Smith and Rodger Blockade Review

Updated Feb 16, 2024 | Posted Apr 7, 2020 | Product Review, Paints | 3 comments

Smith and Rodger Blockade is a shellac-based primer designed to adhere to difficult surfaces such as tile, varnish or gloss paints. You can also use it on hard-to-paint surfaces such as metal, drywall, plaster and porous wallcoverings. As well as great adhesion, it is the mother of all stain blocks!! It will block out anything from nicotine, water marks, knots, permanent marker and just about anything else.

Touch dry in 15 minutes, recoat time is around 45 minutes. Dilute and clean with methylated spirits if you must, but it may be easier to buy cheap brushes to throw away after use. Blockade isn’t really a finish coat. You would use Smith and Rodger Blockade to solve a problem before painting over it with something else. The industry rivals are Zinsser BIN, Coo-Var Prime All and the brand-new PS1 Primer Sealer Stain block. This is my Smith and Rodger Blockade review.

Zinsser BIN has to be the benchmark. It was the original shellac based primer and is still the most wildly available. Smith and Rodger Blockade is a relatively new contender, but how does it compare?


One of the negatives with Zinsser BIN is the strong odour.  It hits you as soon as you take the lid off and it can get a bit much when working on a large area or a confined space. Smith and Rodger Blockade is much easier going on the nose. It is a noticeable difference and as a decorator, that helps both me and my clients.

There are a couple of other differences too. It is much easier to keep a wet edge with Smith and Rodger Blockade. I did some glass panel doors recently and it was the perfect test. With Zinsser BIN you can have a problem with agitating a semi-dry paint surface when cutting in around glass. Blockade is much easier to use.

Also brushes!! Don’t get me wrong, all shellac-based primers are going to wreck your paint brush, but you get a lot more use out of a brush in Blockade than you do wither of its rivals.

So, in conclusion, Smith and Rodger Blockade is much better than Zinsser BIN. It does all the same jobs, but it isn’t a nightmare to work with. The best place online I have found for Blockade is available available online but it is starting to pop up everywhere. Click here to see online prices.

Smith and Roger Blockade Review – by Mike Gregory


What do Other Decorators Think of Smith and Roger Blockade?

Blockade is miles better than BIN. The opacity is better, it’s easier to work with, it’s even cheaper. The only downside is it isn’t as widespread as Zinsser BIN. Oh, it doesn’t come in an aerosol either, which is another drawback. I still prefer blockade.

Tom Fry

I thought I would try Smith and Rodger Blockade out as it’s a fraction of the price of Zinsser B.I.N It is a shellac based adhesion primer. Capable of sticking to surfaces like oil-based gloss or varnish. Interior use only I’m afraid.

These are highly glossed varnish doors. The only prep I did was wiping them clean with a damp cloth and some washing up liquid. I wanted to give this shellac-based primer a proper test. If it stuck to these doors, I knew it would be well up for anything else I pitched it against!!

Brush applied (crap to brush but that’s normal).

One hour later, did a scratch test and is fine. I feel like if I’d left it longer then it would have been absolutely bullet proof!! Well worth using.

For more info click here.

Testing the opacity and adhesion of Smith and Rodger Blockade on a varnished door

I thought I’d come back and add to this review. At the time of writing it, Smith and Roger Blockage was genuinely the best shellac-based primer on the market. Easily better than Zinsser Bin and marginally better than Coo-Var Prime All (although the Prime All is still good).

Since then, HB42 have released a product called PS1 primer (primer sealer stain block), which is another shellac-based adhesion primer. I haven’t tested it side-by-side with Blockade, so I couldn’t tell you definitively which is better. It’s up there though!! PS1 has a similar feel, great opacity, low odour. I wrote a full review which you can see here.

Mike Gregory

I used it recently on a load of varnished timber. I like to use it as an adhesion primer because it holds knots and tannin back too. It never fails me to be fair. The only issue with using a shellac is it wrecks your brushes.

Quick tip- use a mini roller to apply as much as you can. Blockade isn’t as sticky as BIN, so you can get away with using a microfiber roller. You’ll find it much quicker to apply, and the finish is better.

Oliver Williams

Updated Feb 16, 2024 | Posted Apr 7, 2020 | 3 comments


  1. Melody

    Hello Mike ! . . .

    I\’ve been reading a lot of your reviews regarding Zinsser V others as I myself wasn\’t that impressed with Zinsser BIN
    However, I am specifically interested in your views and which sealer product you would choose as the best regardless of price for dealing with \’distemper\’ I often seem to come across it and years ago I would always use \”Blue Circle Stabilising Solution\” though nowadays I understand that many improvements and inventions have been made.

    Firstly I want to know if you think it is a Big Mistake to use a \”water based\” sealer such as Zinsser Gardz?
    Secondly please could you tell me your opinion of Coo-Var Alkali V Zinsser Gardz v PS1 ?

    I SO appreciate the intelligent comments on your forum and the Sound Advice!!

    Miss Melody.

    • Melody


      Am I just ‘unlucky’ to keep coming across ‘distemper’ in old properties and is this why there isn’t much information on different ways of dealing with it on your website?

      Or did I miss something ?

  2. Mike King

    Hello , I am about to paint my marble / reconstituted stone (Im not sure) fireplace and surround with a decent quality stone effect paint , Stonelux or similar . My question is would Smith and Rodgers Blockade shellac primer sealer be practiclal to use for the undercoat before applying the stone effect paint ?


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