Zinsser product review and guide, the problem solving paint

Zinsser Products – Review and Guide

by Mike Gregory


Zinsser, owned by Tor Coatings, are the brand leader when it comes to problem solving paints in the UK. The products are widespread. In fact, they even manufacture some primers for PPG, who are the biggest coatings manufacturer in the world. In this blog I’m going to go through each of the more popular Zinsser products and offer up a review for each. I hope you find it useful.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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….


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.

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Zinsser Products – Review and Guide