Are you about to start a wood trim painting project and scouring the internet in search of the best primer for stained woodwork?
Best Primer for Stained Woodwork

Interior trims hold a key significance in the overall beauty of your home. Although they do not cover much of the space compared to walls and ceiling, it's the small things that captivate eyeballs and call big attention.

For instance, windows sills where you stand every morning and enjoy a cup of coffee, door casing you passes through millions of times from one room to the other. These portions are closely examined, that's why their visual beauty is something you must special attention to.

In this post, we are going to recommend some of the best primers for woodwork. These hand-picked products have gone through our series of testing processes and, upon fully producing satisfying results, made their ways towards our list.

When it comes to buying trim paint, you always go with quality paint. You save money in the long run by going with quality paint. Quality paint looks good, stays long, and goes on without cracking and peeling. So, without further ado, let's get started.

KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior Oil-Based Primer

KILZ Original is oil-based paint and recommended by the experts. The primer is considered ideal for covering stains and seals and comes in hands at half the price as others.

The sealer can be used on most of the surfaces, including floors, but experts recommend not using it on floors. For wood trim, it is an ideal option that makes paint stick better to the surface and decreases the consumption of paint. It blocks stains and odor easily and halts hindrances in the ways of creating new stains and odor.

The primer can block most stains, including tannin, ink, pencil, smoke, and water, and also eradicate pet and smoke odors effectively.

This oil-based paint dries quickly within 30-minutes of application. This paint comes with low VOC, at least 25-percent lesser VOCs than normal oil-based primers.

This low VOC integration also produces health benefits; higher VOCs produce health hazardous and can cause breathing issues.

The downside of the low VOC can be less covering; you might have to give an extra coating to produce better finishing.


  • Can be applied on a large variety of surfaces
  • Enhanced sticky
  • Blocks seals and odors
  • Low VOC would not produce health issues
  • Dries quickly within 30-minutes
  • Affordable compared to others enlisted


  • Low VOC leads to less coverage

Zinsser 03504 Cover Stain Interior

Zinsser 03504 Cover

If you are searching for a wood primer to paint any surface indoor/outdoor with enhanced stickiness, do not pass Zinsser produced stained wood primer. The primer is formed following a unique formula that lets the users paint it on about any surface. The primer integrates elements that help it produce extra sticking, so it stays on about any surface you pour it on.

The paint is suggested by the experts for the hard to paint surfaces. Like, areas such as laminate, particleboard, or melamine are hard to paint, and no primer works on them. In any of the cases, you get Zinsser produces special formula and brings seamless painting results.

Though, you can paint it on glossy surfaces as well; but experts recommend otherwise. You should not use it on Glossy surfaces; we would recommend some other paint in those cases.

The paint is also considered a hands-down choice for covering or hiding stains. If you see stains on your wood surfaces or worried due to smoke odor, one coating of the primer would eradicate all of the issues mentioned above.

The primer does not only hides the stains and odor but brings shines on the surface. Just one coating would be enough, unlike other paints that are thin, and users have to apply twice or thrice to get relatively better results.

It also dries quickly; it can also be turned as a stand-alone color for your wood surfaces, especially trims.

The paint is not a good choice for applying on knot wood surfaces. Though brands claim to bring seamless results over there as well, users complained about this particular issue.


  • Hides and covers stains, seals
  • Provides shine on the surface
  • Dries quickly
  • Great for all type of wood surfaces


  • Should not use on glossy surfaces
  • Does not cover knots on woods

Rust-Oleum, Flat Gray Primer 1980502

If your search query largely resolves around a primer that dries quickly and gives excellent consistency and quality, Rust-Oleum produced a flat gray primer is your pick. This primer is regarded as the finest product to apply on a wood trim and furniture due to its excellent quality and thickness. The best primer for wood trim comes in two color options; flat white and flat gray, you chose as per your desire.

The reason behind it being a favorite primer for the wooden project is its color richness. It also dries quickly, within 30-minutes of its application, it dries to the touch. You would be able to coat your color within 2-hours of application or less.

It is latex paint, so produce less odor. You do not have to consume harmful fumes or gases, unlike other primers. It also provides excellent coverage; one coat would be enough.

Due to its highest quality finishing, it could be used as a stand-alone color, and many users affirmed that.

The primer's only disadvantage is, it is not an option if you want to spray it.

All in all, the primer would make a great option and provides excellent coverage without releasing harmful fumes.


  • Provides excellent coverage
  • No harmful fumes
  • Fast-drying, within 30-minutes
  • Ideal for indoor/outdoor equally
  • Great for covering odors and stains
  • Good-grab in case of porous surface


  • Do not go within the case of the glossy surface
  • Do not use it if spraying

KILZ Premium

Your hunt for water-based paint to fill out the porous surface or stains and imperfections ends with KILZ produces a high-hide stain-blocking primer. This best primer for varnished wood is perfect at preparing the surface for painting, and the same as other water-based paints, it provides smooth performance in hiding imperfections.

The Kilz premium makes a good option for softwood surfaces; you can count on this for excellent stickiness properties.

The primer can be applied to interiors and exteriors such as drywall, plaster, woodwork, masonry, and brick objects. The primer integrates mildew resistant finish that makes it one-stop-shop for high-humidity areas, including washrooms, laundry, bathrooms, and much more.

To seal the porous and hides out stains, just apply one coating of the KILZ premium, you would see any porous areas including odors and stains on the wooden objects.

The primer dries instantly, within 1-hours of painting it, you would be able to repaint. The paint offers low VOCs, so low odor, and can be cleaned with soap and water.


  • Ideal for interior and exteriors equally
  • Can be used on high-humidity areas
  • Great at filling out porous and stains
  • Low VOCs
  • Less odor and can be cleaned up with soap and water
  • Dries quickly


Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Prime

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer

Zinsser is another product manufactured and produced by Rust-Oleum. This is the most selling product and has given a positive edge to the brand due to its high-quality performance.

This is a Shellac based prime. If you are not aware of the properties of the shellac-based primer, just remember one thing. This is used where you need to hide the stains and fill out high porous areas.

This best paint for woodwork trim is considered as heavy-duty stuff and ideally covers up hard to cover imperfection easily. The primer seals odors and helps you cover stains in just one go.

Yes, lots of benefits go with one downside. The shellac-based primer is a high-odor primer due to the high amount of volatile organic components. So, you will have to face high-odor and breathing issues, for an enclosed space, the impact even worse.

Yes, though, shellac-based primer is difficult to dry and sometimes takes even an entire day to dry-out. But, the particular product is fast in drying, dry faster than even water-based paints.


  • Excellent at covering porous areas
  • Great at sealing odor and imperfections
  • Thicker and bring results in one application
  • Ideal for interiors and exteriors equally


  • Heavy odor

How to Buy the Best Primer for Stained Woodwork?

Now we are heading towards the most important section of our post. This section will offer you an insight into what plays a role in making a primer for wood trim. This section will shed light on the very basics of a primer and help you learn about choosing the best primer for wood.

Let's with very basics...!

What is a Primer?

Many take primer as a primary paint, and some take it as a coating spread along a surface before painting. Both are right, some primers are painted, and after applying it, no need would be there to apply paint.

The true definition is, it is a substance that you apply before painting. It aids in painting and makes your painting flawless, smoother with enhanced finishing.

It supports your paint and increases its adhesively. With a primer applied on the surface, you do not have to worry about flaking of the paint and chipping.

This also used to hide stains, blocking odors and protecting surfaces from rust, mold, and much more in the row.

So, if you are going to hide out imperfection on wood trim or fill out porous areas on wooden objects, have a primer onboard and give perfection to your painting projects.

Types of Primer

Although, you could use any type of primer on wood trim. Still, it would be great if you know the basics of these primers and grasp what the added benefits of each of them are. They can interchangeably be used without any big hiccup, no need to stick with one type for a particular job, pick as per your requirements and needs.

Water-based Primer

The water-based primers are easy to clean and safer due to low VOCs. They are great to apply on wooden surfaces, softwood, brick objects, and metals.

The downside is they are not as effective at covering stains and odors as oil-based paints. To cover stains and seal in odor, you will have to apply more than two coatings.

Shellac Based Primer

The type of primers is the ultimate option for covering imperfections. The oldest-form of primer protects the surface from water-damages and rust. It easily seal-in smell, hide-out stains, and are considered ideal for applying on trim wood.

The downside is the same; they are difficult to use and clean due to high fumes and odors.


We have reviewed the best primer for stained woodwork and shed light on our top-picks. In the later section, we also put-out a buying section to help the user understand the very-soul of primer use. The one thing you can pull out from this guide is, use of primer is preparatory. You must use it before painting to get smoother, shiny, and seamless results. We also have provided an insight into which of the primer can go which type of the surface.

The mentioned primer is great and can be applied on any surface with few exceptions.

I hope you like this guide, and it will make you choose a wood primer as per your requisite.

Scroll to Top