Whitsons Primer Review by Lisa Storey

Updated May 19, 2024 | Posted Oct 26, 2018 | Professional insight, Product Advice

Historically I have used Dulux trade primer/undercoat on bare or stripped back wood. I’ve also used rustoleum spray primer on bare metal (radiators) and like most I’ve used Zinsser BIN and Cover Stain on previously stained or varnished wood, mostly on banister rails and spindles.

There has always been a lot of positivity about using BIN, but my personal experience has been that it’s been to brittle for longevity. So, my ‘go to’ was Cover Stain for this kind of work, but like BIN it has a strong smell and is a very thick product to apply so always needed sanding after.

On discovering Whitson’s however, these issues are now obsolete, or they are currently as I’ve not yet had enough longevity to test this with clients over a longer period. But I am confident from initial application results that this adhesion primer will do what it says on the tin!

I’ve used Whitson’s primer on bare wood, and it covers so well I’ve only had to apply one coat prior to undercoat and topcoat and while I’ve not tried it on high varnish or high shine finished surfaces as I always would sand to key these first it has proved to be a good grip primer.


It flattens out really well on application, so no need to sand flatter further like Zinsser products, perhaps because its water based it is so much faster to apply than Cover Stain and BIN.

Dulux primer/undercoat is as easy to apply but it needs multiple going back over it as you apply to build opacity whereas Whitson’s has such good opacity that work to date has required one coat.

For a water-based product I was highly sceptical for both opacity and scratch test. I didn’t need to fear either!

This water-based product is a quality product I’d like to see for sale in all suppliers I use regularly and not have to purchase from an online suppliers only.

My only criticism of the product is the labelling. This looks very amateurish and while I know this isn’t a large industry product. I wouldn’t want any decorator to be put off by the lack of fancy labelling and graphics/labelling as it seems to me that more money has been spent on getting a fab product to market, rather than a rubbish or mediocre product out there with fabulous labelling and marketing.

Overall? Try it before you judge the look of the tin! You will be very pleasantly surprised! This is now my go to adhesion primer for all work that requires it! It is quick, easy and very good quality.

Whitsons Primer Review – by Lisa Storey


So, I was asked by the Decorators Forum UK to use and review Whitson’s primer, having never used it before I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Whiston’s is a water-based adhesion primer, capable of bonding to timber, melamine, uPVC, kitchen cabinets, old oil-based coatings and much more. Available in white, touch dry in approximately 2 hours, but leave it a lot longer before re-coat.

I’ve used quite a few different water-based adhesion primers and always got on well with them. That said, I found the Whitson’s to be far superior to any I’ve used before. It goes on so easy and the coverage and finish after just one coat onto yellowed oil gloss was outstanding. It also dried within an hour I’d say, which is always a good point. You can then sand the surface a second time once your Whitsons adhesion primer has dried, leaving the perfect base for your topcoats.

After only using it on two doors I know it will definitely be my ‘go to’ primer from now on.  The only negative is that I didn’t get a bigger sized tin of it!!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a before pic, but this was after one coat of Whitson’s onto a very yellow door. I can’t understand why the big 3 can’t produce adhesion primers of similar quality, but they need to catch up. The only other paint brand that comes close is Zinsser, Although Valspar Knot Block comes close.

Whitson’s adhesion primer is available online.

Felix Wightman

Updated May 19, 2024 | Posted Oct 26, 2018

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.