Can You Use Latex Paint Over Oil-Based Paint?

You may be surprised to know that latex paint can also work over older oil-based paints. However, make sure the surface is fully cured, and there’s nothing inherent in the coating, which would prevent this kind of application.

Latex paint is designed to be used over other paints. The latex will not react with the oil-based paint and cause any types of bubbles or texture changes. It can also cover up dirt, stains, and water spots that may have occurred on the surface before painting.

In addition, it does not contain lead, so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals coming into contact with your hands while you’re painting!  Have fun getting creative in your home today with some new colors! Check out this blog post for more information on how to use latex paint over oil-based paints.

Can I Use Latex Paint over Oil-Based Primer?

You can easily apply latex paint over an oil-based primer, but you have to be mindful that you cannot use oil-based paint over latex. For your project to go successfully, you must ensure that the painted surface is properly dry. If that’s not the case, the latex paint will not adhere to the surface and will eventually peel off. 

On the one hand, in water-based paints, the emulsifying agent is water that is used to combine the pigment and coating. Contrary to that, oil-based paints have oil as an emulsifier. While working with oil-based paints, you will observe that the paint has a distinct smell and an oily texture. Once the paint has completely dried, the pungent stench will eventually evaporate, and the paint will not be oily anymore.

Besides, always remember with all paint jobs, prepping the surface is vital. Therefore, you must sand down the surface, clean it, and finally wipe it down using a clean and damp cloth. Be sure to coat your surface with a primer before you start stroking on the latex paint.

Another thing to bear in mind is that not all surfaces require a primer coat, but with latex paints, it is crucial. It is equally important to remember that glossy-finish painted surfaces will not take on a second coat of paint as easily. Therefore, scraping off old paint is highly advised before you start painting on numerous layers of latex paint.

Related Read: How To Apply Latex Paint on Metal?

How To Paint Over Oil-Based Paint With Latex?

Is it possible to paint over oil-based paint using latex paint? It is quite possible to do so. Start by preparing the surface that needs to be painted. Properly remove all the gloss off the old paint, wipe all of the debris, give it a final wipe down and start painting.

Actually, painting over a surface usually is not affected by its undercoat being oil-based. By now, we have understood that oil-based paints have a gloss finish, which is the issue we must focus on. So, the contents of the paint coat underneath are irrelevant.

Always remember, no matter the kind of paint, it will never have the type of adhesion to the surface as it will over a primed surface. Also, note that a thoroughly prepped surface will be pretty easy to paint over, with a seamless end result.

Now let’s go through a step-by-step process of applying latex paint over an oil-based one.

1. Get Rid of the Gloss

Here we will explain how to paint over oil-based paint with latex. The first step is to remove the oil gloss of the previous paint.

Fine-grit sandpaper can help you remove any obsolete oil-based paint on the area you are about to paint. The sandpapering will ensure proper adhesion.

It is imperative that all the gloss or shine has been completely removed. Just like dirt, a gloss finish also prevents the paint from sticking adequately.

All loose specs of paint must be scraped off using a putty knife or a similar tool. Once the area has been cleaned, fill up any cracks and gaps using wood putty or wood filler.

Related Read: How To Sand Latex Paint?

2. Clear off Debris

Clear off Debris

Dust off all of the debris sitting on the area; otherwise, it will have an adverse effect on the latex paint affixing to the surface properly.

Painting latex on latex will spare you all this tedious cleaning; however, oil-based paint isn’t the same. Deep cleaning the surface before painting is essential.

The debris can be removed using a TSP Heavy Duty cleaner. It can be added to a bucket of warm water and applied on with a clean rag. Such a product is primarily available in a hardware store or home improvement shops.

Related Read: Do You Have To Sand Varnish Between Coats?

3. Wipe the Area with a Clean Rag

Wipe the Area with a Clean Rag

Once the TSP cleaner and water have completely dried off, use a cotton cloth to wipe down the surface. Another helpful tool for this chore is a tack cloth, which is a cheesecloth saturated with beeswax and is affordable.

Besides, the tack cloth has a sticky surface making it ideal for wicking off any dirt particles on the surface. Keep in mind not to rub the tack cloth too vigorously into the surface. Hard rubbing causes the beeswax from the fabric to rub off onto the surface, hence doing the opposite of removing dirt.

Related Read: What Happens If You Put Milk Paint Over Paint Chalk?

4. Start Applying Latex Over Oil-Paint

Start Applying Latex Over Oil-Paint

Now that you have meticulously cleaned and dried the surface you are working on, it’s time to paint. It is advised not to have excessive quantities of paint on your brush.

Paint slowly and continuously in even strokes, maintaining a wet margin. Using high-quality paintbrushes will ensure the best-finished product. Latex paints dry fast than most paints, so you apply a second coat after 4 hours.

Related Read: Can You Apply Latex Paint With a Roller?

Related Read: Can You Apply Latex on Concrete?

Can You Paint Oil-Based Primer Over Latex?

Yes, it is acceptable to use oil-based primer over latex paint. Doing so the other way round is also fine. While painting over a latex painted surface, the thing to keep in mind is that surface preparation is a must. Use fine-grit sandpaper and a medium (chemical substance) to help remove the paint so that the new coat of paint adheres well. 

Following the steps listed below, you can easily use oil-based primer over latex paint.

Step 1: Latex has flexibility; therefore, the paint will not stick if a surface isn’t appropriately sanded and primed well. The kind of primer does not really matter; what matters is priming between each coat of paint.

Step 2: The sanding of the surface happens in stages, and the second stage is going over the minor flaws and cleaning up. Once you are done, and your surface looks matte and smooth, go over it with a damp cloth to remove any debris.

Step 3: Cover up any edges or neighboring areas to protect from the paint or mess using masking tape. Also, the tape will help achieve a sharp and clean look when you are done painting.

Step 4: Finally, work with a smaller brush and spread the primer along the boundaries of the surface you are working on.  For the paint to adhere well, you must coat the whole surface with primer edge to edge. Moreover, add a layer of primer before you apply your second coat of paint for an isolating effect.

Related Read: Can You Mix Latex With Chalk Paint?

Related Read: How To Paint Furniture Using Latex Paint?


When you are in the process of painting your home, it is a good idea to consider whether or not you need latex paint over oil-based primer.

Many factors will determine this decision for each homeowner. Therefore, we hope these tips have helped you learn more about oil-based primers and their use along with latex paints.

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