I have fresh drywall and bought some PVA primer. We plan to paint with semi-gloss so that the walls can actually be cleaned.


Designed for use under flat and low sheen paints only. Do not topcoat with glossy paint finishes.


I'm aware that you cannot just paint over a glossy surface without proper preparation but I wasn't aware of any restrictions for primer+sheen combinations.

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  • Some good companies test their products. I imagine in their tests, they were not happy with the results, so instead of people complain, they say not to do it. It is your problem if you don't follow their recommendations, not theirs.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 15:02
  • There's not really a question here. It reads more like a complaint, which I get. It is frustrating to buy a product and then realize it won't work for your application. However, I think you should probably trust the manufacturer about this limitation. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 15:58
  • @MatthewBourque So do I seek PVA primer which explicitly states "safe under glossy paints" or does the omission of a warning constitute permission? I'm not sure how to make "Why can I not use this primer under glossy paint?" any clearer. An objective answer would involve something like "I did this in the past and here were the results." As for "trusting" the manufacturer, is it illegal to desire knowledge instead of abiding blindly?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 16:49
  • @MonkeyZeus I see now that the question is in the title, and I was focusing only on the question text. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


I just found this:

Hi DB, The Kilz PVA Drywall Primer is the same color as our Kilz Original, although it may look less pigmented. We recommend topcoating with flat and low sheens only. Because higher sheens are heavier, applying them over our PVA primer may lead to adhesion issues. This PVA primer is recommended for uncoated, smooth drywall only. Best wishes! - Sara

by Behr | Jan 16, 2017

source: homedepot.com

I'm at a loss of words. I cannot imagine semi-gloss is that much heavier. What I can imagine is that it shrinks as it dries and could cause the adhesion to fail.

  • Wow. I know that the weight of paint on an aircraft must be taken into consideration (the weight can be quite considerable and affects payload and flight characteristics), but the weight of paint on the wall of a house/building? That seems... suspicious...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 16:14
  • I don't think it's a matter of gravity, but of lack of engagement with the primer due to the thickness (viscosity) of the product.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 17:32
  • @isherwood How does a different primer solve the problem of top-coat viscosity?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 19:14
  • Er, any of a million ways. I'm not a chemist. :P
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 19:15

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