Why is Kilz Not Recommended for Flooring?

As a professional painter, I’ve worked on various home renovation projects over the years. One of the most common questions I get asked by clients is whether Kilz can be used as a primer for their flooring. My answer is always the same: while Kilz is a fantastic primer for walls and other surfaces, it’s not recommended for use on flooring for several reasons:

  1. Durability: Kilz products are primarily designed for use on walls and ceilings. Flooring surfaces, especially high-traffic areas, are subject to much more wear and tear. Kilz is not formulated to withstand the constant foot traffic, furniture movement, and other stresses that flooring experiences.
  2. Glossy Finish: Kilz primers often leave a smooth and glossy finish when they dry. This finish can make flooring surfaces slippery and unsafe, especially if the flooring material is already smooth or glossy.
  3. Adhesion: While Kilz is good at promoting paint adhesion, it may not adhere well to certain flooring materials, such as hardwood or laminate. This could result in peeling or flaking of the Kilz primer over time.
  4. Incompatibility: Kilz is not intended to be a standalone floor coating, and using it as such can lead to problems. Flooring typically requires specific coatings and finishes that are formulated to withstand the unique demands of the floor, such as abrasion resistance and flexibility.
  5. Safety Concerns: Using Kilz on flooring can create safety hazards, particularly in areas like kitchens and bathrooms, where slip resistance is essential. The glossy finish mentioned earlier can contribute to slipping accidents.

If you are preparing a floor for painting or staining, it’s usually recommended to use a primer or sealer that is specifically designed for flooring applications. These products are engineered to provide the necessary durability, adhesion, and safety features required for flooring surfaces. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific type of flooring material you have and the intended finish or coating you plan to apply.

Best Ways to Use Kilz

Kilz is a brand of primer that’s commonly used in the painting industry. It’s known for its ability to cover up stains and seal in odors. Kilz comes in several different varieties, including oil-based and water-based formulas, and it can be used on a variety of surfaces, including drywall, wood, and masonry.

My Experience with Kilz on Flooring

Early in my career, I was asked to paint a concrete basement floor for a client. The client had already applied Kilz as a primer to the floor before I arrived. While Kilz is a great primer for walls and ceilings, I quickly discovered that it’s not suitable for flooring.

Firstly, Kilz is not designed for heavy foot traffic. It’s a paint primer, not a coating that can withstand daily wear and tear. As a result, Kilz can easily scratch, peel, and flake off when applied to flooring.

Secondly, Kilz doesn’t have the same level of durability and adhesion as other floor coatings. While it may provide a temporary solution to minor stains or odors, it’s not a long-term solution for flooring. Over time, Kilz will wear away, leaving the surface vulnerable to further damage.

Lastly, Kilz can also make a floor more slippery, which can be hazardous. When applied to flooring, Kilz can create a smooth surface that’s prone to slipping and sliding, especially when wet. This can be a major safety concern, especially in areas like bathrooms or kitchens.

Alternative Solutions for Flooring

If you’re looking to paint or coat your flooring, there are better options than Kilz. Here are some alternative solutions to consider:

  • Epoxy Coatings: Epoxy coatings are a durable and long-lasting solution for flooring. They’re resistant to scratches, stains, and chemicals, and they come in a variety of colors and textures. Epoxy coatings are also slip-resistant, making them a safe option for high-traffic areas.
  • Polyurethane Coatings: Polyurethane coatings are another great option for flooring. They’re similar to epoxy coatings in terms of durability and resistance to scratches and stains. They’re also easy to clean and maintain. Polyurethane coatings come in a range of finishes, from matte to high-gloss, and they’re resistant to UV rays, which can cause discoloration over time.
  • Stain and Sealers: If you’re looking to enhance the natural beauty of your wood flooring, a stain and sealer may be the way to go. Stains and sealers penetrate the wood, bringing out its natural color and grain. They also provide a protective barrier against scratches, stains, and spills.


While Kilz is a great primer for walls and other surfaces, it’s not recommended for use on flooring. Its lack of durability, adhesion, and slip resistance makes it a poor choice for a long-term flooring solution. If you’re looking to paint or coat your flooring, consider using one of the alternative solutions I mentioned above. As always, it’s best to consult with a professional painter or flooring specialist to determine the best solution for your specific needs.

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