Zinssers B-I-N - a.k.a. the Miracle Cure-All Primer!
Apr 29, 2005
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Dries fast, covers stains and smells, great prep for just about any surface
Cons:Smells absolutely noxious, can't re-use rollers (why would you anyway?), $
The Bottom Line: Zinssers B-I-N is an amazing primer that will save you lots of time and effort. This works great on so many things, I can't imagine using anything else.
We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us when we started to prepare a house to get ready to sell. I was selling my moms house and we wanted everything just right for potential buyers. One of the most obvious things we wanted to do was completely repaint the house inside and out.
Recommend this product?
After assessing all the rooms in the house for painting (including after doing a little bit of demolition), we realized we had some problem spots to deal with. These were predominantly water stains, which is the last thing we wanted to be coming through our final coat of paint. I could only imagine what a potential homebuyer or their inspector would think!
Although the drywall had been dry for quite some time, we knew the stains would come through. (In fact, we did hit a few spots with regular primer before going through the house with Zinssers, and the spots came through).
It was recommended by quite a few people that we use Zinssers B-I-N primer. We were able to find it on our first few emergency trips to Ace Hardware and Aboffs, and later also stocked up from Home Depot and Lowes. Fortunately, it seems very easy to find. We always get the gallon size, which costs between $20 - 25.00. It is listed on Lowes website as $20.97.
Zinssers B-I-N What is it?
This product was developed in 1946, and has been around for quite some time! This is a shellac-base primer-sealer, as opposed to latex, oil base, etc. It is really meant as a stain killer, from dirt to water stains.
It also works as a sealer, and Seals in tough stains, pet, smoke and fire odors.
You can use B-I-N over a variety of surfaces, not just drywall. This can include things like dense hardboard, chipboard, glass, Formica®, ceramic tile, PVC & metal pipes, radiators, grillwork, fire doors, and galvanized ductwork. The instructions say that you do not have to prepare the surface with sanding, etching, etc.
B-I-N dries quickly, within minutes. You can apply other coats over it within 45 minutes.
Our Experiences with Zinssers B-I-N
There were a few issues we wanted to deal with in particular, using the B-I-N. The first were water spots. Again, they were really old water spots, but like I said, the last thing we needed was potential homebuyers and inspectors seeing water spots as they did a walk-though. There were some pretty bad water stains around one of the showers (which we completely ripped out anyway the shower, that is) and other areas of the house. This was one of the first areas we tackled, because it was our biggest and most formidable project. The Zinssers B-I-N primer went on smooth and sealed in the stains within one coat.
Some of the closets (next to the bathrooms) and one of the rooms had a bunch of mold spots in it. Not to mention, there had been a puff-back in the house about a decade earlier, and the soot was showing above the radiators. Again, something that needed to be eradicated before showing and selling the house. The B-I-N covered up these areas and the finish paint went on beautifully. Weeks and months later, the spots never showed through.
Another one of the issues was down in the garage. Not only were there some water stains, there were some other stains to deal with (a variety of general dirt stains). We spot treated those areas, and then painted the garage throughout. Looking at it afterwards, it was spotless!
One of my final orders of business was painting some ratty shelves in a closet in the basement. Some were white (yes, with mold and dirt) and there was one knotty pine wood one. The wood was very dark, knotty, and in bad shape. I threw on a coat of Zinssers to each shelf, and voila, it looked like it was meant to be.
The basement was a big task. The walls were concrete and had really old dingy white (no longer white) paint on it. The cement had a rough surface and there were stains on the walls. I used the B-I-N as regular paint for these walls, and it came out looking great. It looked like the Zinssers was made just for it, since the walls are smooth and slightly glossy. The basement looked spectacular!
With B-I-N, there is no bleed-through into the top coat to ruin the job.
We had one major issue to deal with on the exterior of the house, which is painted white. There is a pipe where the oil company delivers oil (which goes to a tank in the basement). The oil company had made a mess where oil dripped on the house. Over the years, an ugly oil stain developed around the pipe. It was completely noticeable as you entered the house, and looked pretty horrible (a lot worse than it actually was). We imagined nightmares from bleaching to cleaning to priming to re-priming. In fact, my relatives had attempted to clean up the area years before to no avail. We tried one coat of Zinssers and the stain is gone. It looks amazing considering the beautiful white paint, which looks impeccable.
Zinssers B-I-N really did the job, and it got it done fast. This stuff dries really quickly. The product information says you can apply more coats in 45 minutes, but I know we painted over it much faster than that.
I have every intention of using this on whatever our next job might be. We will be buying a new home as fast as we can find one, so I will have my Zinssers ready! We also talked to some friends who just bought a starter home, and they were raving about this product as well.
There is one major downside to this product but there is a way around it. Zinssers B-I-N has a very potent smell. It is a shellac and is alcohol based. Basically, it smells as though you are sniffing a pan of rubbing alcohol. The smell doesnt get too bad until you are in a confined area (not necessarily small, just not ventilated well). For example, in working on the basement, I was downstairs with one very small window and I was using a lot of B-I-N. The smell is generally overpowering and absolutely noxious.
Fortunately, as I mentioned, there is a solution. My husband had purchased a 3M mask with organic vapor cartridges. I was pretty surprised when I put on the mask and I could not smell a thing. (How cool is that?!) With the mask, I was able to paint a lot at a time with no problems. I consider this a must if you have larger scale projects that you are doing with the B-I-N (such as painting the entire basement!).
It is virtually impossible to stay in an enclosed area without any ventilation or a mask. If I wasnt using a mask, I used a window fan and/or a high-powered fan aimed at my work. If you somehow are able to stand the smell, the Zinssers will give you quite a headache among other things!
Another thing to note is that Zinssers does not rinse well. I hate washing paint rollers, so I never really cared about this. I tried once to rinse one to see how it would do, and it was pointless. Plan on using a roller and saving it until you are done with your projects, and otherwise throwing it out.
Speaking of rinsing well, Zinssers is hard to wash off the skin! I passed on wearing a Tyvek suit, gloves, or hat, and ended up with dots of shellac all over me, from my face to my arms to my engagement ring. Most of these washed off, and I picked the dots of paint off my ring while bored at work. The larger smears took some work. I used GoJo orange hand scrub that has pumice in it, and the Zinssers was clinging on for dear life. I used a nail brush which did very little. Finally, I used the brush that comes with the GoJo, which is a harsh plastic brush. I scrubbed until my skin hurt and then gave up, still leaving some shellac on my hands. Not willing to push the pain threshold as I was scrubbing until my hands felt raw, I figured it would come off in my next shower. Nope. I had to scrub it off even more! It is probably worth more preventative measures if youre going to get shellac on you, rather than trying to scrub it off.
The Zinssers needs to be mixed well. Fortunately, most of the time, we had it mixed at the store and used it shortly thereafter. But there were other times that that was not the case, so we purchased a mixer that goes on a drill. This really speeds up the process and makes life a lot easier! However, I recommend getting one of the simpler mixers. We originally used one that has a plastic wheel type design, and it was near impossible to clean. In comparison, the small metal mixer we got can just be left to dry. The Zinssers shellac basically does not rinse well off these objects so you dont want to use it with or on anything you would prefer to rinse.
I was able to save some rollers and trays with Zinssers B-I-N in them. We simply wrapped up the trays in plastic garbage bags, sealing them up and making sure the rollers were wet. Since we seemed to find more and more stains here and there, it was handy to have a tray ready to use at any given time.
Something I found helpful was using their spray paint in conjunction with the can of paint. As I mentioned, the walls in the basement were very uneven, with all kinds of crevices in the cement. What I did was spray paint in those areas, and then use my roller to complete the wall. We also did this on some other areas. However, I found that using the spray paint over the regular paint looked like it had a different finish. We were only using Zinssers on the walls no regular finish paint. On the cement/concrete, it had a shiny look to it. But if I looked in the light, the areas I spray-painted were slightly more matte. Turned out I had missed a bunch of spots in the basement, so I just rolled over those areas quickly, but it would have been good to know had I not being going back for touch-ups.
When we needed an instant cure-all, Zinssers B-I-N came through with shining colors (excuse the pun!). Our matte antique walls dont show an inkling of any of the water stains, mold stains, or anything else. The exterior of the house does not show a decade old oil stain. Although this shellac primer may be more expensive than others, it was worth just knowing and getting it done in one shot. I don't know what we would have done without it. Zinssers B-I-N saved us a ton of time and grief.
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