Can you paint latex over oil?

Oil-based paint previously dominated the interior painting industry for high-impact areas like trim work, doorways, and cabinets.

When oil-based paint dries, it generates a slew of volatile organic compounds that are detrimental to the environment.

Because natural spirits or paint thinner must be used to clean up instead of freshwater, the paint is frequently dirty and stinky.

Because water-based latex paint was not invented until the mid-1950s, if a household is old enough, it will almost certainly contain oil-based paint someplace.

Furthermore, while oil-based paint is not fully prohibited, some portions of contemporary houses may have it: Oil-based paint is still available in quarts and smaller amounts.

Many experienced painters prefer oil over latex because it produces a finer, rock-hard surface with no brush traces, gaps, or blisters.

Oil-based paint is commonly used on door casings, trimmings and moldings, mantels, cabinets, and shelving.

Latex paint and even other oil-based painting can be properly placed over earlier oil-based painting as long as the surface is fully dried and there is nothing inherent in the covering that inhibits the addition of another layer of paint.

Preparation is essential. Glossy surfaces will not accept a second coat of paint effectively, therefore they must be well cleaned and primed. You can do so by completing these instructions.

Before you begin painting, use The Spruce’s Paint Analyzer to ensure that you have enough paint to complete the endeavor.

This is the most often asked painting question. Is it possible to paint latex over oil paint (but can you paint enamal over latext)? If you own an ancient house, you have probably searched this question, which is how you found this page in the first place.

No one really desires to see their paint job fail unnecessarily, so you are asking the right question because, in my decades as a restoration contractor, I have seen a lot of paint jobs fail for the same reason. Let me go directly to the point!

Can You Paint Latex Over Oil Paint?

A new coat of oil paint may be applied over any formerly painted surface with little to no preparation other than a thorough washing of the surface, but can latex do the same?

Latex paints do not adhere well to the normally glossy and velvety smooth surfaces of oil paints, including acrylic paint and natural oil paints such as flaxseed oil paint, both of which require particular preparation if you want to paint latex on top of them.

So, the simple answer is “Yes,” but you must prepare it appropriately or it will fail soon and spectacularly, peeling off in layers and causing you a lot of reworking.

There are three alternatives for preparing existing oil-painted surfaces before applying a top layer of latex paint. You will be alright if you perform one of these before placing any latex paint on top of oil paint.

Alternative one: Use an oil primer to prime the surface

For me, this is the most usual option. Priming existing oil paint with a fresh coat of oil-based primer is simple and straightforward.

Oils combine well with other oils, therefore an oil-based primer is a great foundation for any paint. After priming with oil-based primer, you can topping coat with either oil or latex paint.

Another benefit is that oil-based primer sands incredibly well, resulting in a particularly smooth surface when painting. This is particularly necessary when painting cabinets, doors, or other trim.

Alternative two: Sand the Top surface

You must resolve the shiny, smooth surface created by acrylic paint, and in order to do it properly without priming, you must sand every single element of that surface.

In these circumstances, I like to sand using 230-grit sandpaper. You must exercise caution while sanding delicate features and nooks and crannies since any areas that are not sanded will be the weak point of the future paint.

This method is equally as successful as priming, if not more so because you can smooth out the previous layers of paint if there are any rough patches. You only have to be exceedingly particular so as not to overlook any minor sections of sanding.

Alternative three: Degloss

Degassing is the biochemical equivalent of sanding. You would buy a chemical “deglosser,” yes, that is what it is termed, and vigorously wipe it across the surface with a rag.

The process is comparable to waxing a car, but you don’t have to buff it off after it is dry. Buff it evenly across the surface and set it aside to dry. When it’s dried, the surface should be dull and ready for a new coat of latex or oil paint.

You are now aware that latex paint may be applied over oil paint. You only need to perform a little more prep work before getting out the paintbrush.

Therefore, it is simple and easy to paint, thus you can paint latex over oil.