Zinsser allcoat (solvent based) review

Updated May 9, 2023 | Posted Apr 9, 2019 | Product Reviews, Paints | 10 comments


For me, the solvent based Zinsser Allcoat is the absolute holy grail of “all in one paints” that does everything you will need it to do. It’s an adhesion primer/stain block with all the benefits of oil and water-based combined… A paint that is a ‘must have’ to have in stock and as a decorator. I use it on a regular basis. This is my Zinsser allcoat (solvent based) review. I hope you find it useful.



  • Dries in about 30 mins

  • Great opacity (and dries bright white and flat matt)

  • Sticks to everything

  • Great stain block

  • Water based paints sit over it lovely

  • Works great as an adhesion primer

  • Touches up well

  • Literally no odour


  • It drags when painting over emulsion (you cant go back over what you’ve done)

  • Still hardens in a brush mate (although my fluid may be low)

  • A bit pricey (although only bought from my dulux account, there will be cheaper online)


Product Information


Zinsser Solvent Based Allcoat is, (as the name suggests), an oil-based paint, designed to have multiple uses. You can use this product indoors or out, on masonry, timber, metal, plaster, over previously painted surfaces, and just about anywhere else.

You can buy Zinsser Solvent Based Allcoat online in white, black, or a handful of colours. It’s touch dry in under an hour, and the recoat time is around 3 hours (which is remarkable for a solvent based product).


What Zinsser Oil Based Allcoat is Good for?


I recently did a job where the customer had the artex on their front room and dining room ceiling plastered. (I’d priced it when the plaster was still wet). Once I gave the ceilings a mist coat and the first full coat, within an hour, yellow stains started coming through in the pattern of the old artex. Straight away I realised they were nicotine stains (both clients smoked, although when I asked they said, “not in the house”).

So, I picked up some Zinsser Allcoat (solvent based) knowing it would block the stains and that it claimed to also be a finish as well (saving me having to apply an aditional topcoat). It was a bit pricey at £100 a gallon, but being Zinsser I presumed it would be good, and it was!

When applying it, I had a bit of trouble going back over where I had brushed as it would ‘pull’ over the emulsion, but rolling it was fine. Within 30mins it was dry and was a dead flat white finish, There was one bit I could see I missed which I touched up but dried nice and couldn’t see any flashing, the ceiling was quite light critical aswell. No stains came through, bang on, did what it said it would on the tin (stain block and finish in one). Once coat and the ceiling looked perfect.

And the Adhesion


After the job and still having some left over, I thought I would try as an adhesion primer (as it says that its Compatible with all standard alkyd or acrylic topcoats). I now use it as my ‘go to’  with my bridging primer from old oil-based coating such as gloss, to water-based. All the water-based glosses/satins I’ve tried over the Allcoat has looked great with 1 Allcoat and 1 topcoat (helmi 80, Armstead, caparol and Bedec, all tried over yellowed oil gloss). It really has the benefits of oil (stain blocking, great adhesion, Opacity) yet with the benefits of WB (quick drying, no smell). So for me, It’s a must have on board for any decorator.


As an Exterior Satin


Zinsser Allcoat is a great all-round paint to use on the exterior of a property. It is great on soffits and fascias, masonry, metal gates, garden walls, windows, doors and just about anything else. You’ll find this paint performs better in a tinted colour, rather than white. The finish is nice and flat and hides imperfections well. It ages well too as Zinsser Allcoat is resistant to UV light and will remain flexible enough to expand and contract with any timber in our ever-changing climate.


Where to Buy Zinsser Allcoat


You can buy Zinsser Allcoat from most trade counters, however you may need to order it in, especially if you need it in a colour. I normally get mine from Crown Decorating Centres, but Johnstone’s and Dulux will also be able to get their hands on it for you, as well as most independent stores. If you do not qualify for a trade discount, then it may be a lot cheaper looking online. Click here to see online prices.

Zinsser allcoat (solvent based) review


Zinsser Aallcoat is one of my all-time favorite products! You can use it interior or exterior on just about any surface and you don’t need to mess around with extra primers. I’ve painted shipping containers with this stuff and the paint finish lasts years!

The only thing I will say is the paint does drag a little bit, so ease of use isn’t the best. Everything else is bang on!

Mike Parks - Zinsser allcoat (solvent based) review

I like it!! The opacity is great in colours and the finish is spot on. Not just that, but it will last for years on an external and you can use it anywhere. It’s great if your masonry windowsills, timber fascias and metal gates are all going the same colour. You can literally use it on anything.

James Nuttall

Updated May 9, 2023 | Posted Apr 9, 2019 | 10 comments

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.


  1. Marc ali

    I myself prefer zinzer bin 123
    Which is a shellac base & drys within 20 minutes, once applied clean your brushes out with methylated spirits.
    Johnstone paint do there own version too, which is a good product too.

  2. Alex day

    I always carry a tin in the van, it’s great to have for a wide variety of applications, another great product I have been using is Johnstone’s stain away for nicotine and water stains, it covers great with two coats and dries quickly to, isn’t to badly priced at around £50 for 5 litre, which might seem pricey to some but by the time you and on a stain bloke and the time you spend on treating the areas your better off just spending that little bit more on a all in one product to save on time and labour.

  3. Tony

    Can i painter over solvent based zinsser all coat with an oil based flexible satin?

    Customer not happy with All Coat even though i have told them it needs a week to cure. They want something “stronger” lol.

  4. Michael Palmer

    I love the product,just recently did an exterior job which it is best suited for..Brown wooden soffits, fascias and gutters and weather challenges…2 coats in a BS green tint to match their composite door..you have to work quick with this product and do not over brush ,,get it on and move on ..mask up well so you can speed along too..Great saturation and depth of colour and minimal dripping..especially when you are painting gutter brackets.
    I would recommend practising with this product on a piece of wood first to understand the characteristics of the paint as I get the impression Painters expect it to behave like its water based equivalent

  5. Steve

    This is the first time I have used it , having real problem with getting a consistent coverage , just looks patchy and seems to dry instantly , driving me mad . Have used many oil based paints and not had this problem before .

    Any tips please ?

    • Richard Bickersteth

      Awful paint. Like painting with a glue. Spoke to zinzzer who say they do not recommend for use in warm weather and to use the water based one. So when should you use an exterior paint except in warm weather.

      Other zinnzer products are excellent ( been professional for over 30 years) Used to use weathershield but drying times now too long compared to when it originally came out.

      Having to try and find a decent quick drying exterior paint not waterbased

  6. Eamonn Lee

    I tried All coat solvent on a customers property to paint concrete window seals! First time I’ve used the solvent based All coat, went well, Happy with result, 6 months on the paint is water stained and flaking! Customer is not happy understandable! I’ve now got to go back and repaint the job at my own cost, very disappointed with this product from Zinsser I will not use again!!!

  7. Page

    Why would anyone recommend (or not) AllCoat solvent over water based? I’ve always believed all oil/solvent based to be harder wearing than their water-based equivalent but that’s not what people seem to be saying here.

    So why add the added hassle of messy cleanup, odours and dragging? If it isn’t harder wearing, why use it over the water based?

  8. Paul Wright

    Zinsser Allcoat Satin (solvent-based)
    Hi, I recently used this product on external windows on a 200 year old terrace house, I thought I’d used solvent base because it might adhere better to old solvent based paint. What an awful product! It’s so sticky to apply (about 14’c no sun) that it’s almost impossible to cut-in window with, then it starts to dry on the side of the paint kettle and so you end up with bits of skin in the finish, yet the next day I noticed that it was still wet at the bottom of the brushed out kettle? I like Allcoat water-based but this solvent based alternative is unusable, the finish looks like A ‘ploughed field’ with bits in, and I have no confidence it will last.
    I am annoyed that I paid good money for it and that the job was spoilt by it.

  9. Marc McIntyre

    I used Zinsser Allcoat water based on my summer house and it is an awful product. Worst paint I have ever used. Flaking and peeling off after a few months. I will be repainting with Superdec in the summer.


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