Sanding Freash Start vrs PrimeZall

My last article on the Stain Blocker Primers – Benjamin Moore Fresh Start or Vista Paint PrimeZall gave me the opportunity to test the sanding characteristics of the two products. The temperature high was 72 degrees with a low of 55, giving over 18 hours of cure time (specifications 3 hour re-coat time) with Benjamin Moore Fresh Start 023 primer. We sanded the cabinet doors, the coating had a tack feel as if it was not fully tack free as it also gummed up my sand paper. After reapplying Vista Paints PrimeZall with temperatures in the low 70’s, we gave PrimeZall a hour of cure time (specifications 40 minute re-coat time). The surface seemed to be completely tack free as we started Re-sanding the doors. My 1st impression was how easily the sanding PrimZall was comparing to Fresh Start, it powdered up like those old oil base primers we once knew. Bellow are the pictures of the sand paper used .


Fresh Start 023 – We sanded after 18 hours of cure time.
Sanding Benjamin Moore Fresh Start 032

PrimeZall – Sanded after 1 hour of cure time  Sanding Vista Paint PrimeZall







I look forward to trying the new and improved 046 Fresh Start Superior primer. It claims to have addressed the stain blocking capability with better sanding results


Stain Blocker Primers – Benjamin Moore Fresh Start or Vista Paint PrimeZall

One of my recent projects was to prime and paint some cabinetry for a break room at The Bank Of Hemet. I removed the doors and drawers to paint them in my shop. The primer I intended to use was Vista Paint PrimeZall, unfortunately I had left behind the primer on the job. Remembering I had a a gallon of Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Universal Primer, I thought I could just use that. The reason I was going to use PrimeZall was the outstanding adhesion strength it has along with the ability to block stains. Fresh Start also has outstanding adhesion strength but I was not sure about it’s stain blocking abilities. Reading the Fresh Start label as it reads “suppressing most bleeding type stains including crayon, graffiti, grease marks, water stains”  I felt comfortable in applying Fresh Start as a primer coat for the cabinetry which can have mild stains from grease and water. We prepared the surface by sanding and given it a solvent bath, the results follow.

After Spraying 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Fresh Start (click on pictures to enlarge)

Fresh Start Stain BlockingFresh Start Stain BlockingFresh Start Stain Blocking





Re-sanded and re-coated with Vista Paint PrimeZall

PrimeZall Stain BlockerPrimeZall Stain BlockerPrimeZall Stain Blocker

As the label reads. “unparalleled stain blocking”

Though Fresh Start Universal Primer lacks the stain blocking capability, it is a great primer for adhesion strength and I would use it for that reason. I do feel the label is a bit misleading as it did not suppress mild staining. When I need a primer for both adhesion strength and stain blocking capability, Vista Paint PrimeZall will be my go to primer. I must note that the two primers mentioned are not comparable as Fresh Coat is a water based 100% acrylic primer and PrimeZall is water based epoxy primer. This was review is soly based on the stain blocking capability

Here is the finished product

Vista Paint Carefree Prime-ZALL

Vista Paint Carefree Prime-Zall“Carefree Prime-ZALL is an innovative universal primer created
using breakthrough technology to offer unparalled
stain blocking for use in both interior and exterior applications.
This unique formulation provides superior performance
when compared with traditional solvent-based

Carefree Prime-ZALL adheres to a variety of substrates
including previously painted alkyds with a gloss finish.
Carefree Prime-ZALL is low odor, low VOC and meets or
exceeds air quality standards. The quick-drying properties
of Carefree Prime-ZALL allow a finish/top coat to be applied within 40 minutes after application of this primer.” Vista Paint Carefree Prime-Zall Product Data Page

Vista Paint Carefree Prime-ZALL has only been on the shelves for a little over a year. I have used this product on stucco, wood, plastic and most recently on a chalkboard. When I opened my 1st sample quart of Prime-Zall, one of the first characteristics I noticed was that it seemed to have a heavier body than most of the primers I have worked with. At first I used the quart on small spot prime jobs, priming the raw wood after scraping off old paint, priming a drywall patch, and to block a water stain. We kicked the quart of The Prime-Zall around for a few weeks. On my next exterior repaint I decided to give it a chance. The exterior repaint had both stucco and wood. The house was built in the mid 90’s and had never been repainted, as you may have guessed it was desperately needing a paint job. It was a perfect challenge for Prime-Zall as this substrate had water staining, mold stains, and tannin staining. We applied one coat of Prime-Zall, let it cure for 24 hour and applied the finish coat. immediate results, no stains had resurfaced, I then revisited the site 2 months later, still no stains had resurfaced. The “unparalled
stain blocking” is truly that.

As I used this new primer, there were a few characteristic qualitiesPrime-Zall-Chalkboard that were hard to not notice, besides the stain blocking capability, is it’s ability to apply a finish coat within 40 minutes and the adhesion strength. I have had a few instances where time was of the essence. Like painting a front door or a project with a short time frame, where the short curing time was needed. We recently did a project for United Way Day of Caring. A volunteer, Kristy Franco who happened to be a teacher at the San Gorgonio Child Care Consortium Prime-ZALL ChalckBoard 2had inquired about a chalkboard in her classroom. The chalkboard was too slick for the chalk to be draw on, making it a useless chalkboard. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a simple adhesion test within the 40 minutes, testing both adhesion a swell as applying a finish coat within the 40 minutes. Applying the Prime-ZALL with a brush and 1/4″ mini roller, as always it applied smoothly, leveling out nicely as it dried.

I performed  2  tests, one being a scratch test and the other a tape test. After 40 minutes I began my simple testing. Taking a pin I scratched the surface forcefully. The coating began to break down after approximately 4 seconds of scratching, great results considering the coating had only cured for 40 minutes. Next I performed a tape test by applying 3M 2020 1.5″ tape which has great holding power. I pressed firmly for approximately 10 seconds, then pulled the tape. As you can see none of the coating lifted, nor is there primer residue on the adhesive side of the tape. Being only 40 minutes after the application,Prime-ZALL tape test results I find that Prime-ZALL has excellent adhesion strengths and it would be safe to apply a finish coat within the 40 minutes that Vista Paint has claimed. You will be able to see the finish product of the chalkboard on my next article reviewing Benjamin Moore Chalkboard paint.

For further information on Vista Paint products visit their website at