Can You Use Latex Paint on Furniture? (How-To)

A fresh coat of paint on your piece of furniture will beautify it and increase its durability. But can you use latex paint on furniture? Here is the answer to that.

Latex Paint, also known as water-based paint can be used on furniture. That’s because it bonds well and it has a low level of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) making it ideal for indoor use.

Latex paint also has a variety of sheens and colors to choose from. You can go for the matte, satin, flat, semi-gloss, or eggshell finish. The range of choices and non-toxic nature of latex paint make it a great choice for furniture.

But this is just a snippet. This post reveals more about using latex paint on furniture including the steps involved in carrying out the task.

So let’s dive in.

Is Latex Paint Bad For Furniture?

Latex paint isn’t bad for furniture. Though latex paint isn’t very durable and tends to peel off after a few years, the paint can be sealed with a clear topcoat which will make the paint more resistant to scratches and chipping.

Ordinarily, latex paint isn’t very durable on furniture that will experience heavy use like chairs and tables. But, when sealed with a clear topcoat, there is hardly any paint type better for furniture.

People tend to write off latex paint pretty quickly when choosing a paint type for furniture. This is because it is believed that latex paint isn’t tough enough to protect the furniture from scratches and dents. However, a latex finish can be improved to guarantee increased durability.

The paint can be sealed with clear coat paints like polyurethane to make the finish more resistant to chips and damages. Asides from this, latex paint still has tons of advantages to furniture.

For starters, there is a wide range of choices when it comes to latex paint. The best is a semi-gloss finish. The semi-gloss finish is reflective which means the furniture will have a bright sheen. Semi-gloss is also moisture resistant meaning it will be safe and easy to clean stains off the furniture.

If there is any look you envisioned for your furniture, you can achieve it with latex paint. You can even mix different types of latex paint to give a unique finish.

Latex paint is also cheap and available almost everywhere under the sun. The paint is easy to use, dries fast, and unlike oil paints, it contains no toxic compounds which make it ideal for indoor furniture.

Since latex paint is good for furniture, let’s discuss how to apply it to furniture.

Related Read: How To Paint Concrete With Latex Paint?

How To Apply Latex Paint On Furniture?

Applying coats of latex paint on furniture isn’t difficult. But, you will spend most of the time prepping the furniture surface rather than painting it. This is because the furniture has to be smooth and clean before you can apply latex paint to it.

To apply latex paint on furniture, you will need a few tools:

  1. Foam Paintbrush
  2. Latex Paint
  3. Latex Paint Primer For Furniture
  4. Fine-Grit Sandpaper
  5. Paint Stripper For Wooden Surfaces
  6. Drop Sheets
  7. Painter’s Tape
  8. Wood Filler
  9. A Clear Topcoat
  10. Synthetic Paintbrush.

Here is how to apply latex paint on furniture:

  1. Prep The Workspace
  2. Strip The Previous Finish Off The Furniture
  3. Sand The Furniture
  4. Prime The Furniture
  5. Apply Multiple Coats Of Latex Paint
  6. Seal The Latex Paint With A Clear Topcoat & Allow The Paint To Cure

Let’s get to work.

1. Prep The Wood Furniture

Before you start to paint the furniture, you have to prep it by cleaning it.

The first step is to wipe down the furniture with a rag. This helps to remove any dirt or grime on the furniture.

Next, prepare your workspace to prevent accidents and paint splatters. Put a large drop sheet on the floor to cover the floors. This prevents paint stains on your floor.

You can remove nearby objects or move the furniture outside to be painted. Painting furniture can be messy so prepare your workspace against paint stains. Also, you should paint in a well-ventilated area so open all doors and windows.

2. Strip The Previous Finish Off The Furniture

Next, you have to remove the previous paint that the wood furniture had.

If the furniture was previously stained or painted, then you need to remove the previous finish before applying the latex paint. If the previous finish is left on the furniture, the new paint coating will not sit well on the furniture. This will make the finish unsightly and amateurish.

Oil paints especially aren’t good base coats for latex paint. This is because oil paints when dry give a slick surface that makes it difficult for latex paints to adhere to. So if you previously used oil-based paint or wax on the furniture, you need to remove it before applying the latex.

You can strip the previous finish by using a wire brush or sanding sponge. You can also use a paint stripper. Paint stripping compounds are very effective and quick in removing paints from wooden surfaces. To use a wire brush, scrub the paint off using the wired brush.

To use paint strippers, apply two layers of stripping compound directly on the paint and leave it for a few hours. The paint will be absorbed by the stripping compound making it easier to manually remove the paint. You can use a paint scraper to remove the stripping compound after.

Related Read: Does Baking Soda Dissolve Latex Paint?

3. Sand The Furniture

Now, sand the furniture

If it’s an old piece of furniture, say a dresser your grandmother used or a kitchen cabinet from your old house, chances are the furniture might have seen a few cracks and holes. These imperfections may be caused by insects or moisture.

There is also the chance that the furniture will still be in good condition. Furniture made from quality wood can last for decades. So, inspect the furniture first.

If you notice cracks and holes, you need to fill them with a wood filler. This is because these imperfections will still be noticeable when the latex paint dries. This will make the finish poor. Mix enough wood filler and apply it in the holes and cracks. Leave the surface for a while for the wood filler to cure.

After filling the holes and cracks in the wood, sand lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper. The reason for sanding is that wood filler tends to cause tiny splinters and spikes in wood as it dries.

Also, the filling compound when dry wouldn’t be smooth and you need a smooth surface to paint on.

To sand, rub the abrasive side of fine-grit sandpaper against the top layer of the furniture. Sand until you can move your fingers against the furniture surface smoothly. Then clean the wood to remove dust.

Related Read: How To Sand Latex Paint?

4. Prime The Furniture

Before you apply latex, you have to prime the furniture

The next step is to prime the furniture using latex paint primer for wood. Apply two coats of latex paint primer on the furniture.

Priming helps to increase paint adhesion. It also improves the finish and durability of latex paint. Wait until the primer cures before painting over it. Latex paint primer takes about 2 or 3 hours to fully cure.

5. Apply Multiple Coats Of Latex Paint On The Furniture

Now, apply the latex paint to the furniture. You have to apply a few coats of latex

Here is the part you were waiting for. Latex paint can be applied over furniture by using any painting method. You can use a small roller, paintbrush, or a paint sprayer.

If you can get your hands on a paint sprayer, it’s your best bet for even application, and preventing brush marks. If you can’t, you can use a foam brush or a foam roller.

Apply the latex paint using thin coats/layers. This means no heavy coating. Thin coats prevent drips and splashes. You can also use painter’s tape to demarcate the wood so you know where to paint and where not to.

If you used painter’s tape, start painting from the edges where you have the tape. Use a small paintbrush to paint these edges. This helps to prevent roll-overs when you move to the foam roller.

Allow the paint to cure before moving to the next step. It takes about 24 hours for latex paint to fully cure.

Related Read: How To Apply Latex Paint With a Roller?

6. Seal The Latex Paint & Allow The Paint To Cure

Seal the latex paint to protect it, and then wait for the sealer to dry before you can use the furniture.

When the latex paint has cured, you can seal it using a sealant or a clear topcoat.

Latex paints normally don’t require sealants. But, to improve the durability of the paint and furniture against chips and scratches, you should seal the paint using a clear topcoat or sheen. About 3 layers of the chosen clear topcoat are enough to preserve the finish.

When you are done painting, leave the paint to cure for a few days. This means you shouldn’t use or place anything on the furniture for at least 48 hours.

Remember to clean up your equipment and workspace after. For paint stains that have dried while cleaning, you can dissolve them using rubbing alcohol or warm soapy water.

Do You Need To Seal Latex Paint On Furniture?

You don’t need to seal latex paint on furniture as long as the furniture wouldn’t be used heavily.

However, if you are painting furniture like chairs, tables, or dressers with latex paint, you need to seal the latex paint to preserve the finish. This is because furniture like chairs and tables witness a lot of heavy use which can damage the latex paint quickly if it isn’t sealed.

Decorative furniture finished with latex paint doesn’t need to be sealed since the furniture wouldn’t experience heavy use.

Latex paint isn’t a very durable finish. The thinner and water-based nature of latex paint makes it prone to scratches, marks and early chipping especially if the latex is used on a surface that sees heavy or consistent use.

Sealing the latex paint means applying a few coats of protective sheen on the latex finish. The sealant makes the latex paint more resistant to damage and moisture. So it’s up to you to decide if you need to seal the latex paint or not.

One piece of furniture you shouldn’t seal after painting with latex paint is baby furniture. While topcoats like Polyurethane and gloss protect the latex finish on the furniture, these topcoats also have a high level of VOCs (Volatile organic compounds).

The oil-based nature of these topcoats also mean there are chemicals in the finish. All of these make these topcoats unsafe for infants.

So never seal baby cots, dressers, or any furniture in the baby’s room with oil paints. If you are to seal, ensure the sealant is a hundred percent water-based and has no active chemicals.

Related Read: Is Latex Paint Good For Metal?

Should You Prime Before Using Latex Paint On Furniture?

You should always prime before using latex on furniture. The primer helps to improve paint adhesion. It also helps the latex paint to last longer since the paint has a base coat to bite into. This increases the durability of the latex paint.

Priming the furniture before painting also helps to fill tiny pores and holes in the wood that can suck the latex paint. So asides from protecting the finish and improving adhesion, priming also prevents paint wastage.

Priming before using latex paint is important if you want to have a smooth finish. The primer doesn’t only improve paint adhesion, it also gives the latex paint a smooth surface to sit on. Priming compounds are also designed to give the latex finish a finer finish.

To prime furniture, just apply a coat or two of the required primer on the furniture and leave it to dry. When it’s dry, sand lightly to smoothen the primer. While choosing a primer, ensure to pick primers designed for wood or furniture.

You should also pick latex paint primer. Never use an oil-based primer for latex paint. It will ruin the finish and take forever to cure.

If you aren’t sure the type of primer to get, buy latex paint that is advertised as self-priming. These latex paints are designed to prime the furniture and also go on the wood fine.

Can You Use Latex Wall Paint On Furniture?

Latex wall paint can be used on furniture because the latex paint is designed to suit different surfaces and not just walls. Latex wall paint also dries quickly and is easy to apply on wood.

However, it is advised to prime the furniture before using latex wall paint. You should also seal the latex paint after it has dried for increased protection.

Latex paints are universal. There usually isn’t a specification on which type of surface you can use the latex. What determines if you can use the latex paint is the level of prep work done on the surface first.

Wooden surfaces will require priming and sanding. Metal surfaces will require sanding, and concrete surfaces will require all of these. As long as the furniture is clean and smooth enough, you can use latex wall paint on it.

This doesn’t mean you should buy latex wall paint for furniture on purpose. Latex wall paint should only be used on furniture as a last resort.

Latex That!

Overall, latex paint can be used on just about any furniture. You just need to prep the furniture as required, prime, and then apply the latex paint.

For increased durability, ensure to seal the latex paint with a topcoat. Only seal baby furniture with a water-based topcoat. You also have a wide range of colors and finishes to choose from. So give it a try and see what you get.

So there you have it. If you liked this post, ensure to check out others on this website for more painting tips. Have a nice day.

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