Review: Valspar Bonding Primer For Both Porous and Glossy Surfaces

Valspar Bonding Primer
© Valspar


Valspar Bonding Primer is a one-step primer coat for difficult surfaces, both porous and glossy.  Be forewarned: this primer is exceedingly thick, making it difficult--and sometimes annoying--to handle.  Use sparingly. Bonding primers are really the only way to begin if you intend to paint melamine, tile, or laminate.


  • Thick--covers almost any kind of material.
  • Inexpensive compared to other bonding primers.
  • Adheres to and seals glossy surfaces like glass, metal, and laminate.


  • Because of its viscosity, it can be difficult to work with.


  • Valspar Interior Exterior Bonding Primer. It's Valspar's version of KILZ.
  • Low odor, low VOC.
  • Latex primer.
  • Sandable.
  • At about $37.18 per gallon as of 2017, this Valspar is expensive. 
  • Found only at Lowe's Home Improvement stores.

Review: Powerful Stuff, But Make Sure It's What You Really Need

Tired of priming and re-priming? Then a bonding primer may be in order.

Paint primers come in two types:  the watery kind and the kind that I am about to describe in vivid detail below.  Watery primers do have a legitimate use--it's not as if the paint manufacturers are trying to cheat you.  For instance, you wouldn't want anything but liquid-y and lightweight drywall primer for bare drywall.  That kind of thin mix is just what you need for drywall's paper surface.  But drywall is a largely cooperative surface, and you can even get by without primer, in a pinch.

But when you've got an argumentative surface--knotty or tannin-releasing wood, slick glass or metal, or nasty additions to those surface like waxy crayons or grease--you need what's called a bonding primer.

Recently, walking around Lowe's, I noticed that they place Valspar Bonding Primer in the paint area--as expected--but also in exterior trim and casing area.

 While I do not agree with everything that Lowe's does, in this case, I wholeheartedly give a thumb's up.  This primer is good stuff for exterior work, especially as a "real" prime coat for pre-primed board.

Just How Thick Is It?

Wow, this stuff is thick. It's Greek-yogurt-thick. It's sour-cream-thick.  You can plunge a paint stirring stick in the can and leave it there and it would not fall down.

This primer bonds especially well to highly porous and otherwise poor surfaces because, physically, it lays on and stays on like a thick plastic blanket.

This is a one-coat primer you can apply to almost anything prior to painting.

Keep in mind that you pay the price for this by having to deal with its very thick consistency. It's not out of the norm, though, for any of these one-step, thick primers, Masterchem's KILZ being the most prominent competitor.

It is possible to roll Valspar Bonding Primer, and despite its initial texture, it does dry quite smoothly. But where this primer really excels is with the good old brush-and-can technique.

Both The Porous and The Shiny

Bonding primer is often touted as the miracle subsurface for porous surfaces like weathered wood or masonry because its thickness bridges cellular spaces.


But for those intrepid few who want to paint slick, unpaintable items like laminate, melamine cabinets, glass tile, ceramic or porcelain tile, a bonding primer is the only way to begin.