I'm remodeling a pantry space in my home that had glossy dark purple paint on two walls and more matte gray paint on the other two. After removing shelving and wall anchors and completing wall repairs with spackle, I completely sanded the surface with an orbital sander using 120 grit to prepare for primer. I then swept, vacuumed, and rinsed the walls with a wet rag to remove dust; the walls were smooth to the touch. Last night, I rolled Kilz Original primer onto the walls. Today, the surface looks like this:

Wall corner

enter image description here

I'm not sure if this is what it's supposed to look like, but I painted some finish coat (Ben Moore Regal, Eggshell) over it and it still seems to have the same rough surface qualities:

Test Ben Moore paint

Is this what Kilz Original primer is supposed to look like when applied? Should I sand the walls again before applying top coat? Could this be because I used the cheaper "Best" roller from Walmart (I think not, because the brush marks are also pronounced)? I tried sanding a small area today, but it clogged the paper. Am I overthinking this? I've never used Kilz Original primer before, but I have used BIN, and it didn't really look like this (but it was over a light color).

  • you should have mentioned that Kilz Original is a primer ... i think that the rough finish is abnormal ... a primer should not modify the wall texture .... something else is at play ... test the primer on a piece of cardboard just to see if you get the same results
    – jsotola
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 21:13
  • 1
    Are you expecting to have a totally smooth finish like a piece of furniture or something? Paint rollers made for a wall are not designed to provide a super-smooth finish because most walls already have some type of texture on them.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 14:54
  • To me the section with the finish paint looks fine. This is a pantry. I would paint it with the finish paint and try to be happy with the result. Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 18:16
  • I guess the thing that's weirding me out is that it's so dissimilar from the finish of the previous paint after I sanded it. I'm gonna throw the top coat on. There are a few small hairs and such from the roller in the wall -- should I hand / pole sand with 220 to deal with that?
    – zminster
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 23:06
  • I use kilz and have not had it add "texture" to the extent you are experienceing. You did not have the problem on the ceiling with same roller / paint was this a different can? Maybe a bad batch or getting to the bottom of a can that was not fully mixed, I would be questioning also with the prep work you did and different results on the wall vs ceiling I would expect more problems with the ceiling.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 14:26

3 Answers 3


I used Kilz Oil-based Odorless too, and the paint seems to be VERY thick. I used no nap rollers and still got the orange peel look/feel when I was done. Had to sand it down to get rid of the texture. I tried using a brush, but the brush strokes also stick out and leave a bad texture. I'm not happy with this product for that reason. If you were going over regular walls to cover a stain with a regular 3/8" nap roller, you should be good, but for a fine finish, NOPE. I think using the regular oil based Kilz was MUCH thinner and wouldn't have this issue, except for the smell.


Could it be that your roller is a TEXTURED roller and not a smooth roller.

Many rollers that are available for purchase can have a texture by design and others by fault that they will leave on a smooth surface even 3/8 knap rollers, and some paints because of how they are made might be more susceptible to roller defects especially primers as the intent for a primer is coverage.

Search for a roller that has a very small knap or if the area is small enough prime it with a spray paint or a smooth flat style brush - typically a flat style brush is used for knockout work. I have used it on a small wall before with nice results.

  • I used one of these that I got at Walmart: link It's not a textured roller AFAIK. 3/8 nap
    – zminster
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 21:46
  • The nap of the roller could contribute to some texturing, especially on a smooth surface. Was your primer oil-based or water-based? Mixed completely before painting?
    – Jeff Cates
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 22:16
  • The primer is oil-based, and was shaken and stirred before painting. Not sure if this is a typical "look" of oil-based primer? The other interesting thing is that the ceiling, which had the original builder's spray on it, doesn't look like this at all -- same roller, same primer.
    – zminster
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 23:44
  • 1
    Hi, Ken. One-sentence answers don't really work well here; a few more sentences would be great. Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 0:52
  • @DanielGriscom I agree but how many ways can you state that the roller might be the problem as many of these rollers do place a texture on the surface - even rollers that claim no texture. So I will just add some words..
    – Ken
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 0:28

Same thing happened to me on a piece of furniture. Three things happened here.

  1. Primer was too thick when applied
  2. Moisture, humidity, temperature played a roll, and or
  3. it was not fully cured when you sanded for paint.

This primer takes for ever to set up, that’s why I won’t use. I use either zinnser bullseye 123 for walls with latex paint or Zinnsers Shallac base primer both work great, always better than kilz any formula that you can buy from a big box department store.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.