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Zinsser Paint Review and Guide

Updated Apr 26, 2023 | Posted May 29, 2021 | Paints, Product Review | 3 comments

Zinsser are the brand leader when it comes to problem solving paints in the UK. The products are widespread. In this blog I’m going to go through each of the more popular Zinsser paint products and offer up a review for each. I hope you find it useful. You can find more information on their website.


Zinsser BIN


Zinsser BIN is a shellac-based primer / sealer. The shellac itself is made from the secretions of a beetle, which I find a little odd. Zinsser BIN is an awesome product!! Capable of blocking almost any stain, including sap, which might otherwise bleed through your paint finish from knots on timber. It will also stick hard and fast to just about any surface. This product is only suitable for interior use or spot priming on an external project due to its brittle nature once dry.

You would not use Zinsser BIN as a “finish product”. Instead, use it as an adhesion primer over difficult surfaces, a stain block, a primer over bare timber, or a stabiliser. Re-coat time is a mere 20 minutes. You can buy BIN as an aerosol, or a liquid paint. Use cheap brushes and rollers with BIN as it’ll wreck them!! Even if you go for the brush restorer. Full Zinsser BIN review here. Or you can click here to see latest prices.


Zinsser Cover Stain


Zinsser Cover Stain is another primer, sealer and stain block. This time it’s oil-based and drying time is extended to a couple of hours. Cover Stain is probably one of the best adhesion primers on the market when used over old gloss paint, varnish, or wood stain. It’s also one of the best MDF primers you can get, as you tend to avoid those fluffy edges when you use it.


This is a superb product and there’s nothing else quite like it. Ironically, the one thing Cover Stain doesn’t do very well is cover stains. Other than that, it’s brilliant. Click here to see latest prices.


Bullseye 123


Yet another primer, sealer and stain block. Bullseye 123 is a water-based product with a drying time of around 4 hours. You can use this product to block light stains such as nicotine. However it comes into its own as a primer for bare timber, or an adhesion primer on things such as uPVC windows and doors. Available here.


Zinsser DIF Wallpaper Remover


This is a liquid you add to water and apply to perforated wallpaper when you need to remove it. DIF works by penetrating the paper, then dissolving the wallpaper paste. I use it and like it and think it definitely helps move the job along.

After you’ve stripped all your wallpaper, you can use a diluted DIF solution to wash any remaining paste residue off the walls. Click here to see current prices.


Zinsser Gardz


This is a remarkably interesting product. Used mainly as a stabiliser and alkali primer, you’ll find Zinsser gardz cheap and very easy to use. In fact, it’s just a clear, watery liquid. I often use it to stabilise an old wall before applying wallpaper, or to seal paste residue on a wall before painting. You must always adhere to the 4-hour drying time when painting over gardz, as otherwise your paint may craze…. Click here to see online prices.


Zinsser Peel Stop


Another stabilising solution, but this one goes a little bit further. Zinsser Peel Stop can be used to stabilise render on the exterior of a property, flaky paint on the inside, or as a barrier coat between a problematic surface and coatings of a new paint. It is the number one solution to issues with crazing emulsion and its got me out of a lot the sh1t many a time.


Wallpaper Cover Up


This is an oil-based product used as a barrier coat / adhesion primer when painting over wallpaper. It does the job well and completely seals the paper to the wall, allowing a good base for you to paint over. It does stink though, so ventilate the room as best you can before you apply the paint.


Zinsser Allcoat water-based Satin


I love this product. A truly water-based exterior satinwood with great adhesion and capable of coating almost anything!! You can use it on masonry, woodwork, or even metal work. You’ll get a great finish with this paint, and it remains flexible, meaning it will last for years in the UK climate. Available here


Zinsser AllClean Interior Scrubbable Matt Review


This stands out on the list of Zinsser products, as in essence, it is just a durable matt emulsion. One of the best durable matt emulsion products on the market too!! Touch dry in an hour, re-coat in 2 hours. Opacity, ease of use and overall finish are absolutely spot on, especially in white, which can be a nightmare to work with in other brands. The low sheen level makes this paint very desirable for the homeowner. It can pull on itself a little bit, so allow your cutting in to dry before rolling a wall. Touches up without issue. Full AllClean review here.


Final Thoughts


As you can tell, Zinsser have a wide variety of products ranging from problem solving primers to finish paints. Every decorator in the UK knows and loves Zinsser products, particularly the primers. If you come across a problem in decorating, then Zinsser is often the answer.

Click here for more info on the full range.

Zinsser Paint Review and Guide – by Mike Gregory

Updated Apr 26, 2023 | Posted May 29, 2021 | 3 comments

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  1. Richard

    Johnstones make own BIN sheallac primer at half price BIN.

    Absolutely ridiculous the price BIN is even for the trade.

    Also decorating direct have own very good sheallac product.
    An other excellent product is Johnsone trade stainaway which is water based far easier to roll ceilings etc, mixed to any colour as a finish and actually works!
    Beats stinking sheallac primer for most problems any day!
    4hr recoat time must be followed.

  2. Michael Worthington

    This by FAR , the absolute Worst, primer or paint I have ever used. Tried different surfaces and applicators and they are all extremely disappointing. Will never buy a rustoleum product again

    • Mike Cupit

      Which primer did you use?


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