Can you paint enamel over latex?

Yes, it is possible to paint enamel over latex. However, you might need to invest a lot of effort to prepare the surface.

Enamel can adhere to the surface more easily because latex is a flexible paint. The preparation work involves a wide range of steps and is necessary to prevent the paintwork from looking flaky and smeared.

To create a layer between the latex and enamel paint, you can apply a sealer or a primer.

So, how do you paint enamel over latex?

How to Paint Enamel Over Latex

As we already mentioned, you must prepare the surface if you want to paint enamel over latex. Latex paint is water-based, which means an oil-based enamel paint might struggle to adhere to the surface.

For that reason, it is a good idea to start the painting process by prepping the surface. The preparation process can be divided into several steps. As a DIY expert, here are the steps I would take:

Make the Surface Rough

When preparing your latex surface for enamel paint, the first step you should take is making the surface rough.

The primary purpose of this step is to create a perfect surface for the enamel pigments to stick. You can roughen the surface using various tools; however, I would recommend using sandpaper.

Sanding the Surface

Sanding the surface is a perfect way to make tiny dents, creating a better adhesive environment for the enamel paint. The process will happen in two phases, one with 80-grit sandpaper and the second with 150-grit sandpaper.

80-Grit Sandpaper

80-grit sandpaper is a great place to start sanding since it has larger grits, making your work easier. The step is easy and involves running the sandpaper over the surface while applying enough pressure to create an impact on the paint job.

The best indication that you are applying the right pressure for the job is when the surface starts developing a matte appearance.

If you need to repaint a small area, sanding by hand might be sufficient to see the job done since it’s relatively slower than using a machine.

It is also fun to sand by hand since it gives you a bit of a workout and you will achieve more satisfaction having done everything manually.

150-Grits Sandpaper

If you are satisfied the 80-grit sandpaper has done its work, it is time to replace it with a 150-grit option. The easiest way to know you have achieved the results you need is by checking if the surface looks matte.

The primary purpose of finer 150-grit sandpaper is to sand down areas of the surface where the latex still clings on.

It also smoothens the surface, clearing the tiny contours created by the 80-grit sandpaper. That is necessary to make the painting process easier and ensure you do not use a lot of enamel paint.

Like the 80-grit sandpaper, using the 150-grit paper is as simple as rubbing it along the surface until it is smoother and looks matte.

Ensure you wear a protective mask when sanding the surface to avoid inhaling the dust.

Cleaning the Surface

Once you finish sanding your surface, you will be left with a very dusty environment. It is important to get rid of the dust before starting the painting process.

There are many ways to remove dust from your painting surface. I prefer using a vacuum machine since it sucks up every last particle from the surface without spreading to the surrounding.

A blower might help achieve the same results if you do not have a vacuum.

Painting on a dusty surface is not advisable since it creates a permanent dusty look that is not very attractive to look at.

If you aren’t satisfied with the sanding results after removing all the dust, you can apply some finishing touches with your fine sandpaper until the surface suits your preference.

You can also run water over the surface, depending on the material, if you want to take the cleaning process to the next level.

Prep the Area for Painting

Before picking up your brush, it is good to prepare the area first because painting with enamel paints, oil-based paint, is a lot messier than latex.

That involves protecting the surfaces where you do not want the paint landing, including the floors, furniture, windows, etc. If necessary, you can apply a primer.

Personally, I don’t usually apply a primer. However, it might be good to apply one to provide coverage over the already existent latex paint (can it paint oil?). Also, it creates a better surface for the enamel paint to stick.

Can You Paint Enamel Over Latex?

Yes, you can paint enamel paint over latex provided you prep the surface properly beforehand. Prepping the surface involves:

  • Sanding to dent the surface
  • Cleaning to remove dust
  • Prepping the area for painting

Ensure you apply at least two coats of enamel paint to get the best results.