Best Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets in 2021

When it comes to refurbishing a home, for most unprofessional painters, choosing the best bonding primer for kitchen cabinets is a challenging task. Priming is a crucial step you should not miss to get your kitchen cabinets ready to be installed.

This step helps overcome a wide range of issues, including very porous textures, stains, odors, porosity, and adhesion difficulties.

While it will prolong the waiting period for the whole project, the overall finish and durability of the painted cover can make a huge difference.

It is important to note that kitchens are subject to high humidity and natural moisture. Thus, if not adequately prepared, these conditions will adversely affect the painted surfaces.

When select your primer, choose the formula that provides exceptional coverage, great adhesion, mold, and mildew protection.

Let’s take a quick look at our top picks below for the best bonding primer for kitchen cabinets.

The Top-Rated Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets (Recommendation)







Understanding The Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

1. How To Choose The Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets?

There are many questions that pop up in your head when choosing the foundation for your boards.

Do you want a base that dries immediately?

It should guarantee the adhesion?

How about the stain blocking?

Moreover, you would still need to scrape some grease on your surface before applying foundation, whether it is oil based, water based, hybrid, pigmented shellac, or so on.

2. Steps Of Preparing Before Refurnishing

– Step 1: Prepare the kitchen

Begin with emptying the cabinets and counters, removing any freestanding appliances.

Move tables and unrelated kinds of stuff to another room.

Tape rosin paper on countertops, floors, and plastic sheets on walls, windows, fixed appliances to shield the rest of the project from dust and fumes.

Set up a working area for the cabinet that needed to be painted.

Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

– Step 2: Clean all the surfaces:

  • Use a sprayer to spray a degreaser onto a rag or abrasive kitchen scrub sponge and clean all the surfaces of the cabinet to remove any oil that is important for the base to stick.
  • If the cleaner is not powerful enough, try using a stronger one such as TSP (trisodium phosphate). Just ensure that you follow the safety precautions on the container.
  • Clean each of the six drawer or cabinet door surfaces as well as the face frames and boxes exposed.
  • Be careful with the cooktop and cap cabinets that are always coated with grease.

– Step 3: Prepare the boxes:

  • Open the ventilation windows and wear the safety gears. Drain all sides using an abrasive pad in a liquid deglosser.
  • Hold a rag below for drips. Wipe the stain with another rag until the deglosser evaporates. Cover the screw hole with two-part polyester wood or autobody filler if you are doing on the hardware.
  • It takes about 5 minutes to set so only mix in small batches. The filler reduces a little, thus, overfill the holes slightly.
  • Remove the excess with a sharp scraper as soon as it settles. Sand it smooth if it hardens completely.
  • Use 100 grit paper to sand all surfaces.
  • Clean or even vacuum both inside and outside of the cabinets so that no dust pieces are left behind and then wipe them over with a tack cloth for extra measure.

– Step 4: Priming

  • To add the foundation to the cabinet door, use a 2½ or 3-inch-wide brush.
  • From the top of the cupboard, brush the base substance over the grain, then move it slightly in the direction of the grain over the wet finish. Tip from one end to the other with a single stroke. Allow it to dry for about a day. Apply the second layer on the next day, then wait for it to dry again if you use the brushing putty.
  • Ensure the cupboard door is accompanied by the brush. For example, as the rail falls into a stile, the rail must be first painted, overlapped a little on the stile, and then painted until it dries overlay.  

What Is The Best Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets

The difference between one coat and three coats of primer

*Additional notes:

  • Slow drying, oil based primers perform very well on densely tight-grained timbers such as maple or cherry, or process boards. Yet they are actually sinking into open grained woods such as oak, ash, or hickory.
  • If you choose the brushing method, you should use a decent nylon polyester brush which can be thrown away after each layer. It does not get level as it dries and must be flattened by assiduous sanding.
  • Use stain-blocking primers, which easily dries and seals knots and other surface defects which might bleed through the topcoats, if the cabinets are heavily stained. However, stain blockers should not be used for most cases, a latex or oil based primer function well enough.

Best Primer For Bare Wood Shortlist (Updated List)

Product imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice

*Please notice that the reviews and ratings of the following products were recorded on the writing date by the editor. Ratings can be changed over time.

Best Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets – Choose Your Right One

Valspar Bonding Primer On Kitchen Cabinets


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Key features:

  • Type: Water based
  • Coverage: 300 square foot per gallon
  • Use on properly prepared surfaces

 The KILZ Adhesion High Bonding Interior Latex Primer is a safe choice if you need to paint on a surface that might have difficulties adhering.

This primer is ideal for both indoor and outdoor works, which require a secure bond.

It can also be used under lacquers, epoxies, and products that contain solvents like xylene.

This formula can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed.

Within 30 minutes, KILZ Adhesion dries to touch and be able to recoat within one hour.


  • Apply in thick layers
  • Can be used on many surfaces
  • Fast drying time
  • Impressive coverage


  • Only covers some imperfections
  • Higher price compared to others


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Key features

  • Type: Oil-based
  • Adds extra shine to your finish
  • Fast drying time
  • High hiding formula protects stains, seals water, smoke, etc.
  • Stick to all surfaces without sanding

While mostly intended as a stain-blocking primer, The Zinsser Cover Stain Interior & Exterior Oil Primer can also be used for adding additional brightness as a paint base.

Since created as a high hiding foundation, it blocks most wood stains and disguises wood sap bleeds from woods like beech and cedar.

The quick-drying nature feature of this product helps it creates an enamel-like undercoat, which provides durability, slippage resistance, and harm when the surface is cleaned.

However, the primer must be properly cured in order to ensure toughness before applying color.

This one has a strong smell, like most of the oil-based primers, and can create intense fumes, particularly if it is operated in a small room.

Thus, when dealing with this substance, respirators and gloves are recommended to protect your health.


  • Perfect in hiding formal blocks caused by cigarette and smoke, as well as water sealing
  • Easy to sand and adhere to both interior and exterior projects


  • Only sold in quart size container
  • Sometimes dry longer than expected


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Key features:

  • Low price but qualified standard
  • Type: Water based
  • Coverage: 300 square foot per gallon
  • Use on properly prepared surfaces
  • Seal strong odors

KILZ Restoration Primer Maximum Odor And Stain Blocking is an ideal foundation, with its combination of wood sealer and resin base that avoids sides from bleeding.

Tough stains, smoke, tannin, smoke, rust, moisture damages, these are not a matter to the product of KILZ.

It performs outstandingly for glass, ceramic tiles, metal paints, bricks, plaster, and woodwork.

The base creates a strong seal on different porous surfaces that facilitates the better application of pigment.

You may either use the oil base or the latest paint to topcoat the primer.

It has an impressive coverage level of almost 300 up to 400 square feet each gallon.

You should apply the foundation on sanded surfaces, without peeling, rust, mold, chalk, grease, or dust.

It can also cover all of your previous works on the surface.

They will cover the various graffiti, pen, crayon, marker, and return for you the like-new side.

Especially, this product has reviewed that works excellently on covering up caustic cat pee stains on cement surfaces. Such a helpful product for pet lovers!


  • Cheap price
  • Can be applied by brushes, sprayers, and rollers
  • Fast drying time: 30 minutes to touch, 1 hour to recoat
  • Tackle the different water stains, including severe and heavy ones


  • Slower drying time (especially when applying by roller or brush)
  • Pricey and expensive compared to others


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Key features:

  • Type: Oil based
  • Drying time: Fast, 1 hour
  • Multi purpose
  • Superior adhesion
  • Coverage: 300 to 350 square foot per gallon

Due to the especially penetrating solvent formula, the INSL-X Prime Lock Plus Alkyd Primer is considered one of the best answers for what is the best bonding primer available for kitchen furniture such as cabinets.

This product provides consistent adhesion, which performs particularly well on glossy surfaces.

This ensures that the paint added on the top will firmly stick to stop leaking current stains or paint.

It also helps to lock various stains from grease and food.

The INSL’s primer is easy to dry, meaning you can finish your work with less time.

It takes as little as 30 minutes to get it dry.

It is simple to apply with brushes or rollers, depending on your preferences.

The formula produces good protection to make your topcoat an outstanding foundation.


  • Offer excellent coverage: up to 350 square foot per gallon
  • Stick well to glossy surfaces
  • Fast drying time
  • Cover efficiently water and smoke stains


  • Not really recommended using a spray gun
  • High price
  • Need to apply multiple layers to stain


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Key features:

  • Type: Oil base
  • White bonding primer and sealer provides excellent adhesion
  • All topcoats

The XIM Advanced Technology UMA Bonder And Primer is also a great selection for kitchen cabinets.

This is the most unique one in this list since it is a 3-in-1 product, including bonding, priming, and sealing all in one.

Thus, in theory, it would save you lots of time.

The manufacturer claims to offer long term durability, but this feature has not yet been highly rated.

It is also an outdoor and indoor product, which can be used in areas like unfinished wood and galvanized downspouts.

The inconvenience here is that you need to sand all your surfaces, which is tedious and time-consuming, while other primer brands do not require this step.

On a positive note, because of the low VOCs and low odor, this primer is recommended for being used on surfaces you touch frequently.

Moreover, cleaning up is easy too, only need water and soap.

On the other hand, within a few weeks, some users find a splitting and blistering due to moisture.

Despite being promoted as a 3-in-1 solution, the long term result of this product is still unsure. However, this rising star in primer is still worth trying.


  • Use for both interior and exterior
  • Low VOCs
  • Low odor
  • Good bonding and durability


  • Sometimes result in a very thick layer
  • Not work well with a sprayer
  • Need sanding before application

Best Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets – Guidelines For Buyers

Best Bonding Primer For Laminate Kitchen Cabinets


1. Choosing The Right Type

There are three main types of primers available in the market nowadays: Oil based, Latex, Shellac. Each has its own functionalities and benefits.

–          Oil based

Used by most experts since it gives the final result a satin or glossy finish.

This type is superior in bonding, which prevents the penetration of the topcoat by stains.

It fits well on different surfaces of cabinets such as wood, metals, or even previously painted surfaces.

However, it takes a long time to cure, especially if you apply two coats as recommended.

Another cons is its high level of VOCs and fumes.

They emit heavy smells that are susceptible to hepatic and lung harm.

–          Latex

Also known as water based type, which is suggested for amateur painters as it is easy to apply and affordable.

You can apply it with all kinds of rollers, brushes, or sprayers.

Latex dries more quickly and can be used to finish both the priming and painting tasks on the same day rather than waiting for three to four days for the oil based to dry fully.

Generally, latex provides a long-lasting bonding and protection, but not as durable as the oil based one.

–          Shellac

This one is really a hero that can seal both wooden and metallic sides while bringing an exceptional layer that shields any stain from penetration.

It is also perfect for crayon marks or paw prints since it resists stain, smells, and dries very fast.

On the contrary, this type is very challenging to apply.

You ought to dilute the paint with alcohol and then wash the equipment thoroughly after the project done.  

–          Paint and primer in one

In theory, it would be time-saving and much more convenient when only one product can cover the tasks of two others.

However, in practice, the all-in-one product consists of thicker paint but no primer among the ingredients.

Some reported that this product builds up during the curing process, which makes it easier to peel.

Because this is a new product, it still needs lots of improvements to be competitive.

2. Costs And Disadvantages

The most expensive ones are not always the best on the market.

Cost is an important factor that you should consider when looking for the best bonding primer for your kitchen cabinets. 

Some foundations do decent jobs yet are less expensive.

When working on big projects, the expense of the coverage must be taken into account in order to reduce the additional costs.

Environment and health impact is also a thing you should consider.

Since these are all chemical products, they contain VOCs which has negative impacts on the environment and health of human as well as their pets.

If possible, you should choose products that pose less threat and more environmentally friendly.

Commonly Asked Questions About Preparing For Painting On Kitchen Cabinets

Best Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets Uk

1. Should I Roll Or Spray Primer?

You can achieve your expected result in both processes.

However, the paint sprayer places you in a unique place to flash the cabinets and achieve the finest finish.

You would have no trouble with dips or strips, unlike the roller or paintbrush.

Whilst, if you are familiar with the typical methods, using a roller in combination with a brush is still ok.

2. Any Reviews Of The Valspar Bonding Primer?

Although this is a new primer in the market and we did not find enough information to put in our list, here are some useful details we gathered for you:

  • Stir it thoroughly because some reviews said that it may be thick and can appear chunky.
  • Only need one coat and can be recoated in just one hour
  • Best applied with a nylon polyester brush, foam roller, or 3/8 inch nap roller. It can be sprayed, however, brushing or rolling is easier.
  • It is not necessary, however, you can gently sand off the imperfections once fully dry.

Check for some Valspar products on Amazon here.

3. What Is The Best Primer For Laminate Kitchen Cabinets?

Best Bonding Primer For Kitchen Cabinets Sherwin Williams

Laminate is quite hard to fit well with all primers or paints, just those specially formulated.

If you plan to prime a bonding substance with such tenacity that it is set to laminate, then apply with an oil or latex based paint after the primer has cured.

You can skip the priming step if you choose a paint that can be applied directly over laminate, but this kind of paint is quite limited in color choices.

 Bear in mind that you must clean and sand first before applying.

The 4th product in our list INSL-X Prime Lock Plus Alkyd Primer is a good choice for laminate kitchen boards.

4. How Can I Prevent Mold?

If you are worried about mold growth, you should apply a mildewcide additive to the primer substance.

5. What Primer Is Recommended For Painting Cherry Cabinets With Milk Paint?

We suggest using the oil based foundation, for example, ZINSSER COVER STAIN INTERIOR & EXTERIOR OIL PRIMER is good.

There are no sealing properties of milk paint alone.

Cherry bleeds red oil, then you can see red strains anywhere through the paint if you do not fully prime the cabinets.

You should prime two coats of the product I mentioned for the best lock.


We urge you to spend more time in the review sections, in particular the benefits and drawbacks of each product, to finalize your pick of the right primer.

The products mentioned above are kind of affordable and deliver the best efficiency, reliability, and blasting shield that we had chosen for you.

To conclude, our top pick is KILZ ADHESION HIGH BONDING INTERIOR LATEX PRIMER for all purposes.

It is suitable for newbies in painting and easy to apply from home.

Thinking about a cheaper option but still provide good quality? Give KILZ RESTORATION PRIMER MAXIMUM ODOR AND STAIN BLOCKING a try.

Selecting the best bonding primer for kitchen cabinets for your refurnishing projects will add value to your home and boost livability. You do not have to pay a lot to alter the look of your house simply but drastically. By choosing the correct primer for the work, most people obtain satisfactory outcomes at a fraction of the expense of using a professional contractor.

Further Reading: 

Tags: water base primer, top coat, oak cabinets, high quality, fill the grain, block stain, shellac base primer, apply the primer

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