Should I Sand Kilz Primer? – [Complete Guide]

When is the right time to sand Kilz primers? Should you dry sand or wet sand the primer? Using Kilz primer for the first time comes with many questions. We’re here to give you answers.

You should sand your Kilz primer with 220-grit sand paper after applying it. Sanding removes imperfections and opens up the surface for primers to permeate. It also allows the top coat to more easily adhere to the primer. Just don’t over-sand to avoid removing the primer you’ve applied.

This article will explore how to sand down Kilz primers and why it’s the best idea to do so.

sanding paint indoors

Do Kilz Primers Need to Be Sanded? 

Is it really necessary to sand down Kilz primers? Under normal conditions, you don’t need to sand down your primer. Most primers under the Kilz brand are designed to create an even coat that will adhere to both the surface and to top coats.

However, many people make a few errors during painting. These errors may include little gouges or deep scratches from the previous sanding. You may also find little paper or brush fibers from the drywall. 

Professional painters often sand Kilz primers to remove these little imperfections before adding a top coat. 

Reasons to Sand Down Kilz Primers

sanding ceiling paint

Sometimes, it isn’t enough to prime that deck, furniture, or drywall. The decision to sand before or after priming is the difference between a perfect paint job and a shoddy one. Here are the benefits of investing in sand paper after priming:

Keeps the Surface Smooth and Flat

There are often little brush marks or globs of primer left over after priming with Kilz Original or Kilz Premium. You may also notice little raised fibers after priming a drywall. These little imperfections may become far more visible once you apply your top coat.

Therefore, it’s advisable to use fine-grit sand paper to remove these little imperfections. 220 to 300-grit sand paper is often enough to create a smooth, flat feel. 

Removes Raised Grains on Wood Surfaces

The Kilz 3 Premium Interior/Exterior primer is often the primary choice for furniture, dry wall, decks, and porch railings. But after priming, you may notice raised grains on the wood surface. In other words, the surface may have a rough texture due to the primer soaking into the wood fiber. 

Not everyone likes wood surfaces with a raised grain appearance. So, it’s common to sand down the grains to get a smoother finish in between priming and applying a coat of paint. 

Should You Sand Before Using Kilz Primers? 

Sanding down the surface is the first step in any painting job. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a bare surface or a previously painted one. Sanding opens up the pores within the surface and allows the Kilz primer to bond with it. 

Therefore, investing a little sweat and a few dollars into sanding down your primer coat is probably ideal.

How Long After Priming Should I Sand? 

sanding wall after painting

Here’s another dilemma for painters: Knowing the best time to sand after priming. To solve this puzzle, understand the dry time of your preferred Kilz primer. 

You’ll usually find the information on the can or on online platforms. For example, the Kilz Original primer dries to touch within one hour. 

But even if the primer feels dry to touch, wait at least 2 to 4 hours for the primer to fully cure before sanding. That way, you don’t scrape off too much primer or create an even more uneven surface.

Is Kilz Original Sandable Wet or Dry?

Dry sanding is the norm for both new and veteran painters. For this technique, all you need to do is use the correct grit.

Yet wet sanding is the latest rave for many DIYers. It requires lubricating special sand paper with water during sanding. The water acts as a lubricant to remove tiny dust debris trapped within the wood grains. Should you join in on the craze?

You should dry sand if you want a matte or brushed finish. But following up dry sanding with wet sanding will create a glossy and polished look. This method is often preferred for wood surfaces. Wet sanding will also even out imperfections and remove accumulated debris. 

 Before you wet sand a wood surface, soak the sand paper in water for at least 15 minutes. Be sure to use fine grit to avoid scratching the wood surface. 


Kilz Original and a lot of other Kilz products are sandable. However, be cautious when sanding, so you don’t peel off too much of the primer coat. And always use finer grit sandpaper for soft surfaces like wood and drywall, as coarse grits may leave gouges on the painted surface.