Introducing GARDZ by Zinsser

Yep! It’s that good

If you have not already, its time to consider DRC’s as a new option with unmatched performance, reliability and effectiveness over bare drywall or problem surfaces. No wall primer offers the capability of Drywall Repair Clears today.

Zinsser prides itself on being painter-friendly by offering a wide range of niche product you can apply with confidence. So it’s not surprising Zinsser GARDZ® takes sealing to the next level with a slew of features.


GARDZ Problem Surface Sealer is a unique water-base sealer for porous and potential problem surfaces. It is formulated to deeply penetrate and dry to a hard, moisture resistant film that seals and binds down porous, chalky and crumbling surfaces, paints and texture finishes.

GARDZ is recommended for: damaged drywall, new drywall, spackling and joint compound skim coats, plaster, calcimine, uncoated wallpaper, wallcovering adhesive residue, texture paint, popcorn ceilings and over builder’s flat paint.


With a similar cost comparable to less effective wall primers, GARDZ saves us countless labor hours and material costs.


The product is clear and water-like. It reminds me of waterborne clears but thinner, similar odor.



Take a close look at the photo below. I want you to understand what you are looking at. This is two coats of Sherwin Williams Duration Satin applied over two coats of wallprimer. A patch was made and sealed with GARDZ. I took a brush and painted over the small patch rather than the entire sealed area. You can see a dull spot in the center of the shiny area. That is the area I applied paint with a brush before rolling a final coat over the room. This is a non-issue with some other paints.

Zinsser Gardz



Head over to Jack Pauhl on ProBoards for more information on flashing. This link will search the site for the words “flash” and “flashing” many of which Gardz is mentioned.

34 Responses
  • Andy Reply

    Great resume of a wonder product.

    It is the same animal as Halls Beeline Primer Sealer. Been using that in UK since early 90’s, has so many applications it is ridiculous. Wallpapering on laminate? Beeline it first. Priming MDF, Beeline will deal with that, no problem…

    The obvious advantage though of Gardz from what you have said is that it will take a filler directly over the top of it? Beeline isnt designed for that.

    I was always taught priming before filling, to stop the substarte sucking the moisture out the filler. But i am a dinosaur and some things have moved on! eg I used that method the first time I came across Zinsser 123, but it caught me out. The multi purpose filler over the 123 lifted when I emulsioned over the top of it.

    And Zinsser told me well, duh, of course you have to directly fill with our super strong ready patch to the bare surface and then touch in the repair with 123 then a coat overall. So duh, I wont use that OTT spec again in a similar situation! But Gardz is on the list of options now.


  • frank Reply

    Has anyone used Gardz as a sizing or primer under 54″ commercial vinyl type II wall covering?

  • Jack Pauhl Reply

    Check out this link frank. Photos appear broke but the text is there talking about gardz and the like under wallpaper.

  • Denee Reply

    Will This work to cover texture in wallpaper?

  • golazo Reply


    I have removed one coat of wall covering in my house to discover that this is the only type covering that this room ever had–not paint, just shingle sheet wallpapered horsehair plaster for over 100 years! Nice for me–not too much to remove, however, now I am wondering if to use this product as an insurance to a great finish. My current plan is to use a BM oil primer, then a topcoat of nice quality Aura (maybe even F&B!) paint.

    Would it be overkill for me to add Gardz to the mix? Effectively applying, one coat of Gardz, One Oil Primer, then two applications of latex topcoat.

    Thanks for all your help, learning alot!

  • mb Reply

    Will this lock down flaking paint on interior walls (old builder’s flat under a 30 year old paint finish, not a moisture problem).

    I see there is a Peel Stop product by Zinsser also.

  • AlphabetA Reply

    I just wanted to say thanks, Jack, for this site and the info you have posted here and on the various painters forums that have come up via google search. I did a ton of research for my significant home renovation project and I found your arguments regarding primers and sealers to make the most sense of any I’ve heard. Over the weekend I sealed 900 sq ft (floor area… much more surface area) with gardz followed by two coats of Benjamin Moore Aura and I am beyond impressed. Knowing that I could get it right in three coats total without having to worry about primer compatibility issues was huge for me. Additionally, I didn’t need to sand primer coats and wasn’t meticulous about cleaning off every bit of drywall dust due to the gardz and I don’t regret it. Saved me so much time and worry, and the end result is beautiful.. I think I’d be hard-pressed to find a professional company that would offer this quality (contractors in my area are notoriously bad unless you are willing to pay incredibly high premiums… there is enough of a high end market to pull all the good ones out of my price range).

    I highly, highly recommend gardz on bare rock and joint compound. It costs a bit more than primer but it will save you a coat or more, is universally compatible with substrates, doesn’t require sanding (in my opinion), is more forgiving of surface prep, and it even strengthens the surface in the process! It is impossible to see the different between the difference in the final coat (or even the first coat) between joint compound and bare rock.

  • Nikita Reply

    I am using Gardz to seal damaged, patchy drywall before installing 6×24″ glass tiles for a kitchen backsplash. Can I apply thinset directly onto Gardz, or do I need layers of JC, and add’l layer of Gardz before thibset? If so, will Gardz need to be roughed up with sandpaper?

    I.e. wall, Gardz , thinset, tile OR
    wall, Gardz, JC , Gardz , thinset, tile?


  • mike caruso Reply


    We have had wallpaper installed in our bathroom that turns out to be porous and

    not at all waterproof. Above the shower stall steam and condensation are wreaking

    havoc and I need a product that will seal and waterproof the wallpaper but dry clear

    and with as little sheen a possible.

    Is Gardz the product for this application? If not, do you know one that is?


    Mike Caruso

  • Andy Reply

    Once I remove the wallpaper should I still wash the walls or skip this step entirely? Instead, scrape off any excess glue and apply directly Grindz over the un-washed walls?

  • Mathew Richards Reply

    Searching the web for a little more info on calcimine and dealing with it when a customer has already painted it with latex without success. Zinsser Guardz is a great product quite a few things. We specify it for ALL wallpaper removal jobs as an arbitrary primer.

  • Dan Alford Reply

    All great info on this product but as a prime, can it be tinted??

    • Brian Havanas Reply

      Dan, It says, “Tinting is not recommended.” I don’t see any reason to tint Gardz with the awesome coverage of todays paints.

  • Elizabeth Norris Reply

    I used Guardz for a friend’s ceiling, and it did a fantastic job. Now, I need to go over some spots where she gouged the wallboard while trying to remove paper from the ceiling. She’s worried that the joint compound won’t hold well over the Guardz’ finish. Does she have anything to worry about?

  • Dale Derix Reply

    We stripped and sanded a popcorn ceiling, then applied Behr drywall primer and sealer. After 2 days of drying, we started rolling on Valspar latex ceiling paint and within minutes, the paint and primer started coming off. It sounds like Gardz might have prevented this.

    My question is can we apply Gardz right over the single layer of Behr primer that is on the ceiling right now?


  • Lisa D Reply

    I am currently stripping wallpaper that has been in my kitchen for 22 years. The wallpaper was put on plastered painted flat walls. Sherwin Williams tells me to use an oil based primer to lock any glue down that water based primers will kick off the glue and perhaps shine thru the paint. Since the walls are already painted with a flat paint should I put an oil based primer over that? I do not want my wall paint to be oil based. Can I then use a flat paint? Would the Gardz product be what I want? Like I say my walls are not bare drywall but plastered? Thanks for any insight you can provide.

  • helen Reply

    Painted straight onto plasterboard, and finish is awful! Could i put gardz on top of paint, then paint on top again? Would this resolve the issue with the uneven finish?

    • Brian Havanas Reply

      Helen, If a flat paint was used over the plasterboard, apply Gardz over the flat, then repaint.

  • rick Reply

    I have an older house and am going to skim coat my walls, the paint on the walls looks to be latex paint is pretty shiny, can I apply this over paint and
    then put my skim coat on.

    • Brian Havanas Reply

      Rick, Gardz is too thin to be applied to a shiny surface. Gardz is very watery. You can apply Gardz over the skimmed mud.

  • Derek Reply

    2 questions:
    1. I removed popcorn ceiling. Can I just prime with gardz then spray knockdown and paint?
    2. I sprayed knockdown without priming ceiling after popcorn removal. Knockdown is not adhering well. Will gardz applied over it bond it fine and ready for paint?


  • Tracy Reply

    I, too, was told to use an oil-based primer. Gardz seems like the choice. I have seen where the water-based Gardz says it covers wallpaper glue residue. Is this so or should I stick with the oil-based? Thanks.

  • Brian Havanas Reply

    Derek, I would definitely use either Gardz of some other primer first.

  • Chloe PJ Reply

    thanks for the info
    So I had someone skimcoat some walls, but the skimcoat is relatively soft (like fingernails dent it easilly)

    1) will gardz help this?
    2) I already painted the walls with semi-gloss…if I knock the gloss down with sanding screen will gardz be able to penetrate enough to help??

    • Brian Havanas Reply

      Chloe, skim coats are typically soft, most water base paints are soft too. Its not clear what your goal is. Gardz won’t help now that you have semi-gloss on the walls. Gardz works on porous surfaces to seal them (change the surface) to a non-porous surface.

  • Robin Simpson Reply

    Can you elaborate on your example of the dull spot in the shiny patch? My understanding is you patched a finished wall, applied Gardz, but then I lost you on the point you are making. Did you only paint Gardz under the non shiny spot in the middle?

    I have a real bad wall to fix that was hit with high humidity and poor workmanship, overall. I did a test and Gardz seemed to improve the adhesion between the old layers orb paint and the mud areas. Before Gardz the paint over mudded areas would scrape off easily. Seems to me you need to get enough on the wall for it to penetrate as deep as possible before drying, but not so much to make anything runny. Once dry I don’t think it will let another coat pass deeper into the wall to increase bonding. Thoughts?

    • Brian Havanas Reply

      Robin, reload this page. I uploaded a larger image of the previous photo showing the dull center. Just because the center is dull, does not mean the patch below is not sealed. In some cases, though, it is not sealed and that often is a result of insufficient material applied to the patch.

      Let me setup what you see in the photo. The walls were painted and later a patch made. We used a brush to apply Gardz over the patch which is the vertical shiny area with a dull spot in the center.

      The photo was taken AFTER the patch was touched up with a brush. Notice how the area flashes under the paint. Gardz is causing that area to appear shiner. Rolling a final coat will hide the flashed area. This tells us that Gardz does a better job at sealing the surface compared to Duration, which is often the case with many other paints.

      Also, I added a link at the bottom of the page for additional information on flashing.

  • Heyybud Reply

    I have walls that were painted with satin paint and they have an orange peel texture. At some point I attempted to skim coat the wall but I ended up taking that skim coat off and now I have some gouges and chipped paint spots over the entire wall that I repaired with joint compound, and retextured with an orange peel spray. Can I use gardz on the entire wall? I know that orange peel spray is pretty porous so I’m bound to get flashing. I just wanted to use gardz over the entire wall to make it easier than spot priming. Would this work better than 123? The new paint is also going to be satin

  • Lolla Reply

    Hello and thanks so much to everyone who writes about home improvement. We will be installing a brick veneer wall in our previously wallpapered kitchen. I have stripped the most recent wallpaper but underneath it is some sort of sizing? And underneath that are two more layers of wallpaper that are stuck fast.

    I understand that our thinset is made with water which may loosen the wallpaper or any leftover adhesive (after washing with tsp)-could I coat the wall with GUARDZ to make the surface adhesive and tile ready?

  • Kazumi Reply

    I just finished removing wallpaper from living room, primed and painted. Off to the kitchen now, but when I try to remove the wallpaper, the whole thing comes off including the paper covering the sheetrock I saw when I was working in the living room. It’s basically down to the very bare white board with screws holding the boards visible. Would Gardz stick to surfaces like what I’m describing? I also have a 16×16 hole I need to put in a piece of new sheetrock. Should I pull the paper off from that piece to be consistent with the rest of the kitchen?

  • Donna Reply

    I need help on this house that has wallpaper. The wallpaper is about 30 years old vinyl with paste, on raw drywall. When I removed the wallpaper which just pulled off, the past will not come off and the old paste is combined with the spackel that is covering the nails. All the walls are uneven.

  • Spencer Rodgers Reply

    Okay how about spaying Guardz, what tip to use and do you need to back roll it in? I am thinking a 513 tip would be ok or maybe a 411. We are covering dark colors in a house that was used in crystal meth production. We are using Guardz to seal the chemicals from the illegal activity in the walls for safe breathing of future residents. We are then priming with bullseye123 plus, then 2 coats of pittsburgh paramount.

    I don’t think I need to backroll Guardz, what do you think?

  • Todd Reply

    Hello thanks for all the great info…..I’m about to use Gardz on a new construction Drywall ceiling with allot of window light that is approx 30 x 30 with 8ft walls It will be finish coated flat white. from what I have learned from you Gardz Problem surface sealer is the way to go with New Drywal.I actually plan to prep the whole house with it including bathrooms.
    Will the ceilings have a shine and show more imperfections?

  • Paul Reply

    I just became aware of Gardz, but I already primed my drywall ceiling with SW all-purpose primer. Is it too late to apply a coat of Gardz before applying the ceiling paint?


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