In our Primer Roundup series, one of the finalists was KILZ MAX. Thanks to Masterchem for participating in the Roundup, and submitting the product for evaluation and inclusion. This product has held the test of time for almost for years since the Round Up was conducted.
Paint contractors who have committed to the shift from oil based primers and paints to waterborne primers and paints have more options now than ever before. As with most product selection decisions for contractors, the fundamental question from contractors about primers is: Which one can do it all? Contractors want to carry one can of primer on the truck that can tackle most anything that comes up.
Our Standards for Primer:
- How does it brush?
- How does it spray?
- How does it dry?
- How does it sand?
- How does it hide?
- How does it bond with multiple substrates?
- How do topcoats adhere to it?
KILZ MAX Product Description:
Waterborne, with epoxy resin composition. Truly a one hour turnaround and excels in sheen build, with exceptional touchup in eggshell, satin or glossier sheens. Can block and kill, but also highly competent as a multi-substrate build coat that binds like crazy to walls and trim, and provides a quickly sandable foundation on which to build a finish with perfect sheen.
Kilz Max can be difficult for the non-professional to keep up with, because it encourages fast application. Pros may find the working characteristics and performance to be pleasingly similar to everything that we all loved about the older generation white pigmented shellac primers, but minus the headaches of odor and cleanup. Challenging by brush, less so by roller, and surprisingly competent delivered by sprayer. Because this primer lays off quickly, it can be applied heavily in vertical orientation by brush, roller or sprayer and resist sagging because of its binding characteristics and quick induction of tack up.
KILZ MAX dries with more sheen than most primers. More than matte, but not quite eggshell…kind of a matte-shell. It doesn’t get hairy on drywall, and only needs light sanding to a smooth surface that completely blocks joint compound and seamlessly blends the paper veneer of the drywall with the mud. This makes it ideal as an undercoater for wall paints with sheen.
On trim, KILZ MAX can be stacked heavily on top of itself during application, in the style of a wet on wet application, but minus the tack coat approach. It can hang in heavier mil apps on wood, and the formulation shows less grain raising than most waterborne primers. It does dry with a sheen on wood, which is desirable, and can still be sanded to a “powder up” condition within one hour (or less) of application, which makes it a great choice.
Regardless of substrate or application method, most painters want to transition as quickly as possible through the prep and prime stages. This primer moves fast, and can back it up with dry time, sandability and sheen build on wall and trim surfaces that exceeds most other ‘in class’ primers, and gets to a better result faster than self priming paints at similar price points.
A multi-substrate generalist, with some specialist capabilities. In world full of paints trying to pass as primers, this primer could pass as paint to the untrained eye. If the user can stay ahead of it, KILZ MAX’s working characteristics do not add any complexity to the finishing process, in fact, it is expedient in the raw wood to finish transition.
- Fast dry: sand and recoat within an hour
- Gets you to finish faster than most primers and paint/primer combos
- Excellent topcoat sheen uniformity
- Blocks stains as well as traditional pigmented shellac sealers
- Eggshells (and higher sheens) touchup better over Kilz Max
- Especially suited for small wet area remodels (kitchens/bathrooms) that require
- quick paint turnaround
Not an interior/exterior formulation (interior only); Not very novice user friendly, even as waterborne primers go, and may challenge/frustrate the lesser skilled user to get maximum benefit from the product. However, what will be perceived as product weakness to a novice will be embraced by a more skilled pro.
Our Kilz Max Findings:
A solid and eminently workable option in the low $30s price range when there is a need for a quickly sandable foundation on which to build a finish where sheen is an aesthetic as well as performance feature on wall or wood. Also, particularly adroit in stain and odor elimination.
Stay tuned as more primers come through our test and review process.