Exterior Surface Prep

Quick Facts

  • Available in water- or solvent-based formulas
  • Exceptional adhesive properties
  • Faster drying
  • High hiding
  • Bonds with extractive tannin bleed to block unsightly discoloration
  • Ideal for use on siding, trim and decks

Safety Info

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Cabot® Problem-Solver® Primer provides maximum performance through a faster-drying and higher-hiding formulation. An ideal exterior base coat for all types of solid stains and paints, it provides superior resistance to extractive bleeding and moisture problems. The 100% alkyd, oil-based formula dries in a fraction of the time compared to traditional linseed oil-based primers, and both formulas facilitate the application of a quality finish coat within just a few hours. Problem-Solver Primer yields outstanding results on siding, shingles, plywood, and both smooth- and rough-sawn surfaces. It is also suited for application over previously oil-based stained or painted surfaces.


One gallon covers from 150 to 500 square feet, depending on product used and surface condition. Please see individual product information sheet for coverage of your product.

Where to Use

Cabot Problem-Solver Primer is recommended for use on extractive-prone wood species such as red cedar, redwood, mahogany and fir. It is also excellent when applied to pine, cypress, spruce and even pressure-treated wood. This product has exceptional adhesive properties and can be applied immediately to new, dry, unseasoned, mill-glazed (smooth) siding.

Preparing Your Surfaces

Proper surface preparation is the key to maximum finish performance. An unsound or poorly prepared surface can impair this product's durability. It is very important the surface be clean of all dirt, mildew stains, loose wood fibers and other foreign matter. Surfaces must be structurally sound and absolutely dry. (Moisture content must be below 15%, or the wood must be exposed to dry weather for a minimum of 3-5 days.) Correct any existing moisture problems before applying Cabot Problem-Solver Primer. Stain, sand or scrub previously painted/stained or weathered wood surfaces with a bleach/detergent solution of Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Cleaner and a stiff bristle brush-or power wash to remove the surface layer of all loose stain, paint, wood fibers, dirt, mildew stains, chalky residue and other foreign matter. Use Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Stripper to help remove oil-based finishes from wood surfaces such as cedar, redwood, pine, cypress, fir and pressure-treated wood. Use Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Brightener to easily remove tannic acid (extractive) bleeding, nail and metal rust stains, and renew the wood's appearance. New wood, once dry, should not be allowed to weather. Short-term (four weeks) weathering prior to application of this product can decrease its service life.


Apply evenly with a brush or spray. For best results, use a high-quality, natural bristle brush for alkyd formulas and nylon/polyester-blended brush for the water-based formula. When spraying, immediately backbrush after coating each section to ensure proper penetration. To avoid lap marks, start at one edge and follow through to the end of the boards. Apply primer to small sections at a time.

Cleanup and Disposal

Oil-based Products: Clean brushes and equipment with mineral spirits. Dispose of empty cans or unused portion in accordance with local, state and federal regulations. Close container when not in use. Danger: Rags, steel wool or waste soaked with this product may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately after each use, place rags, steel wool or waste in a sealed, water-filled metal container. Dispose of according to local regulations.
Water-based Products: Clean brushes and equipment with soap and water. Dispose of empty cans or unused portion in accordance with local, state and federal regulations. Close container when not in use.

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