8 Best Primer for MDF- Reviews $ Buyer’s Guide

Suppose you want to paint on any surface such as bare wood, plaster, or metal surface, it would be best for you to use a primer before painting especially if you want the best results possible. A primer provides a uniform surface to which the paint can quickly bond. However, different textures need different types of primers, and for medium density fiberboards, you will need the best primer for MDF.

They are best in blocking stains and odor. Besides, the application methods are straightforward, and you have the liberty to choose either a brush, roller, or a spray can. These products are formulated for use on either interior, exterior, or both. Thus, you rest assured of outstanding results as long as you choose the ideal primer for your MDF.

You will need one of these primers for your next project because they have a very short dry-to-touch time, and recoating is just a few more minutes after this period. However, the market today renders choosing a very demanding task. This is because not all products out there are genuine and you might end up with a “shitty” product if you are not careful. To help reduce the chances of you landing a poor product, I have prepared this detailed article to guide you through your next purchase. Read on for more…

List of the best Primer for MDF

1. Rustins MDFS250 Quick Dry MDF Sealer – Clear

With Rustins MDFS250 MDF Sealer, you rest assured of the best results no matter the type of wood. First, it boasts a clear appearance that protects against inhibiting factors and highlights the wood’s grain, therefore exposing its natural beauty. Thanks to its water-based acrylic emulsion, which enables it to form a transparent film after drying. 

Contrary to the white MDF sealers that can only be painted, the MDFS250 allows you to paint or varnish. This product has a swift drying period that lets you complete your project in no time. It only takes 30 minutes to “touch dry.” Thus, you can recoat after only two hours. Another outstanding feature about the MDFS250 is that you can use it for both interior and exterior use. It is perfect for all grades MDF, including flooring and moisture-resistant grades.

For maximum protection from the natural inhibitors, the Rustins manufacturers ensured that this product has excellent sealing properties. Thus, it also works best as a wood sealer, which sands easily. Besides, it has a low odor, thereby not harmful to your respiratory system. What’s more is that you will complete most of your work on time, as this primer covers approximately 12m^2 per liter. 

With this product, you only require one coat application, but this entirely depends on the working surface’s absorbency. For this specific primer, it comes in a 250ml container. It is also available in other sizes, including 500ml, 1, and 2.5-liter sizes. As a beginner, no need to worry since the application methods are straightforward.

You only have to follow simple steps. This includes ensuring the surface is clean and free from any contamination, and you have to stir well before use. You can also change the bare MDF color by using Rustin’s wood dye before you sealing.

Summary of the key features

  • Drys quickly.
  • Clear sealer.
  • It’s ideal for interior and exterior wood.
  • Water-based acrylic emulsion.
  • Low odor.
  • Excellent sealing properties.

Image of the best primer for MDFPros

  • Large area coverage.
  • Available in different sizes.
  • Easy application methods.
  • Suitable for different surfaces.


  • Recoating is after two hours.
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2. KILZ General Purpose Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer

Just as its name suggests, the KILZ Primer/Sealer is a general-purpose product that leaves your work surface protected against all contaminants. It is specially formulated for use in outdoor applications. Therefore, your finished projects will have minimal problems that result from surface texture and porosity differences. With this primer, no porous surface remains unsealed as it offers outstanding adhesion for most exterior surfaces.

Some of the areas that it’s best in includes stucco, wood, masonry, and brick. However, it’s not recommended for glossy surfaces, mold, mildew prone areas, flooring, and stain blocking. This sealer outperforms your expectations since it has numerous application methods such as using a brush, roller, or a spray can. Top coating is immediately after one hour, and you can use either latex or oil-based paint. It also has a short dry to touch time of only 30 minutes.

You can be sure of extensive area coverage from KILZ since it comes in a 1 gallon can that covers approximately 300 – 400 square feet per gallon. The application procedure does not require experts. You only have to ensure the surface is free of dust, grease, rust, mold, chalk, and peeling paint. Besides, it would help if you didn’t forget to mix well before using.  

Another main reason you need this sealer lies in the fact that KILZ has been making premium paints and primers for the past 40 years. This comes in hand with an award of the best paint brand of the year back in 2015 in the Harris Poll EquiTrend Rankings. A very genuine reason why it’s the best primer for MDF.

Summary of the key features

  • It covers approximately 300 – 400 square feet per gallon.
  • Ideal for exterior surfaces only.
  • Dries to touch in 30 minutes.
  • Recoat in one hour.
  • The application is by brush, roll, or spray.
  • Excellent adhesion.
  • Odorless.
  • Primer/sealer.

Image of KILZ primer for MDFPros

  • Suitable for new constructions.
  • Effortless application procedures.
  • Durable.
  • Most clients trust it.
  • Seals porous surfaces.
  • Use on wood, masonry, and bricks.


  • It’s not recommended for flooring, glossy surface, stain blocking, mold, and mildew prone surface.
  • Ideal for exterior surfaces only.
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3. Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer is manufactured in the United States. The manufacturers ensured that they incorporated the Shellac-base as the main component in this product, thereby rendering it ideal for interior and spot exterior use. Most users refer to this primer as the most excellent stain sealer.

Indeed, it stands true to the title because no other primer is better at permanently blocking stains, wood knots, and odor like Zinsser. Apart from sealing pets, smoke, and musty odors, it also sticks to all surfaces without sanding and thus saving you some extra cost and application time.

Undoubtedly, it would be best if you had this primer for your large work surface as it comes in a 1 gallon can that’s ideal for an extensive area application. It is available in white color and therefore ensures that all the unwanted surfaces are well covered. Additionally, it protects the wood from the dangerous UV rays that may cause the paint to peel off after a short time.

Zinsser B-I-N has a short drying period of only 45 minutes, and the application methods include a roller and a paintbrush. There is some warning information on the package, including “flammable liquid and vapor, and causes eye irritation.” This ensures you correctly use the primer without causing any damage to yourself.

Summary of the key features

  • Shellac-base.
  • Interior and spot exterior.
  • Blocks odors.
  • Seals knots. 
  • It dries in 45 minutes.
  • Ultimate stain blocker.
  • One gallon(white).

MDF primerPros

  • Easy application method.
  • Large area coverage.
  • No sanding.
  • Sticks to all surfaces.
  • Greatest stain sealer.
  • Large area coverage.


  • It’s not ideal for application by spraying.
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4. Rust-Oleum Corporation 270976 Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer

With the Rust-Oleum Corporation 270976 Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer, no stain or any other inhibitor can penetrate the wood surface. This synthetic shellac-based primer also acts as a sealer by providing excellent stain blocking for the whole body. It is ideal for both interior priming and exterior spot priming. Therefore, it stands out to be the best primer for MDF.

This excellent primer combines fast dry time and perfect hide to restore all your projects made of medium density fibreboards. Furthermore, the 270976 has low odor characteristics that protect your respiratory system from damage, mainly when working in a poorly ventilated area.

The most exciting feature about this primer is that it’s ideal for fire and water damage. It achieves this by providing an excellent enamel undercoat and knot sealer. As an ultimate stain blocker, the 2760976 can stick to all surfaces without sanding, thanks to its outstanding adhesion properties. It has a short drying period that only takes 45 minutes, leaving behind a high hiding bright white film.

Since this primer comes in a 1-gallon container, you can use it over an extensive converge area. Additionally, you will save much of your time by using simple application methods that include the use of a brush or a roller. With its ability to block water and smoke stains, you can’t afford to miss this primer for your next demanding project.

Summary of the key features

  • Low odor.
  • It blocks smoke and water stains.
  • It is advanced synthetic shellac.
  • interior/spot exterior.
  • Ideal for fire and water damage.
  • Knot Sealer.
  • Great enamel undercoat.
  • Excellent adhesion.

A primer for MDFPros

  • Outstanding hide over dark colors and stains.
  • Easy application methods.
  • High hiding bright white.
  • Large area coverage.
  • Ultimate stain blocking.


  • It is not clear.
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5. KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer/Sealer

To ensure that topcoats adhere to the tough to paint surfaces, use the KILZ L211101 Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer/Sealer. It has high adhesion properties that increase the painting possibilities. Its nature of bonding achieves this to a wide range of surfaces without sanding. This includes Kynar, PVC, vinyl, Formica, tile, glazed brick, glossy finishes, chalky paints, fiberglass, and metals.

The L211101 has proven to be a unique latex primer that can bond securely on slick surfaces where the ordinary oil or water-based primer won’t adhere. With a viscosity ranging between 93 – 100 KU, you can make the application with a roller of thickness ⅜ – ½ inch nap for smooth surfaces. Whereas on porous surfaces, finish your work on time with a roller of thickness ½ – ¾ inch nap. However, to make your job easier, spray using a spray can with tips ranging from 0.15 – 0.21 inches. This should produce pressure between 2500 – 3200 PSI.

KILZ L211101 got you covered on most of the interior and exterior surfaces, where a secure bond is paramount. This excellent primer works best under epoxies, lacquers, and products containing xylene or other solvents. What makes it even better is its water-based composition that leaves a white thin film on all surfaces. Not forgetting that this primer/sealer comes in a 1 gallon can with a comprehensive area coverage that approximates 300 square feet per gallon.

The application instructions are straightforward. You have to use adequately prepared surfaces free of dust, grease, mold, chalk, rust, and peeling paint. Besides, make sure you mix well before using. This enables it to dry to touch in only 30 minutes, and it becomes ready to recoat in an hour. 

Summary of the key features

  • Dries to touch in 30 minutes.
  • Apply with roller, spray, or brush.
  • Ideal where secure bonds are critical.
  • Viscosity is between 93 – 100 KU.
  • Excellent adhesion.
  • It reduces the need for sanding.
  • It covers 300 square feet per gallon.

Primer for mdfPros

  • Easy application.
  • Large area coverage.
  • Durable. 
  • Recoat after an hour.
  • Compatible with several solvents.


  • You have to mix before using.
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6. Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer Spray

Zinnser manufacturers have proven to be so competitive. With their products appearing twice on this top tier list, it leaves you with no doubt but to trust the Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer Spray. This new trend comes in an enclosed spray can that makes your work more manageable. Taking advantage of the spraying method, you can easily make the application in confined areas of your work surface.

With up to 13 fluid ounces, this commodity will cover a slightly large area on your MDF surface. It is a shellac-based primer and can function as a sealer. The Zinsser B-I-N is best at permanently blocking stains and odors. It also serves well in blocking wood knots and other foreign substances on the wood surface.

Please leave it to this excellent primer for interior and spot exterior use as it’s considered the most fantastic stain sealer. It’s also really good at sealing knots and sap streaks. Besides, this stain killer primer has a white pigmentation that will leave your MDF surface with a thick, white, protective film. It is ideal for ceilings, spackled areas, louvers, among others. Undoubtedly, this is the best primer for MDF as it only takes 15 minutes to dry.

Summary of the key features

  • It dries in 15 minutes.
  • It comes in a spray can.
  • White pigmented shellac.
  • It seals knots and sap streaks.
  • Suitable for interior and spot exterior use.

Shellac primer for MDFPros

  • Less odor.
  • Greatest stain sealer.
  • It covers every unwanted.
  • It comes as a six-pack.


  • It does not cover a wide application area.
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7. 271409 Qt Clear Bin Advanced Primer

With advanced drying to touch in only 25 to 30 minutes, the 271409 Qt Clear Bin Advanced Primer is what you have been missing in your store. This primer allows you to sand or coat after only 45 minutes, another reason why it stands out as the best primer for MDF. This product has excellent adhesion to surfaces with a glossy finish, including enamel paints and varnishes, laminates, paneling, glass, and ceramic tiles.

What’s even more unique about the adhesion property is that there is no need for sanding or deglossing. Furthermore, you can use it on all types of painted or unpainted interior surfaces that demand much consideration. This includes drywall, masonry, cured plaster, PVC, galvanized metal, and wood. The 271409 Qt blocks all the unwanted stains that may interfere with the overall finish of your MDF.

The highlight is how it’s compatible with clear finishes and latex or oil-based architectural paints and enamel topcoats, gratitude to its composition, which contains no wax or stearates. This synthetic shellac sealer provides outstanding odor-blocking for most of the interior surfaces. It does this by quickly sealing odors without compromising the wood’s natural appearance. With this advantage, you can use the 271409 Qt to eliminate strong odors from food, mold, kitchen grease, pet urine, fire and smoke damage, cigarette and cigar smoke.

Additionally, this primer comes in a 1-gallon can and has a wide area coverage that approximates 350 – 400 square feet per gallon. This entirely depends on the application method and surface porosity. With this product, you will experience a unique characteristic whereby it applies white but dries clear, unleashing your MDF’s natural beauty.

Summary of the key features

  • It preserves the original surface appearance.
  • It dries in 45 minutes.
  • Applies white and dries clear.
  • Ultimate odor blocker.
  • Water-based.
  • Ideal for interior use.
  • It covers approximately 300 – 400 square feet per gallon.

Primer and sealer for MDFPros

  • No sanding or deglossing.
  • Excellent adhesion.
  • It’s ideal for all painted or unpainted interior surfaces.
  • It exposes the woods’ natural beauty.


  • It’s only suitable for interior surfaces.
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8. General Finishes Stain Blocking Primer

I couldn’t forget to include the General Finishes Stain Blocking Primer. It not only saves you that extra coin but also provides effectiveness when it comes to stain blocking. For a successful primer, the composition should include a sophisticated resin system and an atypical formulation, and this is what you get with the general finishes. The chemists did their part by maximizing the formulation of this product with the highest quality ingredients.

This has made the application procedure an easy task. For surface preparation, ensure that you clean and remove grime, grease, or loose paint. If the surface is filthy, wash with a mix of 50/50 denatured alcohol and water. Consequently, you can use a commercial cleaner with no sulfate added. If there is any heavy buildup, use a synthetic wool pad to rub it off and allow the surface to completely dry.

After the drying period, you can now prep sand the surface with 220 grit sandpaper and ensure you remove the dust. If you are working on raw wood, sand it with the wood grain using 120 grit sandpaper and finish with 220 grit paper, then remove the dust. After the surface is ready, stir your primer thoroughly before application. It is essential to apply two coats as the first coat only absorbs the wood contaminants that result in a color change. The second application seals off any unwanted material. 

The application method is generally straightforward. You can either use a short nap roller or a rugged synthetic blend brush. Additionally, you can use a spray can as this product comes ready to spray from the container and it doesn’t require thinning. You only need to strain the material through a fine mesh filter then spray medium to wet film between 3 to 5 mil thick. However, you should note that heavier coats will take longer to dry and cure. 

Summary of the key features

  • Water-based.
  • You can use it as a base coat on GF milk paints.
  • Two coats application.
  • No thinning.
  • Apply with a roller, brush, or spray can.
  • Highest quality ingredients.

Image of a stain blocking primer for mdfPros

  • Easy surface preparation.
  • Straightforward application methods.
  • First drying.
  • Longlasting.
  • Large area coverage.


  • You can’t mix it with any paint, stain, or topcoat.
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Best Primer for MDF Buyer’s Guide

Medium-density fibreboards require more attention since they can’t withstand most of the natural inhibitors. For this reason, you need to have the best primer for MDF as it is formulated to block stains from the wood surfaces. It is also ideal for blocking odor and bringing out the natural appearance of the finished surface.

Therefore, you need to know the essential factors that you should contemplate before choosing and some crucial reasons why you need the best primer for your next project.

Why You Need The Best Primer for MDF 

  • Easy application. You have several application methods to choose from, including using a brush, roller, or spraying.
  • Durable. The durability of these products is at its peak. They help maintain the natural beauty of your MDF while protecting the surface against the unwanted.
  • Large area coverage. The primers have a wide area coverage. You achieve this by applying only a few coats at most two.
  • Fast-drying. You will have your next project complete in no time since these products have a quick drying time.
  • Low odor. With the best primer for MDF, you rest assured with low odor levels. They permanently seal off all the odor leaving a uniform film on the surface.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Primer for MDF

  • Area coverage

It is essential to know how large your project is so that you go for the correct size. Different manufacturers pack their products in cans of various sizes, which will determine the total area coverage. The coverage is also considered by the application method since spraying will cover more area than a brush or roller. Another critical factor of consideration is the porosity of the surface. This is because the more porous surface will require more paint compared to the one with less porosity.

  • Application method

The application method entirely depends on how you prefer doing it. Several ways include the use of a brush, roller, or spraying. If you consider spraying, you will find out that this method will help you reach confined areas with ease. Some products like the Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer have only one application method, which is spraying.

  • Composition

Not all primers have the same formulation. Therefore, you should be very careful when selecting. You will find some that are shellac-based, water-based, or oil-based. For water-based primers, they leave a clear finish that exposes the wood’s natural appearance.

  • Odor level

I recommend that you go for a primer with low or no odor. This will help your surface to last longer compared to those with high odor levels.

  • Application procedure

If you want to finish your projects timely, then choose a primer that you can readily apply over different surfaces without the need for sanding or removing the previous paints. However, if you prefer to clean up the body before application, go for the one that requires cleaning before application. However, the critical factor of both types is to ensure you have a uniform paint finish.

  • Area of application

It is vital to consider the area of the application when choosing the best primer for MDF. The reason is that some primers are specifically designed for use on interior surfaces or exterior surfaces, while some can function for both cases. 

  • Budget

If you have a project that requires an MDF primer, the first thing to do is consider how large the project is, the necessary amount of primer, and the method you will use for the application. All these considerations drive you back to the budget layout. It would be best if you went for the primer that suits the budget for your pending project.

Watch the video below on how to prepare MDF for painting:


It is now clear that you are supposed to prime for best results on MDF materials. With the use of the best primer for MDF, no stains or odor will remain uncovered. The added advantage is that the application methods are effortless, and they generally have a wide coverage area.

However, after years of using different primers on MDF materials, and other top-tier products, I cannot hesitate to say that Rustins MDFS250 Quick Dry MDF Sealer – Clear caught my attention, leaving me with no option but choosing it as my personal best. Therefore, feel free to analyze the other eight products above, taking advantage of the buyer’s guide to pick your personal best. I wish you a happy shopping time.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.