Painting Your Subfloor With Kilz -(Complete Guide)

The key consideration when painting your subfloor is time. Kilz products, whether primers or self-priming paints, take well over an hour to dry properly. 

If you were painting your walls or ceiling with Kilz products, this would not be an issue because you would not have to deal with any foot traffic there. But floors are critical for freedom of movement within the living environment.

painting subfloor with Kilz

Before using Kilz or any other product on your subfloor, set aside enough dry time and inspect the subfloor itself. Once satisfied, sand the floor a little to promote adhesion and ventilate the space as you paint.

This article will advise you on how to use Kilz on your subfloor and whether it’s the best idea for you.

Can You Kilz A Subfloor?

Yes, you can Kilz a subfloor using the Kilz Adhesion Interior/Exterior Primer. This premium product has been designed for glossy surfaces, aluminum, vinyl, ceramic tile, and glass surfaces.

As an extension of that, you could also use the Kilz Restoration Interior Primer, which has been designed for use on porous surfaces like drywall, wood, plaster, masonry, and brick, as well as on painted metal, ceramic tile, and glass.

If you are not satisfied with these options, you could also explore something like the Kilz 2 All Purpose Primer, which is suitable for multiple surfaces.

Using a Kilz primer for your subfloor is only half the job done, though, as you will still need to use a paint coating after priming.

In the context of this article, you can purchase the Kilz Masonry, Stucco, and Brick Flat Paint, which is self-priming, mildew-resistant, and water-repellent, regardless of whether you are dealing with a rough or smooth surface.

Alternatively, you could explore the Kilz Porch and Patio Floor Paint, which is ideal for wooden floors and concrete surfaces while also being mildew-resistant. This Kilz paint has been designed for people who need coverage for their floors, basements, porches, and decks.

There are multiple other Kilz products available for painting your subfloor, but the jury might be out on just how good they are.

Why You Should Kilz Your Subfloor

tools for painting sitting on wooden subfloor in front of walls ready to be painted

Both the Kilz primers and Kilz paints are excellent for blocking and sealing strong smells like smoke odors, pet odors, and other severe odors that tend to plague your living spaces. 

Many of these odors are associated with pet urine and other animals that either urinate or come into regular contact with the surface of your floors. 

Over a sustained period, urine smells, pet stains, and other stenches and defects can be tough to remove. Short of replacing the whole floor, Kilz offers up the best possible solution for this problem.

Kilz products are also commonly used to help provide finishing touches on your subfloors that protect them from things like mildew, mold, and stains from water damage.

These products seal in any porous subfloor surfaces and ensure that paint adheres to whatever surface you might be working on in your home.

In some instances, you can use Kilz products to block or hide the previous colors that were used on your floors when preparing to make household renovations.

You can also use Kilz products to paint your subfloors. Kilz paints work particularly well with hardwood floors, plywood floors, and other organic subfloor surfaces.

How To Use Kilz On Subfloor Step By Step

using Kilz on subfloor

Painting is essentially a two-stage process that requires you to first apply your primer on the subfloor before following that up with paint. 

In some instances, further interventions might be required depending on the state of your subfloor. That would include things like sanding the subfloor down to make sure that it is even. 

Conduct An Inspection

As a point of departure, you need to establish just how significant the damage on your subfloor is by conducting a thorough inspection of that floor. 

To make the process as thorough as possible, you need to completely remove any carpet or laminate covering your floor. 

You will need to do proper cleaning with an enzymatic cleaner or other cleaning solution in areas where you find additional damage, like mold and mildew.

Sand Down the Subfloor

Sanding your floor down is a classic example of something that you can do to clean your floor while also making sure that the surface is rough enough to promote adhesion when you apply both primer and paint to your subfloor. 

This will also ensure that the surface you plan to work on is appropriately leveled, making the paint job that much easier.

Apply Kilz

The best paints produced for subfloors at Kilz are actually self-priming, and we have already listed them in this article. If you aren’t gunning for self-priming, though, there are also primers available that you can apply before you start painting.

Ventilate Your Living Space

You should do this before you start working with any Kilz products to mitigate the impact of the fumes. Before you begin working with Kilz products, you should also consider using a respirator or mask to protect you from the product’s strong fumes and odors.

However, we have only mentioned this as the last step because you need to give your Kilz enough time to dry. You can quicken the drying process by opening your doors and windows once you have applied the primer.

You should also ventilate any nearby rooms to get rid of lingering odors drifting in from the primed room.


Kilz is an excellent brand to turn to for painting and priming your subfloors and other wood flooring. Whether you go with a self-priming paint or decide to apply paint and primer separately, this guide should help you use the products in the most effective way possible.

Always be sure to use proper ventilation and safety gear with any priming or painting product.