Kilz 2 Latex Interior/Exterior Water-Based Primer - Review

Kilz 2 Latex Primer and Sealer
Kilz 2 Latex Primer and Sealer. © Lee Wallender

I've always associated the Kilz brand of paints and primers with ultra stain-blocking abilities, like a crack unit of paint-bearing SEALs you call upon to get the difficult job done.  Kilz has been covering up rust stains, mold, mildew, and unfortunate color choices (made by previous owners, of course) for over 40 years.

In fact, in researching Kilz for this review, I was surprised to see that they even offer regular, tintable paint.  I've always thought of Kilz as the kind of paint/primer you use in the basement or on a shed, not in the nursery.  But they do cover other parts of the home, as well, with their Casual Colors brand (one-coat guaranteed, they advertise). 

What Is It?

Kilz 2 is a water-based latex primer/sealer.  It comes pre-tinted in white, but can be tinted to the color of your choice.  Quantities:  quart, gallon, and five-gallon. 

Its finish is a dull flat-matte comparable to any other kind of primer.  So, it is not the kind of flat finish you'll find with an interior wall paint, but a chalky finish that's ready for a final finish coat.

Currently, Kilz 2 runs about $17, a competitive price when compared to similar products.


Kilz 2 mixes well and spreads smoothly.  I did find it to be a somewhat "​smear-y," which I counteracted by loading the brush with just a bit more paint, and that seemed to help.

Drips and Glops

This product has a viscosity rating of 95-105 KU (Kreb's Units, a standard for measuring the viscosity of liquids; by way of comparison, the thinnest honey's viscosity starts at 106 KU.).  Kilz 2 has the same viscosity of Kilz Ceiling Paint, a purposely thick product. 

I found that Kilz 2 dripped and glopped very little.  Even towards the end of painting my work-piece (when I was tired and cared less about my painting technique), very few drips developed.


This product has almost no smell.  I found Kilz 2 to be conducive to working in even small, enclosed spaces.

Stain and Color Blocking Ability

This was the most bewildering aspect of Kilz 2:  it didn't cover up prior dark color or rust stains very well.  After three coats, my work piece still had hairline streaks of dark color below.

A couple of rust stains on wood left from nails that I had removed still remained after the first coat.  After the second coat, they were finally covered up.

While the primer hadn't come straight off of the store's mixer, I had thoroughly mixed it up with a drill-driven paint mixer for at least five minutes. 

Was it because I had been using a brush?  It's true that brushes can be streaky, compared to rollers or paint sprayers.  But Kilz 2 is rated for brushes, as well as other types of applicators. 

Clean Up

Easy clean-up with warm water.  Usually, I use my paint-brush comb, but it wasn't necessary with this product.  After about 1-2 minutes of sloshing the brush under warm water, while moving the bristles around with one hand, I had clear water running from the brush.  It was a satisfying clean-up for someone who hates cleaning paint brushes.


I'll reserve my judgment of Kilz 2 with respect to rolling and spraying.  But as far as brush delivery, it requires too many coats to make it worth your while.