Did you just get the Kilz 2 primer? In this case, you are perhaps wondering if you can use Kilz 2 as a final coat, or do you have to paint over Kilz?

I had the same question after applying primer on my ceiling. So, I did plenty of research on the matter to find out whether it’s possible to leave the primer alone and not add any paint over it. 

I want to share my findings with you. In this post, I will tell you whether you can use Kilz 2 as the final coat and what the consequences are. 

Let’s get started!

Can You Use Kilz 2 as a Final Coat?

No, Kilz 2 is not meant for use as the final coat. This product wasn’t made to resist elements from the environment, which means it can quickly become damaged if you don`t topcoat it on time. Moreover, raw primer is prone to attracting dirt, and after a while, starts to deteriorate.  

Do you Have to Paint Over Kilz Primer?

Yes, Kilz 2 helps bond and cover a porous surface,  after which you can safely apply paint on top. The purpose of Kilz is purely for bonding and cannot resist elements the same way paint does.  Therefore, leaving the primer without top coating can damage it over time. 


Kilz 2 has a flat sheen that helps prepare your surface for painting. Because of its limited nature to only bond, the primer is not safe from rain and sun.

Furthermore, the primer can attract dirt, and when you use it as a top coat, dirt will quickly become visible. Handprints and fingerprints show immediately if you apply the primer on your doors. 

Kilz primer is useful because:

  • It can help seal a porous surface and prepare it for the paint coat
  • It blocks stubborn stains and makes sure they do not ruin the paint job 
  • It works great as an odor sealant 
  • It promotes adhesion
  • It can hide any color that you previously painted on that surface or that someone else painted.
  • The finish is mildew resistant, protecting your surfaces

That said, Kilz 2 only has the above features. And while the characteristics are amazing, still, it is not meant for top coat use. For such limitations make sure you do not leave the surface without painting. 

Sometimes, if you don`t top coat the surface after priming, the primer can absorb moisture and hold it. As a result, this can harm the substrate. 

How Long Do You Have To Wait Till You Paint Over Kilz?

If you don’t want to paint immediately after priming the surface, you can wait for a while. However, you should not let the surface uncovered for too long. 

Ideally, the primer should be top-coated within a few hours to make sure it is properly bonded. 

Otherwise, if you leave it like that for longer than necessary, it may chalk and deteriorate. Even worse, it may prevent future paint coats from sticking to the surface properly. 

Why you Have to Paint Over Kilz?

To avoid dealing with damage or a dirty-looking surface, all you have to do is apply paint over the primer. 

First, you should wait for the primer to dry properly, which usually takes between 30 minutes and one hour. However, it is ideal to wait several hours before painting it to make sure the surface is nice and dry.  

One coat of Kilz primer should be enough to prepare your surface for the paint. So, make sure to apply the coat to create a uniform surface. 

Can You Use Kilz as Ceiling Paint?

After applying Kilz primer on the ceiling, you may be wondering “Do you have to paint over Kilz on the ceiling?” Well, Kilz was formulated to be a primer, so basically just a base coat for what you paint over it.

While you can leave it unpainted until it dries, it is not recommended to leave it on your ceiling without applying any coat of paint. This is because the primer coat will not maintain its impeccable state forever, and will risk collecting dust, odors, and dirt.

So, Kilz should not be used as ceiling paint, but rather as a base for the paint.

If You Paint with Oil Base Kilz, Do You Have to Use Oil Base Paint Over?

It is not mandatory to apply oil-based paint over oil-based Kilz Primer. While you would not be able to apply oil-based paint over latex primers, for instance, other types of paints such as latex ones would work over oil-based primers.

The secret is to prepare the surface properly and allow it to dry. Once you do this, you can apply either oil-based paint or latex paint to add the desired color without worrying about possible bad consequences. Painting latex over oil based primer adheres well similar to oil-based paint, while oil-based paint will not go over latex-based primer.

Best Way to Apply Kilz Oil-Based Primer

It is not difficult to apply Kilz Oil-Based Primer as long as you follow the right steps. There are a few ways to make sure that the application process goes perfectly. First, make sure to grab a good bristle brush either from the local hardware shop or from the Internet. It’s ideal to use a good brush from a well-known brand if you want Kilz to be applied nicely.

Then, stir until the oil and the pigment are mixed properly. Take a new container and pour some primer in there. Put the lid on the remaining primer while you’re working. Make sure to also use mineral spirits to thin the primer if it’s too thick. It may rarely be the case as Kilz is not the thickest in terms of consistency.

Using long and even strokes, apply the primer on the surface. Make sure to go for multiple coats as Kilz tends to be thinner, but never go overboard with the coating. After it’s dry, sand the surface to remove small imperfections.

Read also: Which is better kilz or zinsser?

Do You Have to Paint Over Kilz FAQs

Can I leave my ceiling with just a primer?

Even though Kilz 2 primer can be used to seal a surface and to make it uniform for painting, it should not be the only cover. 

Despite being a stain-killer, even this primer may end up showing stains over time if you do not cover them. This is why you should always paint over the primer. 

What happens if I leave the primer unpainted for more than one month?

As mentioned, you can leave your primer unpainted for about 30 days.

If you leave the primer unpainted longer than this, you will not be able to apply paint over it directly. You will have to re-prime it or sand the wall to make it look even. 

How long does Kilz smell last?

Usually, the “off-gassing” will go away after about 3-4 days. It all depends on how well you ventilate the room. The better you ventilate the room, the faster the smell will go away. 

Is Kilz 2 a bonding primer?

Kilz 2 is an exterior bonding primer. It was made specifically to adhere to more stubborn surfaces – so, it can bond to the most tough-to-paint surfaces. It works very well on PVC, tile, glass, fiberglass, laminates, metals, plastics, vinyl, and more.

How long do you have to wait to paint after using Kilz?

Usually, after using Kilz, you will have to wait one hour for it to dry. The primer must be completely dry before you apply a coat of paint on top of it, or else it will not adhere properly to the surface.

Can you spray Kilz 2?

You can use Kilz 2 as a spray to prime a surface, but you must prepare the primer for the spraying process first. Because of its viscosity, you need to thin down the substance, or else you wouldn’t be able to spray it.

Is primer the same as white paint?

Primer is not the same as white paint. White paint is made to be the top coat of a surface, while the primer is only the coat that is meant to help the paint stick. Paint has pigments, so that the color can be saturated. Meanwhile, the primer contains resins, which help seal surfaces and provide the bond with the paint.

What happens if you don’t use a primer before painting?

If you don’t use a primer before painting, the paint will not adhere properly to the surface. Not to mention that the drywall would not be sealed, which would then cause rough areas and blotches that will ruin the aspect of the surface. Not using a primer can also create color differences on the surface.

Is one coat of primer enough?

Using one coat of primer is enough only if you want to paint over a white wall or you use a tinted primer when painting with untinted base. But if you paint unfinished drywall or plaster, you should use two coats of primer. The same applies if you paint over dark colors with lighter ones or if you paint unfinished wood walls.

What is the difference between primer and paint?

The difference between primer and paint is that primer is made of resins in order to help seal porous surfaces, but also create a bond. Meanwhile, paint contains resins pigments, and the pigments give it washability and durability. Paint is also meant to cover primer and not the other way around.

Related Post: Best Trim and Baseboard Paints.

What’s Next?

Now that you know what to do regarding your primed surface, you can buy your paint and cover the coat of primer. 

Also, it is important to know what to do if you already primed your surface and left it uncovered for too long. You should clean it and perhaps sand it if it has been a long time. 

In the end, if you paint over the primer, you will ensure a nice surface that will not damage anytime soon. You can also opt for primer and paint in one to go a little faster.

3 thoughts on “Do You Have to Paint Over Kilz or Can You Use Kilz 2 as a Final Coat?”

  1. Kilz is way to thin to work with. I am going to throw this van away! I was told by a contractor to use this to cover the one red wall in my trophy room. I stirred it for ever and all got was a big mess of drips and it didn’t
    Cover the red very well. Next time I will do like my husband would have!

  2. Kilz makes a primer with fungicide included and there are other primer brands with fungicide in them as well. I just bought one to do my bathroom since I struggle with mold there.


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