Cover Stain VS BIN Shellac Primer

If you’ve been looking into furniture painting tools and supplies, you’ve probably seen these two names pop up. These primers are often recommended, but how does Cover Stain VS BIN Shellac Primer compare to each other?

Let’s dive into the details of these 2 products and see them side by side so you can see their similarities and differences. From there you can decide which one is the best choice for your next painting furniture project.

cover stain and bin shellac primer with text overlay

Primer acts as a base coat for your paint, giving you a smooth surface for better adhesion. Plus, primers can also help block stains and odors from seeping through your final paint color. But you can’t just use any primer when painting furniture.

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When it comes to priming furniture, there are two popular options: Cover Stain and BIN Shellac Primer. If you’re looking for primer options or have seen these names recommended, you may be wondering which one to go for.

So we’ll share their features, their pros and cons, a side-by-side comparison, along with tips on choosing and using the right primer for your furniture makeover. Let’s get started!

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Zinsser Cover Stain Primer Review

First up is the Zinsser Cover Stain primer. This primer is known for its ability to help paint stick well – of course, you need a primer that can do this if you want your furniture paint to last.

It’s also really great at blocking bleed through stains, which is important because nothing’s worse than spending hours painting a piece of furniture only to see those pesky brown or yellow stains coming through your final paint color.

Here’s why is yellow coming through white paint to learn more about the reasons behind this common problem and how to prevent or fix those stains.

applying Zinsser cover stain onto drawer

One thing to note about Cover Stain though is that it’s oil based, which means it takes a bit longer to dry. In fact, it can take up to 48 hours for this primer to fully dry. But once it does, you can sand it down into a powder without clogging up your sandpaper – a definite plus when prepping furniture for paint.

You can also use either waterbased or oil based paint over this primer, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues. And when it comes to application, you have the option of using a spray can or using a brush, or roller – whichever is more convenient for you.

And since it’s oil based, it does have a strong odor. So make sure to use it in a well ventilated area and have some mineral spirits or ammonia on hand for cleanup.


  • Blocks bleed through stains well
  • Helps paint stick to the surface
  • Can be used with waterbased or oil based paint
  • Can be applied with a spray can, brush, or roller


  • Oil based formula takes longer to dry (up to 48 hours)
  • May clog sandpaper if not fully dried before sanding
  • Strong odor
  • Need mineral spirits or ammonia for cleanup

Our Zinsser Cover Stain Primer review goes into more detail about our experience using this product. Check out our antique china hutch makeover here where you can see how to use Zinsser Cover Stain Primer.

BIN Shellac Primer Review

Now let’s take a look at BIN Shellac Primer. When it comes to paint adhesion and bleedthrough stain blocking, BIN is on par with Cover Stain.

But what sets the BIN Primer apart from Cover Stain is its fast drying time. In fact, you can paint over it within just 30 minutes of application. This makes it a great option for those who want to get their furniture projects done quickly.

applying bin shellac primer spray paint onto drawer

BIN Shellac Primer can also be used with any type of paint for furniture, whether waterbased or oil based paint. It comes in a spray can and you can also apply it with a brush or roller, but you can’t use it in an HVLP paint sprayer because of its low flash point. So if you’re more comfortable with a sprayer, be careful to not use BIN in it and go with the other application methods instead.

BIN does have a strong odor as well, and you’ll still need the mineral spirits or ammonia for cleanup. So make sure to use it in a well ventilated area and have the necessary cleaning supplies on hand.


  • Fast drying time (30 minutes)
  • Can be used with any type of paint for furniture
  • Can be applied with a spray can, brush, or roller


  • Cannot be used in HVLP paint sprayer
  • Strong odor
  • Need mineral spirits or ammonia for cleanup

You can check out our best spray paint primer for wood post where BIN Shellac Primer is included as one of our top picks. And here’s how to use BIN Shellac Primer for a more detailed guide on using this primer.

Bin Shellac VS Cover Stain Primer

Now we put the two primers side by side for a comparison. As mentioned above, both the Zinsser Cover Stain Primer and BIN Shellac Primer do their job well in terms of helping paint adhere to surfaces and blocking stains. So you’re sure to get good results with either one!

Both work with waterbased and oil based paints too, giving you flexibility in your choice of paint. These two primers have strong odors so whichever you choose, you’ll deal with this issue. You’ll also need mineral spirits or ammonia for cleanup whichever one you pick.

However, if you’re looking for convenience and speed, then BIN might be the better option as it dries in just 30 minutes compared to Cover Stain’s 48 hours. That is a whole lot of time difference! If your timeline is tight, then BIN Shellac might be the better option for you. But if you’re not in a rush and don’t mind waiting for the primer to dry, Cover Stain is still a great choice.

applying fast drying bin shellac primer onto furniture with a roller

And while you can apply both with a brush or roller or use their spray can versions, you’ll need to be careful not to use BIN Shellac Primer in a paint sprayer. Again, it has a low flash point, which means it can be a fire hazard.

So there you have it – a rundown of two popular furniture primers, Zinsser Cover Stain Primer and BIN Shellac Primer. Both are trusted by many DIYers for their furniture makeovers, so just pick the drying time and application methods that work best for you, and you can go from there!

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