Can You Paint Over High-Gloss Paint? (With Different Paints)

High-gloss paint has the highest amount of sheen (or gloss) in its formula. When dry, the paint forms a glossy finish that repels moisture. So, can you paint over high-gloss paint?

You can’t paint directly over the high-gloss paint. That’s because its glossy finish will prevent paints from sticking over it. However, if you sand off the gloss layer, you can apply paint over it. You can remove the glossy layer using a paint stripper or thinner.

But, you can apply a sealant (or top coat) over a high-gloss paint. That’s because sealants don’t need to penetrate a surface, so they will stick over a glossy finish. 

Things To Know

Is High-Gloss Paint Hard To Paint Over?

It’s hard to paint over high-gloss paint because of its glossy layer. The glossy layer is hard, moisture-resistant, and prevents liquid (or paints) from penetrating its surface. So, you must de-gloss the paint as much as possible before painting over it.

It’s also hard to remove a glossy topcoat. That’s because the paint-stripping compound can’t penetrate it and needs more time to dissolve the particles of the paint. So, the best way to remove a glossy top coat is to use coarse-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper will wear and tear the coating gradually until it’s gone. 

How much you de-gloss the paint depends on the paint you will use. For instance, if you want to apply a water-based paint over high-gloss paint, you must remove the entire glossy layer of the finish. That’s because water-based paint doesn’t stick over a glossy finish.

In comparison, if you want to apply oil-based paint over it, you need to remove just a few spots (parts) of the finish. That’s because oil-based paint is compatible with high-gloss paint since they both use oil as their solvent.

If you want to apply a sealant, such as polyurethane or varnish), you don’t have to remove the glossy layer of the paint. That’s because these sealants don’t need to penetrate a surface to stick. 

Sand or Not?

Can You Paint Over High-Gloss Paint Without Sanding?

Sanding before painting over high-gloss paint is necessary. Besides the glossy layer, sanding removes imperfections and bumps from the surface, allowing the new paint to stick to an even surface.

Even if you remove the glossy layer of the paint by using paint stripping compound or lacquer thinner, you still have to sand. That’s because a stripping compound won’t leave behind a smooth and even layer like sanding.

To de-gloss high-gloss paint, use coarse or medium-grit sandpaper. To sand the coating after using the stripping compound, use fine-grit sandpaper. 

If you want to seal the high-gloss paint with a sealant, sanding is optional. 

How To Paint Over High-Gloss Paint?

Painting over high-gloss paint can be time-consuming due to the required prep work. But this guide will reveal a 5-step process to complete the project easily.

Here are the tools you need:

  • Medium and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Clean rags
  • Primer paint
  • A gallon of paint
  • A paintbrush or spray gun
  • A sealant
  • A pair of gloves
  • Drop sheet
  • Breathing protection
  • Paint thinner, paint scrapper, or paint stripper (Optional)

1. Remove The Glossy Top Coat

Remove The Glossy Top Coat On The High-Gloss Finish

First, remove the glossy topcoat from the high-gloss finish. If you don’t remove the glossy layer, paint won’t stick over it because it can’t penetrate the surface. Use sandpaper, a paint stripper, or paint thinner to de-gloss paint.

If you use sandpaper, start by sanding the coating with medium-grit sandpaper (150-grit). Once the paint is de-glossed, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

If you use a paint stripper or thinner, apply a few coats of stripping compound over the paint and wait a few minutes. The paint stripper will soak into the glossy finish and dissolve the bond between paint particles. After a few minutes, use a paint scraper to scrape the glossy layer off the finish. Once the top coat is removed, sand the finish with fine-grit sandpaper.

2. Clean The Surface

Smoothen The Surface and Remove Dust

After de-glossing the paint, remove dust and clean the coating with a damp rag (with water). Cleaning will remove dust and filth off the surface, allowing the new paint coating to adhere better. 

3. Apply Paint Primer (Optional)

Apply Paint Primer

Applying paint primer is optional because it can cover the color of the high-gloss paint and will increase the height of the coating. However, if you are changing the color shade of the finish or want a better paint adhesion, apply one coat of paint primer.

Paint primer will hide (cover) imperfections, prevent bleed-through, and allow the new coat to stick better. It’s recommended to use stain-blocking primer over high-gloss paint. 

4. Apply The Paint

Apply The Paint

Once the primer is dry, apply the paint using a spray gun or paintbrush. You only need 2-3 coats of paint over high-gloss paint. Wait until one coat dries before applying the next one. 

It’s best to apply light coats for better adhesion and to prevent the finish from being too thick. 

5. Seal The Paint

Seal The Paint With A Top Coat

Sealing paint is optional, but it helps to make the finish stronger and more durable. To seal the finish, use polyurethane, lacquer, or wax. 

Types of Paint You Can Apply:

Types of Paint You Can Use Over High-Gloss Paint

Satin Paint

You can use satin over high-gloss paint, but you must remove the glossy top coat completely. That’s because satin paint is usually water-based and won’t stick over a glossy layer.

Oil-Based Paint

You can use oil-based paint over high-gloss paint without removing the glossy layer completely. Oil-based paints are compatible with high-gloss and will stick over it. However, you still have to sand to create tiny ridges over the finish so the oil-based paint can penetrate.

Flat Paint

You can use flat paint over a high-gloss finish, but you must rough up the finish with steel wool. This removes the glossy top coat lightly so flat paint can stick over it. 

Semi-Gloss Paint

You can use semi-gloss paint over high-gloss paint only if you sand the finish first. This is because semi-gloss paint doesn’t stick to a glossy finish without sanding. 

Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint can be used over high-gloss paint, but only if you use a water-based primer first. This is to give the eggshell paint something to stick to.

Spray Paint

You can use oil-based spray paint over high-gloss paint. That’s because spray paint is applied at high speed and will stick to almost any surface. The key to good paint adhesion is to apply light coats.

High-Gloss Paint

You can apply high-gloss paint over a high-gloss finish, but you must remove the glossy finish. You can skip sanding if the finish hasn’t cured (fully dried) yet. 

Final Words

You can apply paint over high-gloss paint, but you must first sand or remove the glossy top coat. This is because a glossy finish won’t allow the paint to penetrate its surface, so the paint won’t stick.

To remove a glossy finish, use sandpaper, paint stripping compound, or paint thinner. Optionally, you can apply one coat of primer to increase the adhesion. 

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