Why Kilz3 Premium primer still tacky after over a week of drying?


I lightly sanded wood kitchen cabinets, then wipe them down with mineral spirits, and then a damp rag and let them dry. We sprayed two light coats of kilz3 premium primer on them with a sprayer (diluted primer with half cup water to 1 gallon primer) and let them dry in the house average temp of 68°. We waited an hour between coats. They still feel tacky and when sanding, it creates little balls that do wipe off and surface is smooth. Can we paint 2 coats of white paint now? Looking at either Pittsburgh Fast Dry Paint or Benjamin Moore Advance. Any suggestions? Thank you!

  19 answers
  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Oct 21, 2020

    Hi Brenda, apparently Kilz can take from 11 to 14 days to fully cure.. Perhaps you can set up a fan or two for better air circulation and help with the drying? Personally I would wait a few more days just to be safe before painting.

  • Tom Stuart Tom Stuart on Oct 21, 2020

    This sounds unusual for it to take this long and still be tacky. Mineral spirits is petroleum based and may not have been completely removed. If it is tacky it should not be painted over.

    Kilz is made by Behr. I would call them and get their advice.

    To consult with a KILZ Certified Coatings Professional, call 1-866-PRIMER-1 (U.S.A. only).

    • BetsyRambo BetsyRambo on Oct 21, 2020

      Yes! I used Kilz extensively on my baseboards and floors with no dilution and it dried in hours!

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Oct 21, 2020

    I agree with Tom about calling KILZ to see get their opinion.

  • K. Rupp K. Rupp on Oct 21, 2020

    I would not paint yet!! When you say you lightly sanded, you may not have sanded enough. Kitchen cabinets can get really nasty because the surface can get a greasy film on them. I would start sanding with 180 and work your way up to 220. Also, when you wiped them down with mineral spirits, was it completely dry before applying a primer? Also, always make sure you vacuum and use a tack cloth after sanding. I would stop and do all this again. If you aren't happy with the kilz and the cure time, try Benjamin Moore primer especially if you will be using BM cabinet paint. Lightly lightly steel wool between paint coats. Then Benjamin Moore Advance if you want an awesome pro finish. Good luck! Sorry this is happening...I get so upset to redo work but you will be happier in the end.

  • My guess is the problem lies in the prep. Cabinets need to be really clean and if any residue is left on them, the paint will not cure. Use a good degreaser to clean them.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Oct 21, 2020

    I think they may not have been prepped well enough.

  • Brenda Brenda on Oct 21, 2020

    Thanks Ann!

  • Deb K Deb K on Oct 21, 2020

    Hi Brenda, I did some research and this is normal as KILZ Premium which does stay a little tacky, if this is the case, you are good to go and ready to paint.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Oct 21, 2020

    As another precaution, run a dehumidifier or a fan to pull the air. Then wipe down with denatured alcohol to see if it is still balling up.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Oct 21, 2020

    I have never had Kilz stay tacky. Maybe too heavy of a coat and still trying to dry.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Oct 21, 2020

    Hello. Consider reaching out to the manufacture on your paint can.

    Very often when paint product fail to perform particular with certain proprietary products they will replace it free of charge and ship it straight to your home we have found this the case with all Home Depot BEHR products.

    We’ve also had primer steel to cover wooden knot stains and again free product was provided to us. Also they’ll help you remediate the situation with the proper instructions

  • Dee Dee on Oct 21, 2020

    I have never had Kilz or any primer stay wet that long. It seems to me that the mineral spirits are the problem. You probably did not rinse well enough and the kilz cannot dry because of that. I would call Kilz www.kilz.com or by calling Customer Service at 1-866-977-3711.They may have a solution. Do not paint over damp kilz it will Never dry.

  • Dee Dee on Oct 22, 2020

    Brenda: Let us know what Kilz says please

    • Brenda Brenda on Oct 23, 2020

      Hello Dee,

      Kilz customer service indicated that slight tackiness can be normal and if it is not coming off with touch or leaving fingerprints then okay to paint. (Perplexing)

  • Mike T Mike T on Oct 23, 2020

    Yo Brenda, you get first prize with your answer.

  • Brenda Brenda on Oct 23, 2020

    UPDATE: Well I talked to Menards’ paint area and decided to try the Pittsburgh Fast Dry Paint on the back of a door with the slightly tacky Kilz primer (after 13 drying days). Unbelievable and surprisingly, I rolled on one coat, covered well and it dried in 30 minutes like the product states with no tackiness at all. Felt like it was painted days ago. Wahoo! Let’s hope it stays durable as it states. Fingers crossed that spraying it on goes well. Thanks everyone for all the tips, suggestions and encouragement. Soooo much appreciated!

  • Mike T Mike T on Oct 24, 2020

    Well done Brenda, looks like you're becoming an expert and Let's hope it lasts as long as you hope, Fingers, legs, arms, eyes and toes crossed it does.

    Good luck


  • Jerry cline Jerry cline on Jul 13, 2021

    I need help or encouragement. I primed two new wooden unpainted windows in Atlanta and they were tacky for five days. I finally rubbed them down with sandpaper and the wood is no longer tacky...BUT..there is what looks like a small piece of plastic trim that holds the window glass in. It’s been 8 days and those strips are still tacky.. the building supplier told me to prime those and I did. I’ve tried everything and the are still tacky. Used Kilz 2 primer from HD.

    it has been hot and humid. I painted them in my garage. It’s the plastic trim that replaces caulking that is tacky. Not wet. Would love to know what I could use to wipe the tacky off. I am not a novice....but this is a first. ANY advice will be considered

  • Heidi Love Frerichs Heidi Love Frerichs on Jul 31, 2021

    Was the fast dry paint you used oil or water based?