Benjamin Moore Stix Primer Review

Updated Jun 15, 2024 | Posted Feb 17, 2023 | Product Reviews, Paints | 1 comment

Stix is Benjamin Moore’s adhesion primer – being and American product, they describe it as a “Waterborne Bonding Primer”, but for us Brits that translates as an adhesion primer, and it’s a good one!

Available online by clicking here, it’s designed to stick like glue to shiny, glossy surfaces that most paints struggle with, including PVC, Vinyl, Most Plastics, Glass, Tiles, Glossy Paints, Fiberglass and Galvanized Metals.  It can also be used “on plaster, drywall, wood, and non-ferrous metals, where a low ambient or surface temperature would present a problem for conventional primers”.

It can be used inside or out, will cure at temperatures as low as 1.7°C, and once dry can be overpainted with virtually any topcoat you want. It’s water-based, which means it dries quickly and your tools will be easy to clean in soapy water.

As a professional decorator specialising in domestic work, the surfaces I would probably use it on most often would be old oil-based gloss paint, prior to applying water-based topcoats, and occasionally plastics, melamine, glass, or tiles.


Why Use Benjamin Moore Stix?


I guess the simple answer to that question is “because it Stix”!  Ordinary paints don’t have the right chemical make-up to stick properly to those difficult surfaces listed above, which is why you need a coat of adhesion primer first, otherwise your work will be wasted when your paint starts peeling off. 


There are loads of good quality adhesion primers on the market these days, so Benjamin Moore Stix is nothing unique in that sense. However, many of them aren’t suitable for outdoor use (and in fairness, Benjamin Moore say that Stix must be top coated if you’re using it outside, and that it’s not recommended as a whole-house primer over wood, so I’m assuming it’s fine as long as you paint over it and you’re not painting an entire wooden house!).


How to Use Benjamin Moore Stix


To really make the most of this product and ensure your topcoats are going to stay looking good for years to come, you still need to do your prep.  Make sure that the surface you are painting is thoroughly cleaned to remove any grease, wax or oil, remove any dust or loose/flaky/peeling material, and give the surface a sand with fine grade sandpaper to help with the adhesion process.  Benjamin Moore say themselves that on glossy surfaces the product will work without sanding, but difficult surfaces will benefit from being “deglossed” “to enhance the adhesion properties”.

Once your prep is done, apply one coat of Stix – the size of the area usually dictates to me whether I’m going to use a brush, a roller or spray, but all work equally well. The primer will be dry enough to paint over within 3-4 hours.  Interestingly, Benjamin Moore state that Stix actually takes 3-4 days to fully cure (i.e. it must carry on curing after you have painted top coats over it). So, if you scratch test it 3-4 hours after you’ve applied it, you haven’t allowed it to reach it’s optimum strength.  I suspect this is true for most adhesion primers and also many water-based topcoats.


Benjamin Moore Stix Primer In Use


Stix is a lovely product to use. The consistency is perfect – not so thick that it drags, not so thin that it drips everywhere.  It just glides on and dries in next-to-no time, but not so fast that you’re left with awful brush marks, they’ve got the working time just right in my opinion. I’ve tried it on previously painted wood, tiles and melamine, and it was touch dry on each of those surfaces in half an hour.

Even if you stick (see what I did there?!) to the 3 hours they recommend before overpainting, that still means if you’re using it before Benjamin Moore Scuff-X for example (read my review of that product here), you can prep the surface, prime it and get two topcoats on in a day.

I carried out a scratch test having applied Stix to properly prepped melamine and old glossed woodwork, and it passed on both with flying colours. Take that with a pinch of salt – it’s only one person testing it once, not proper scientific research, but it gave me confidence in using the product in customers’ homes.


Review Summary

Benjamin Moore Stix Primer Review - Decorator's forum UK

A water-based adhesion primer designed to stick like glue to shiny, glossy surfaces that most paints struggle with, including PVC, Vinyl, Most Plastics, Glass, Tiles, Glossy Paints, Fiberglass and Galvanized Metals.

Product Brand: Benjamin Moore

Editor's Rating:


  • It’s a very strong adhesion primer.
  • Interior and exterior use.
  • Good opacity.
  • Great flow.
  • It creates the perfect base.
  • Blocks tannins and water-stains.


  • Expensive.
  • It performs well, but there is nothing unique about it. Cheaper products do the same job.

Final Thoughts


I love it. There are a lot of good adhesion primers out there these days – we’ve come from not knowing what to use a few years ago to being spoiled for choice – but for me Benjamin Moore Stix is up there with some of the best. Click here to see online prices.

Updated Jun 15, 2024 | Posted Feb 17, 2023 | 1 comment

About the Author

About the Author

With years of decorating experience, Robin set up his own business – Wokingham Decorating Services – in 2007, carrying out mainly domestic work. He enjoys trying out new products and learning as much as he can about the decorating industry

1 Comment

  1. Tom Bernard

    Your comment about actual cure time is what I was looking for… Sometimes these primers are dry to touch or even re-coat, but won’t pass a scratch test. I need to feel confident with a product when someone is paying me for what they hope will be quality work… Anyway; it makes sense as many semi gloss paints can take up to three weeks to fully cure, for example… Thank you. Your article was simple and to the point. My small brain likes that. Tom


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