can penetrate and bond with peeling or cracked surfaces, then this is the one for you. Its triple-thick formula evens out the roughest most worn-out surfaces while effectively gluing down edges and sealing out cracks to provide you with the finish of your dreams.

The flexibility of this primer is unmatched by most products not only in this guide but in the market in general. Its unique water-based formulation makes even the most ruined and debilitating surfaces regain their original finish and brilliance with ease. Hence, this primer is the perfect base coat for any alkyd or latex paint of your choice and will cover your red wall with zero leakage.

Apart from that, this primer also dries to touch in only half an hour allowing you to recoat within 2 hours of the first application. Furthermore, the longevity of this product makes it ideal for both indoor as well as outdoor surfaces of your choice.

Because of its exceptionally thick consistency, one quart of this product only covers approximately 12-50 square feet of area. This means, per gallon this primer has a coverage of 48-200 square feet which is comparatively much lower than most of its counterparts.

Color: White | Finish: Matte | Volume: 32fl oz | Coverage: 12 to 50sq ft | Dry Time: 30 Minutes (To Touch), 2 Hours (To Recoat)

What is the Best Primer For Covering Red Paint?

Presented below is an organized comparison chart clearly distinguishing key features of the top-rated primers apt for covering red paint. This includes variables such as the color of the primer, its finish, volume, coverage capacity, and estimated dry time.

ProductColorFinishVolumeCoverageDry Time
KILZ 2 20941WhiteN/A32fl oz300 to 400sq ft30 Minutes (To Touch), 1 Hour (To Recoat)
Rust-Oleum 286258GrayGloss31.5fl oz100sq ft30 Minutes (To Touch), 1 Hour (To Recoat)
KILZ L200201WhiteMatte128fl oz300 to 400sq ft30 Minutes (To Touch), 1 Hour (To Recoat)
PRESTIGE SW7029-PCMAgreeable GraySemi-Gloss128fl oz250 to 400sq ft1 Hour, 4 Hours (To Recoat)
INSL-X SXA11009A-01WhiteFlat128fl oz300 to 400sq ft3 to 4 Hours (To Recoat)
Rust-Oleum 271009WhiteMatte32fl oz‎35sq ft45 Minutes
Rust-Oleum 260925WhiteMatte32fl oz12 to 50sq ft30 Minutes (To Touch), 2 Hours (To Recoat)

Buying Guide For The Best Primer For Covering Red Paint

To make this decision a little easier, we have compiled a buyer’s guide for you. This functions by helping you single out factors that will help determine the perfect primer for your project. So, without wasting too much time on introductions, let’s get right into it!

  1. Formulation Of Previous Red Paint

The type of formulation of the red paint that you are planning to cover is an important factor in determining the kind of primer you should invest in. This is because different formulations of paints are compatible with different formulations of primers.

However, water-based primer is always a safe bet to invest in when it comes to paint-covering projects. The reason is, that water-based primers are compatible with most types of paints and therefore can be applied under all kinds of topcoats including latex and oil paints.

  1. Adherence And Consistency

It’s essential to invest in thick high-quality primers with excellent adherence properties for paint-covering projects such as the one you are planning to pursue. This is because not only will a thicker consistency effectively stick and cover the old paint better, but it will also adhere to the new paint more effectively providing you optimum coverage.

  1. Coverage

The coverage of primer is a crucial factor when it comes to determining how value-for-money the product is. The average primer should usually be able to cover up to 300 square feet per gallon with comparative ease.

However, there are certain primers that have much thicker, more viscous consistencies that alternatively drastically reduce the coverage they provide. Hence depending on the size of the project and the budget, you need to decide which factors are most important to you.

  1. Cure And Drying Time

The drying time of a primer is the amount of time it takes to dry to the point that it does not transfer when you touch the surface. On the other hand, the cure time is the total time a primer takes to completely dry and form its final hardened coating.

You usually need to wait for a primer to fully cure before going in with the recommended second or third coat, and hence is a crucial factor for your painting requirements.

  1. Mode Of Application

There are 3 main modes of paint application, namely brush, roller, and paint spray. Most people already have their preferred modes of paint application, however, not all primers can be applied in all the above-stated ways. Hence, it’s vital that you check how the manufacturer has recommended a certain product be applied before you purchase it.

Should I use a water-based or a shellac-based primer to cover red paint?

While both can be effective, shellac-based primers are generally better at sealing and covering darker, more vibrant colors like red.

Does the primer color affect the final paint color?

Yes. The primer color can invariably influence the undertones of the final paint color. Therefore, select a primer that aligns well with your topcoat color.

What color primer best covers red paint?

Gray or white primers are generally recommended. Gray primer is most useful when transitioning from a dark color like red to a lighter shade, whereas a white primer is often used for very light or white topcoats.

What safety precautions should I take when applying primer over red paint?

Ensure your workspace is well-ventilated. Protective clothing, goggles, and gloves are recommended, particularly when using oil or shellac-based primers. Always read the safety instructions on the primer before use.

How many coats of primer do I need to cover red paint?

The number of primer coats required varies based on the color difference and the type of primer used. High-quality primers often cover red in one or two coats.

When concealing red paint, the need for a quality primer that can efficiently mask the vibrant color to pave the way for a fresh coat often arises. Primers are essential as they offer the canvas for your desired paint hue, ensuring a more vibrant and longer-lasting color payoff.

From the above 7 best primers for covering red paint, here are the top three expert recommendations:

The KILZ 2 20941 primer is an ideal option due to its ability to cover an impressive 300-400 square feet area per gallon. It hides mild to moderate stains, is resistant to mildew, and seals porous surfaces efficiently. Additionally, this primer is easy to clean and offers high adhesive quality, making it one of the most popular choices for both indoor and outdoor painting projects.

On the other hand, the Rust-Oleum 286258 primer is a good option, functioning brilliantly on various materials and textures. It stands out for its extraordinary adhesive quality tailored to decrease paint usage and extend durability. Not to forget, it also provides excellent stain-blocking resistance and requires little to no surface preparation, saving you time and effort.

Lastly, KILZ L200201 is the right choice for its superior stain and odor removal qualities. This primer covers the usual 300-400 square feet area per gallon, and its strong adhesion allows application on nearly all indoor surfaces, ensuring a smooth and flawless paint application.

Finding a primer that best suits your needs can make your painting project a smooth and fulfilling experience. The right primer will mask the red paint effectively, creating a perfect base for the new paint layer. When you follow the expert selections given here you ensure top-notch results. Happy painting!