Gardz vs Kilz Primers: (Detailed Review and Comparison)

Signs of stress and wear are finally showing on your drywall. The once-smooth wall is peeling in places, now a chalky surface. No thanks to water leaks and impacts from furniture and active kids. 

It’s time to seal the damage with the proper primer. Often, you’re caught between two popular brands: Gardz and Kilz. Both are prime options for sealing drywall and preparing them for top coats.

Are there any differences between the two? Yes! Generally, Gardz has better coverage than Kilz primers but is more expensive. But Kilz won’t bubble up like Gardz primer sometimes does during application.

It’s a confusing and challenging decision. This review will make your choice a little easier.

Gardz vs Kilz Primers

Is Kilz the Same as Gardz? 

No. Gardz is part of the Zinsser primer product line, while the Kilz of a different brand entirely. Beyond the brand difference, the Zinsser Gardz seems a bit more popular—but expensive—than some Kilz products.

Gardz is a water-based sealant and primer that infiltrates porous surfaces and crumbling drywall. It creates a moisture-resistant film on these surfaces. 

Kilz Klear is also water-based and performs the same function as Gardz. It dries up within 30 minutes and forms a flexible yet breathable coating on damaged surfaces. Its primary drawback is you can’t use it on floors. 

Gardz vs Kilz Primer: What Are the Main Differences? 

Besides the name difference, these primers have distinct strengths and limitations. Let’s explore these differences and compare their efficiencies based on adhesion, drying rate, and versatility over different surfaces. 

Gardz vs Kilz Primer: Which is Better for Sealing Torn Drywall? 

Gardz vs Kilz prime for sealing torn drywall

Zinsser Gardz is a clear, latex-based sealant that adheres to and seals in torn and porous sections of drywall. Furthermore, it forms a solid, moisture-resistant surface to seal in wallpaper adhesive residues and the soft and crumbly parts of wallpapers. 

According to the manufacturer’s manual, it prevents bubbles from forming, which is unlike other water-based paints. Nevertheless, there have been complaints of bubbles when applying the primer on the softer parts of drywalls. 

Kilz Klear is also a latex-based sealant and primer. It has a beige color which gradually becomes transparent as it dries. 

Over the years, the Kilz primer has become a favorite alternative to Gardz. It also seals in rough paper edges in a torn drywall and covers up mild to tough stains. 

Another exciting feature of Kilz Klear is its smooth consistency. According to most users, it has a softer texture than the Gardz. However, this texture may cause problems when applying it with rollers. A 6″ roller may slide or skid during application.

The Kilz Klear is multi-purpose, covering stains and sealing in odors. You can cover darker stains by applying more than one coat. 

Final thoughts: Both products are latex-based and do not re-wet the paper in drywall. However, there are a few reports of bubbling when applying Zinsser Gardz. So try brushing down on the bubble to remove any trapped air if this happens.

Additionally, neither product is suitable for use on floors or decks. In other words, don’t use it on surfaces likely to be exposed to water. 

Note that Kilz Klear has a strong ammonia smell. It may cause choking or breathing problems when inhaled in poorly-ventilated spaces. Always ventilate the area before using the product. 

Gardz vs Kilz Primer: Which Has Better Coverage? 

putting primer on drywall

How much coverage can you get from a gallon of your primer? For most DIYers, getting enough square feet is essential in choosing between both products, and it can make or break the bank. Let’s continue examining Zinsser Gardz and Kilz Klear for this section. 

Primers cover an average of 200 to 300 square feet per gallon. It is safe to say you’ll need more primer than paint during DIY painting. To know the number of gallons you need, calculate the total surface area of the living space by multiplying the width and height of the surface. 

Thankfully, you get more than 300 square feet from the products listed in this review. 

A gallon of Zinsser Gardz will cover at least 400 square feet of living space (this is the dimension for most average-sized rooms). 

Most importantly, it will cover half of that dimension if you apply more than one coat. A gallon is often enough to cover the affected parts when repairing torn drywall. 

However, a gallon of Kilz Klear has less coverage with a range of 300 up to 400 square feet. Usually, a coat of the product is enough to seal in odors, stains, torn drywall, or any other texture issues. 

You will, however, need to use two coats for dark-colored surfaces. Tinting the primer will help you achieve better results.

Gardz vs Kilz Primer: Which Is More Affordable?

priming the ceiling

There are slight price variations for these primers in different hardware stores. For this reason, we’ll compare prices based on popular eCommerce platforms. 

On Amazon, a gallon of Zinsser 02301 Clear Zinsser costs $36.30. In contrast, a gallon of Kilz Klear goes for $23.98 on Walmart’s online platform. So Kilz primers are generally cheaper per gallon, but with less coverage, you may need to buy extra product.

Final Thoughts: The Kilz Klear is usually the more affordable option. You can go for the product if you want to save a few extra bucks on a gallon of primer without skimping on quality. 

What Is Better than Gardz or Kilz? 

It’s rare to find sealants better than these. But are your choices limited to the Gardz of Kilz products? No. The Zinsser Peel Stop also seals in torn or flaky sections of drywall. It can also bind together cracked, crumbly surfaces.

The Roman RX-35 is another excellent alternative. However, it may be more difficult to apply compared to the Gardz or Kilz primers and does not adhere properly to mud. There are numerous reports of the RX-35 peeling off the mud patch on drywall. 

Conclusion: Gardz vs Kilz Review 

Hopefully, you can make a better and more informed decision after reading this review. Kilz products are fantastic for those on a budget, while Gardz is great for covering stark stains. Either way, you really can’t make the wrong decision between the two.