Primers are used as an undercoat for various types of paint. Their texture is glue-like, and they’re able to stick to all sorts of materials and make them smooth enough to paint over. That being said, some materials are trickier to work with than others. So there are quite a few things that make finding the best primer to cover drywall imperfections not that straightforward.

For example, drywall absorbs paint differently than other materials, so the paint might come out patchy. Drywall primers have a special formula that will make a world of difference when it comes to applying a good, smooth layer of paint.

However, unless you’re an expert, finding the best primer for the job might seem like an impossible feat, but I’m here to help. In this article, I’ll tell you what features to look for in order to discern between the best and the worst primers. But if you’re looking for a quick recommendation, you can use any of the following products to cover drywall imperfections.

1. Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Water-Based Primer Sealer

Rust-Oleum offers a water-based primer that you can use for both exterior and interior application. This primer is quite durable and can cover up to 100 square feet of drywall per quart. Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser can prevent peeling, blistering, and mildew growth and is perfect for pH-high surfaces (such as fresh concrete).

In addition to applying it on drywall, you can use Rust-Oleum on glass, tile, concrete, plaster, and metal surfaces. You can also get the product as an aerosol spray paint formula to get into all nooks and crannies.

You won’t even have to sand down most surfaces before applying the product. Also, once you finish applying Rust-Oleum 2004 Zinsser, you clean the surface using only water and soap.

What I enjoy most about Rust-Oleum’s primer is that it offers great coverage and lovely color and sheen. Also, it’s one of the few products that won’t turn yellow after a while.

The only thing to keep in mind with this primer is that it emits incredibly strong fumes. So you should only use it in a well-ventilated room and preferably with a mask.


  • Easy to use
  • Great coverage
  • Versatile


  • Not a fill primer
  • Potent fumes

2. The Rust-Oleum Corporation 01501 Drywall Primer

Even though The Rust-Oleum Corporation 01501 is great for most drywall applications, it’s perfect for smooth walls. Moreover, in addition to priming your wall, it will also seal the tape joints and make sanding much easier. Even though this primer likely won’t cover any extremely large imperfections, it will be ideal for smoothing down the smaller ones.

This high build primer is quite fast-drying and won’t take more than an hour to create a permanent seal. Moreover, Rust-Oleum Corporation 01501 is so quick-drying that it allows you to prime and paint your drywall within the same day.

The Rust-Oleum Corporation 01501 will make your paint job look incredibly smooth and as if it’s been professionally laid down. However, this primer is known to be a bit watery, so you might have to apply several layers.


  • Fast-drying
  • Seals seams and joints


  • Only covers small imperfections
  • Not very thick

3. The Dap 12374 Crack Shot Spackling Interior & Exterior Primer

The Dap 12374 Crack Shot Spackling is a thick knife grade primer paste that allows you to cover all imperfections — big and small. Because the texture of this high-build primer resembles mud, it’s often used for bare wall application. However, you can also use it to coat smooth walls when they don’t end up looking the way you wanted.

One of the features I enjoy the most about this primer is how easy it is to use. When you purchase the product, you won’t even have to mix it or prep it — you’ll be able to start applying it straight away. Also, once you’ve applied The Dap over your drywall, you can sand it down and get an incredibly smooth finish.

The only downside to The Dap 12374 Crack Shot Spackling is that it will dry out on its own over time. So if you’re planning on keeping the product in its original package — don’t expect it to last. Still, you can slow the drying process by placing it inside of a zip-lock bag.

Overall, this incredibly practical primer can be used to cover drywall imperfections for anyone in need of a quick fix. However, you ought to consider investing in a different product if you want to get a smooth surface without having to sand it down.


  • Pre-mixed
  • Great for covering major imperfections
  • Easy application


  • Can dry off if kept in the original package
  • Not as great for small details and surfaces

4. KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior & Exterior Latex Primer, Sealer

KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Primer/Sealer is water-based and quite reliable when it comes to covering drywall imperfections. It’s thick and durable enough to prevent any stains and changes in color, on both interior and exterior surfaces. Also, this primer/sealer is reliable and quite adhesive.

In addition to drywall, you can also use it on brick, painted metal, wood, paneling, and plaster. One gallon of KILZ 2 Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Primer/Sealer can cover anywhere from 300–400 feet with a one-gallon package. It can protect the target surface from different types of mold, and because it’s so sticky, you’ll need to use fewer coats when applying it.

You’ll need to mix it well beforehand and use a spray, roller, or brush to coat the drywall to apply this primer. Then, give it about one hour to dry off before recoating the surface.

However, keep in mind that you’ll need to smooth the primer/sealer out in no fewer than 30 seconds after applying it. If you don’t, the product could keep sticking back to the brush you’re using, which would make your job much harder.


  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • You can use it on both interior and exterior surfaces
  • Reliable


  • Needs to be mixed beforehand
  • Requires you to work quickly

Primer for Drywall Imperfections – Buyer’s Guide

If you don’t think any of the products I’ve listed in this article will work for you or if you want to know more about primers in general, here’s your chance. In the following section, I’ll tell you what criteria you must keep an eye out for when looking for the best primer to cover drywall imperfections.

The Texture of the Primer

The texture of your primer will significantly impact how well you’re able to cover drywall imperfections. If you’re looking for an incredibly smooth finish, using a high-build primer is a must. These are thicker than other types and allow you to fill in any holes, bubbles, and caps that are messing up your wall. For these types of jobs, I recommend using either the Rust-Oleum Corporation 01501 or The Dap 12374 primer.

That being said, if you already love the texture and slight imperfections your wall comes with, you can use a standard drywall primer. That way, you won’t lose any of the small details on your wall. However, make sure you’re applying even layers of primer to avoid causing any blemishes or color changes.

The Type of Primer

By choosing the perfect type of primer to cover your drywall imperfections, you’ll be able to ensure that the result is a professional-looking paint job.

First of all, regular primers are only meant to bond with the drywall, so they probably won’t leave the smoothest finish behind. So if you’re dealing with some temperamental drywall that still has ridges and marks even after you’ve sanded it down, you’ll need a high-build primer.

On the other hand, you can use spackling paste if you need a quick and dirty product to prime the drywall. Even though this solution isn’t the most precise,  you’ll be able to change the texture of the surface quickly after applying the product.

Also, you ought to use a sealer if you don’t want to change the color of the plaster. A sealer will leave a clear layer of coat behind and prevent moisture from getting through the drywall.

Finally, you can go with a latex primer if you want to even out the porosity of the drywall. However, keep in mind that some deep imperfections likely won’t absorb the paint as well if you use a latex primer.

Pro Tip:

Primers come with a paint-by expiration date of sorts, which means they’ll only be able to bond with paint for a certain period. So you should always paint the drywall within no more than two days of using the primer. If you want to learn how long you need to wait between applying a primer and a layer of paint, you can check out this article.


Unless you’re planning to leave a wall completely bare and colorless, using a primer is a must. Moreover, it’s the only way of ensuring you get a good color match, as well as prevent mold growth on your walls.

That being said, you have to use drywall-specific primers when you’re trying to cover imperfections on drywall. These products are specifically made to ensure the best, most long-lasting results possible.

Hopefully, this article helps you find a drywall primer for your specific project. If not, at least you know what to look for in your search for the best primer to cover drywall imperfections.

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