Can you use Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 on Aluminium?

by Sam Wood | Last Updated: 13/09/2021

Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 is a water-based primer from Zinsser. it is recommended for a whole heap of surfaces including plaster, brick, fibreglass, concrete, wallpaper and many more. But will it work on Aluminium? Well, as it happens, I have a tin of Zinsser 123 up at the workshop, along with an aluminium finger plate. So, let’s get some testing done and find out if you can use Zinsser Bulls Eye on aluminium!

Can you use Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 on Aluminium?

Yes, Zinsser Bulls Eye works well on Aluminium and is the paint Zinsser themselves recommend for use on Aluminium. The paint adhered well on the surface but did scratch off a little under high force.

If you are unsure of which Zinsser primer to use then check out our guide.

Zinsser Primer Guide - Interior Surfaces

Zinsser Primer Guide – Interior Surfaces

Above is the official guide from Zinsser. It clearly shows that Bulls Eye 123 is the paint Zinsser would recommend while they do say that both B-I-N and Cover Stain will also work.

The Test

In order to test Zinsser Bulls Eye and come to the conclusion above, I had to test it. As I mentioned earlier I had a new aluminium finger door plate at the workshop so I used this for testing. I split it up in three different sections so I could test three different Zinsser primers against one another. The primers being tested today would be the big three from Zinnser, BIN, Bulls Eye and Cover Stain.

The Aluminium Ready to be Painted

The Aluminium Ready to be Painted

Painting

The Bulls Eye painted onto the aluminium really easily. There are definitely no problems applying the paint to this surface but the real test will come when finding out how well it has stuck to the metal surface.

The Three Primers on Aluminium

The Three Primers on Aluminium

Above you can see the three primers all painted up onto the metal. Each one went on just fine. You can see in this photo how the Bulls Eye is very white while the other two Zinsser paints have a little yellow/cream tint to them. I don’t know if this means anything or matters at all really but I did find it interesting.

Close up of Bulls Eye on Aluminium

Close up of Bulls Eye on Aluminium

I have zoomed in on the Bulls Eye paint here to give you a closer view. You can see that the coverage is not as good as the cover stain to its left, but this is always to be expected when comparing oil-based paint to water-based paint. You don’t buy water-based paint for its exceptional covering when compared to oil-based. You get it because it drys quicker, is easier to clean up and is much more friendly to both you and the environment.

Scratch Test

Now I will attempt to scratch the sample up and see how well the Bulls Eye 123 has stuck to the metal.

The Wood Block I Will Be Using For The Scratch Test

The Wood Block I Will Be Using For The Scratch Test

As I do in all my scratch tests I will be using a piece of rough cut, C16 timber. I like to use this method as I feel it is a thorough test for the paint while not being overkill. I don’t want to use something too soft which is not representative of the challenges the paint will face and I also don’t want to use something too hard. If I used a really hard material it would just scratch every paint and not give me any usable results.

Results

I have highlighted the below image with some arrows to show where the areas of damage were after the scratch test.

The Bulls Eye Sample After Testing

The Bulls Eye Sample After Testing

You can see a lot of peeling at the top of the piece. This is always where the damage was more likely to occur as it is right on the edge.

In the middle of the piece, there was only one tiny mark.

So overall I would say the Bulls Eye has done really well on this test. After a really thorough scraping, there is only one central area of damage along with worse areas out on the perimeter.

However, the other Zinsser primers in my test did perform better than Bulls Eye.

The Cover Stain Sample After Testing

The Cover Stain Sample After Testing

The B-I-N Sample After Testing

The B-I-N Sample After Testing

Water Based
Zinsser 123 Bulls Eye Primer/Sealer Paint 1 Litre
£16.99 (£16.99 / l)
Buy Now On Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. This helps fund the Bloke Cave and allows us to create epic projects!
09/23/2021 04:36 pm GMT
Shellac Base
Zinsser B-i-n Primer & Sealer 1Ltr
£27.67
Buy Now On Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. This helps fund the Bloke Cave and allows us to create epic projects!
09/23/2021 04:36 pm GMT
Solvent Based
Zinsser Cover Stain Primer/Finish Paint 1 Litre
£13.85 (£13.85 / l)
Buy Now On Amazon
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. This helps fund the Bloke Cave and allows us to create epic projects!
09/23/2021 04:36 pm GMT

Similar Posts

Can you use Zinsser Cover Stain on Aluminium?

Can You Use Zinsser BIN on Aluminium?

We are on YouTube!

Subscribe to The Bloke Cave on YouTube to get notified everytime a new video goes live!

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!