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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Now I will attempt to scratch the sample up and see how well the Bulls Eye 123 has stuck to the metal.
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.
I have highlighted the below image with some arrows to show where the areas of damage were after the scratch test.
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.