Why is Kilz Not Recommended for Flooring?

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Homeowners often recommend using kilz to tackle common home improvements problems such as stubborn stains and unwanted odors. The product has a good reputation for its durability, cost, and ease of application.

However, Kilz is not always recommended for basic flooring needs as it is more specialized in its use.

Can you use Kilz on floors?

Using Kilz on a floor surface might give you mixed results depending on the floor type and purpose of application.

You can use Kilz on some floors – hardwood, concrete, tile, but it might not be the best choice for use on other types of floors. Instead, it is better to use kilz on drywalls, plaster, brick and mortar, tiles, and other glossy surfaces within the interior of your home.

Kilz works exceptionally well when hiding unpleasant odors, heavy stains from oil, nicotine, rust, smoke, and other hard-to-remove chemicals that may affect the quality of your living space.

Another possible use for kilz includes hiding previous colors on your surfaces (which is especially useful when considering a color change within your walls, ceiling, etc. There are concerns that the product might have some toxicity levels which might affect pregnant women, pets, and young kids.

Note; For safety concerns, it’s best to keep the chemical away from the reach of vulnerable users.

Why is Kilz not recommended for flooring?

Kilz does not seem appropriate for flooring because of several reasons.

  • A primary concern against the use of kilz paint for your floor relates to its principal use. Kilz can hide unpleasant odors (and stains) such as pet urine from your flooring. Unless your flooring has such issues, it’s not a good idea to opt for kilz as the go-to paint for your flooring.
  • Some users lament that the product has an unappealing smell that can linger within your room for days and that it might take some time before drying.
  • Kilz works best to provide a base for your subfloor before adding a finishing touch. Water-based kilz primer may not achieve a glossy finish ideal for most floors. Instead, the product has a more practical use that includes safeguarding the more sensitive sections of your flooring from damage and moisture degradation. Besides, it wouldn’t last long when stepped over frequently.

Can I paint Kilz on the subfloor?

You can paint kilz on your subfloor though it depends on the type of floor and purpose of application.

The paint is especially ideal for hardwood, plywood, and other organic-based subfloors with an affinity for stains and unpleasant odors. Kilz paint can either be a water-based or oil-based primer. It’s always a good idea to first confirm the make of your paint before attempting to use the same on your subfloor.

Some versions of the product can help keep your subfloor free from mold, mildew, and other fungi that affect the quality of your subfloor. Always ensure that you first wash your subfloor before applying the paint. Using kilz on a dirty subfloor might have unattractive results.

Here’s how to paint kilz on a subfloor:

1. Clean/clear your floor

Remove the carpeting, laminate, or other floor finishes to expose the affected areas of your subfloor. Conduct an assessment and inspect the flooring for additional damage. If you are moving into a new house, you might have to conduct an extensive flooring inspection to ensure you deal with all affected areas. Make sure to check under sinks and other humid regions for mold and other fungi.

2. Sand the affected surfaces.

Carefully sand the affected surfaces to create a rough surface for easy bonding. Take precautions by wearing protective clothing plus a dust mask and ventilate the room accordingly if you are dealing with foul odors.

3. Apply the paint evenly.                                 

Dust the affected area and sprinkle a small amount of diluted baking soda solution to help mask the smell. Some kilz products are water-based, so having a slightly wet subflooring might be a plus.

You can use a trowel to scoop the kilz paste and apply it to the affected surface. Kilz has a strong smell, so you might have to get accustomed to the harsh odor as you paint over the affected surfaces. Make sure to open windows, doors, and other airspaces to help deal with the smell.

After completing your painting project, give the subfloor enough time to dry before attempting to fix up your flooring.

How long does it take Kilz to dry on the subfloor?

Kilz can take from 30 min to 1 hr to dry completely, although the drying time is affected by other factors such as the humidity in the room, amount of paint, and the type of kilz applied on the subfloor.

Water-based kilz dries quicker compared to oil-based products of the same make. However, the smell might linger on for a few days if not properly ventilated. A plywood subfloor is well suited for kilz application as it sucks in the product and provides a sturdy solid base for your flooring finish.

You can also use kilz on other types of subfloors that contain cement as concrete and wood, but you might have to check with the manufacturer (or a specialist) for the best form of product for your needs.

Can I use Kilz on concrete floors?

You can use kilz on concrete floors. The product provides good adhesion and creates a quality finish for your surface. It is especially ideal for indoor surfaces owing to its predominantly white color (but can also be used within some outdoor spaces such as brick/stone decorations.

It’s always a good idea to add an extra layer of paint after using kilz on a concrete floor. The intention of this product is not to be a finish in itself but rather a filler that helps you better see the natural hue of your color choice without compromising it (perhaps due to the cement).

Some kilz products are made especially for concrete and masonry works. It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing kilz for concrete floors.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

3 thoughts on “Why is Kilz Not Recommended for Flooring?”

  1. Hello And I am glad to have came across your page. When we moved into our new home, there was mushrooms and mildew under the kitchen sink. The house has suffered water damage so I gutted everything down to the wall studs and subfloor. I in the process of remodeling my kitchen, laundry room, backdoor/garage hallway and half bath that are all down stairs and I have updated and freshen up the plywood subfloor. I was not sure if I should primer coat the new plywood subfloor that I installed with the Kilz primer mold and mildew resistant but after reading the Information on this page, it’s a great idea and a definite yes. Thank you for the great advice.

  2. I have removed a floor. There was felt underneath. The felt stained the subfloor in spots. I need to fix low spots. What kind of parch or how can I level floor or do I need to put down a plywood over the subfloor?

  3. I have removed a floor. There was felt underneath. The felt stained the subfloor in spots. I need to fix low spots. What kind of patch or how can I level floor or do I need to put down a plywood over the subfloor?


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