Zinsser Vs. Kilz for Water Stains Removal

Water stains are a significant challenge when it comes to paint jobs. So you’ll need a primer that either covers them entirely or can protect your paint surfaces against these tough stains in the first place.

Both Zinsser and Kilz primers are excellent for covering water stains. However, Zinsser has proven to do it better. It has a relatively thicker consistency that provides enhanced coverage on the first coat of paint compared to Kilz.

This article will help you narrow down the best Zinsser and Kilz products for covering these pesky stains. It will also outline how you can apply these different types of primer for the best results. 

Zinsser vs Kilz primer

What Causes Water Stains and How Do You Remove Them?

Water stains are a common occurrence on bathroom and living room walls, ceilings, and damp basement walls. But they can also occur on kitchen cabinets and outdoor surfaces like exterior wood walls. 

These heavy stains are often brownish in color and may reduce the aesthetics of your living space.

To remove these stubborn stains, you first need to fix the source of the problem. Then, scrape off any loose paint from the surface before applying a suitable primer to seal the remaining damage.

There are different reasons behind those splotchy messes on your walls. Most water stain marks come from leaky roofs, faulty heaters, plumbing issues, clogged pipes, and poor ventilation. 

The conventional method uses bleach or vinegar to scrub down the affected areas. However, you may end up damaging the surface more with these methods. A more effective preventive measure is using primers to cover up and seal these stubborn stains.

You can coat it with paint to create a more uniform surface once you’ve primed it.

Zinsser Vs. Kilz: Which Zinsser Product is Best for Water Stain Removal?

water stain removal primer

The Zinsser brand has a variety of products, all of which are known to have excellent quality. Let’s help you narrow your search to a particular product for the removal of these stains:

Zinsser BIN Primer/Sealer

The Zinsser BIN Primer and Sealer is the best Zinsser product for sealing stubborn stains of all forms. It is suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces.

It has a faster dry time than generic primers, allowing patch priming. Not only does it not require any sanding before application, but it also seals stains and unpleasant odors as well. 

You can use the primer to correct water stains and serve as a base coat before you apply the final coat.

It can cover about 12.5 square meters per liter and has a high paint adhesion formula. It sticks well on any type of surface, including glossy surfaces, glass surfaces, and porous surfaces.

Zinsser Vs. Kilz: Which Kilz Product is Best for Water Stain removal?

Zinsser vs Kilz for water stain removal

The Kilz brand has several oil-based and water-based primers to meet your priming needs. They are each made up of different formulas to ensure you can find what works best for what you need, including covering up these stains:

Kilz Upshot Stain Sealer

Their best product for water stain removal is an oil-based primer called the Kilz Upshot Stain Sealer. It is available in aerosol, and you can easily purchase it from local and online stores.

The Kilz Upshot is an oil-based primer ideal for removing various stains. These stains can come from water, smoke, grease, ink, and pencil marks. 

Yet one of its best features is its versatility. This primer seals stubborn water stains from walls to kitchen cabinets, furniture, and more. 

This interior stain sealer is easy to use—all you need to do is spray it on affected surfaces.

How to Best Apply Zinsser and Kilz Primers

covering a water stain on a wall with primer and a spray gun

The products you use as a DIYer may be of top quality, but if you don’t use them properly, you may not get maximum results. The same goes for Zinsser and Kilz products. 

Here are some best practices for applying these primers to get the best results:

1. Trace and Resolve Leaks

When correcting water stains, ensure you’ve uncovered the source of the leak and fixed it. Your paint job will be far more effective if you can prevent future leaks.

2. Dry the Surface Properly 

Before you carry out any paint job, you must ensure that the surface is adequately dry. This will allow the paint or primer to dry properly and settle on the surface, whether it’s an oil-based paint primer or water-based paint primer.

3. Use the Right Product

When covering water stains, you must ensure you’re using the right product. Using the wrong product is like taking the correct medicine for the wrong disease—it will only make your whole work a futile effort.


Both primers are fantastic stain-blocking primers that you can use on tougher surfaces. The application process of aerosol primers like the Kilz Upshot Stain Sealer is straightforward, and both primers create durable coatings that will block stains from forming in the future.

No matter which primer brand you choose, you should be very pleased with the results.