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What Kilz to Use on Paneling

Sommer Leigh

Kilz offers stain-blocking primers to both prime and seal paneling. Oil-based and water-based priming products are suitable to use on paneling. Steer clear of certain specialty finishes available from Kilz; they are not recommended for paneling. Choosing which priming product to use depends largely on the type of finish you wish to achieve.


Kilz water-based primer is suitable for either interior or exterior applications. It covers a variety of stains, including rust, grease, ink and water. Kilz water-based primers are odorless or low odor. Kilz water-based primer is available in different specialty finishes including Premium, High Build and Clean Start. Premium is marketed as covering medium stains with a thicker finish. Clean Start is low odor and contains zero volatile organic compounds or gaseous chemicals. High Build is a thicker formulation; it creates a finish similar to a full skim coat to smooth out rough surfaces.


Kilz oil-based primers cover the same type of stains as do water-based primers, but the company also claims it seals in pet and smoke odors. Kilz oil-based primer is available in its original formulation as well as Odorless and Complete varieties. Kilz Complete is suitable for both interior and exterior applications. It is effective at covering bleeding stains such as graffiti and tannins.


Water-based Kilz dries quicker than does oil-based. Two coats of water-based Kilz can be applied in one day, while the oil-based may not dry in time for a second coat on the first day. Longer drying time is sometimes better; the paint has time to flatten out to hide brush marks. Clean up water-based Kilz with soap and water; oil-based Kilz requires mineral spirits for cleaning up. Oil-based paints and primers have a stronger odor than do water-based examples.

Warnings and Tips

Kilz specialty paints are not marketed as suitable for using on paneling. They are intended for masonry, concrete, ceilings and wood surfaces. Full stain coverage may require two coats. Wear eye protection when working with Kilz products. Wash off all dirt or residue with water and a non-soapy detergent, rinse the paneling, and allow it to dry before applying Kilz.