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

In the painting world, high-gloss paint is commonly used as the final coat of a paint job because it offers the most protection and durability. But can you paint over high-gloss paint?

You can paint over high-gloss paint but only if you remove the top glossy layer of the high-gloss finish before applying the paint. This is to make the paint stick well to a textured surface rather than a slick glossy surface. You can remove the top glossy layer by sanding, stripping, or by using a paint thinner.

However, you should know that removing the top layer of the high-gloss finish is daunting and time-consuming.

This is why many painters advise DIYers not to paint over high-gloss paint. But not to worry. This post reveals a 5-step method to paint over high-gloss paint easily and other helpful tips. So let’s dive in.

Is High-Gloss Paint Hard To Paint Over?

Is High-Gloss Paint Hard To Paint Over?

Painting over high-gloss paint has some level of difficulty to it. This is because to paint over the high-gloss, you need to remove the top layer of the high-gloss finish and this is easier said than done.

The top layer of the high gloss is hard, moisture-resistant, thick, and strong so removing it will be difficult but not impossible. This is because there are different ways that you can use to remove the top layer.

The reason you have to remove the top glossy layer is to let the paint stick to the high-gloss finish. When high-gloss paint dries, the paint dries to form a hard and moisture-resistant layer. This layer is specially designed to repel any type of moisture either oil or water.

This means that moisture can’t penetrate or stick to the high-gloss finish and seeing as paints are either oil or water-based, there is no way the paint will stick to the moisture-resistant high-gloss finish.

So the only way to make the paint stick to the high-gloss finish is to remove the gloss first and the most common way to remove the gloss is with sandpaper.

While sanding, the abrasive side of the sandpaper will gradually scrape off the gloss from the finish revealing a textured rather than glossy surface for the paint to stick to. But can you paint over high-gloss without sanding? Let’s find out.

Can You Paint Over High-Gloss Paint Without Sanding?

Can You Paint Over High-Gloss Paint Without Sanding?

You can paint over high-gloss paint without sanding as long as you have an alternative to remove the gloss on the high-gloss finish.

The reason sanding is important while painting over high-gloss is that sanding helps to remove the moisture-resistant gloss so the paint can stick. So, if you have another alternative to remove the gloss as effectively as sanding, then you can paint over high-gloss without sanding.

Top alternatives include stripping the gloss with a paint stripping compound, using paint or lacquer thinner to dissolve the gloss, and using a paint scraper to remove the paint.

However, you should know that painting over high-gloss paint without sanding will make the task more time-consuming and difficult. This is because asides from removing the gloss, sanding also helps to smoothen and remove dust nibs from the high-gloss painted surface. So even if you get an alternative to remove the gloss, you’ll still need to sand the surface to make it smooth enough to paint over.

So, in summary, you can’t escape sanding completely while attempting to paint over a high-gloss finish. Even if you get an alternative to remove the gloss, you’ll still need sanding to smoothen the surface and remove dust nibs so the finish can dry smoothly.

Now, let’s find out how to paint over high-gloss paint.

How To Paint Over High-Gloss Paint?

Painting over high-gloss paint can be time-consuming and stressful due to the level of prep work required. But this guide will reveal a 5-step process to paint over a high-gloss finish easily. But first, we’ll need a few tools and supplies:

  • 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)

Here is a detailed guide to painting over high-gloss paint:

  1. Remove the gloss
  2. Smoothen the surface
  3. Apply paint thinner
  4. Apply the paint
  5. Seal the paint

Now, roll those sleeves, and let’s get to work.

1. Remove The Glossy Top Coat On The High-Gloss Finish

Remove The Glossy Top Coat On The High-Gloss Finish

The first step is to remove the glossy top coat from the high-gloss finish. If you don’t remove the glossy sheen, the paint will not stick. You can remove the glossy sheen by using sandpaper, a paint stripper, a paint scrapper, or paint thinner. Your best bet however is to use sandpaper.

To use sandpaper, you’ll need to remove the gloss by sanding. You should start sanding with medium-grit sandpaper like 150-grit. The grit on medium-grit sandpaper is coarse enough to strip off the gloss on the high-gloss finish.

To use a paint stripper, you’ll need to apply a few coats of a paint stripping compound on the high-gloss finish. Then leave it for a few minutes. The paint stripper will soak in the gloss and after a while, you’ll be able to strip off the gloss.

To use a paint scrapper, you’ll need to use a putty knife or a trowel to scrape off the gloss on the high-gloss finish. To use a paint thinner, you’ll need to apply the paint thinner to the high-gloss finish and leave it for a few minutes. The paint thinner will dissolve the gloss and make it easier to wipe off. You can also use lacquer thinner to remove the gloss.

2. Smoothen The Surface and Remove Dust

Smoothen The Surface and Remove Dust

After removing the gloss, the surface is sure to be rough and uneven. So, you’ll need to smoothen it to allow the paint to dry smoothly. To do this, you’ll need to use a fine-grit sandpaper or sanding block.

The fine-grit sandpaper will smoothen the surface and remove bumps that can prevent proper paint adhesion. Any grit from 220-grit and above is good enough.

3. Apply Paint Primer

Apply Paint Primer

After sanding, you can apply paint primer. This step isn’t compulsory but it helps to ensure better paint adhesion and it guarantees a smooth result. Applying paint primer also helps to prevent bleed-through and staining.

It’s best to use a paint primer that has the same base as the paint that you want to use. If you want to use water-based paint, it’s better to use a water-based paint primer. For oil-based paint, you should use enamel or oil-based paint primer. You should only apply a light coat of primer paint on the high-gloss finish.

4. Apply The Paint

Apply The Paint

When the primer is dry, you can apply the paint using a spray gun or a paintbrush. You only need about 3 coats of paint on the high-gloss finish.

It’s better to apply light coats of paint for better adhesion and to prevent the finish from being too thick.  Also, ensure to allow each coat of paint to dry properly before a recoat.

5. Seal The Paint With A Top Coat

Seal The Paint With A Top Coat

This step is also optional but sealing the paint with a top coat makes the finish stronger and more durable. Top choices for sealants include polyurethane and lacquer.

Now that you know how to paint over high-gloss paint, let’s check out some common paint types and see if you can apply them over a high-gloss finish.

Types of Paint You Can Use Over High-Gloss Paint?

Types of Paint You Can Use Over High-Gloss Paint

Here are some types of paint that you can or can’t use over high-gloss paint:

Satin Paint

You can use satin paint over high-gloss paint. But, you’ll need to completely remove the glossy top coat on the high-gloss finish to allow the satin paint to stick. This is because satin paint is water-based and as such wouldn’t stick to the glossy top coat of high-gloss finish since the glossy sheen is oil-based.

Oil-Based Paint

You can use oil-based paint over high-gloss paint but you’ll need to sand the high-gloss paint first and apply a primer paint coating on the high-gloss finish before the oil-based paint can stay. This is because oil-based paints don’t stick very well to a high-gloss finish since the high-gloss finish is glossy and slick.

Applying oil paint over gloss isn’t a recipe for a good or strong finish. So, in this case, you need to sand and prime before applying the oil-based paint.

Flat Paint

You can use flat paint over high-gloss paint but you have to rough up the high-gloss paint first by scrubbing the high-gloss finish with steel wool.

This helps to remove the glossy top coat lightly so the flat paint can easily stick. In this case, you don’t need to worry much about sanding. This is because flat paints hide imperfections, ridges, and scars very well.

Semi-Gloss Paint

You can use semi-gloss paint over high-gloss paint only if you sand the high-gloss finish first. This is because semi-gloss paint doesn’t stick to a glossy finish. To make a semi-gloss paint stick, you need to abrade the high-gloss finish so the semi-gloss paint can stick.

Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint can be used over high-gloss paint but only if you use a primer coating first. This is to give the eggshell paint something to bite into. You should only use a water-based primer on the gloss to prep for eggshell paint.

Spray Paint

You can use spray paint over high-gloss paint easily but only if you use oil-based spray paint. Water-based spray paints don’t stick to a high-gloss finish but oil-based spray paints will stick without a problem. So, in this case, you might not need to sand but this depends largely on the type of spray paint.

High-Gloss Over Old High-Gloss?

You can paint high-gloss over high-gloss but you have to remove the high-gloss underneath completely. This is because high-gloss paints don’t stick to high-gloss undercoats since the undercoat will be slick.

For high-gloss paints to stick, you need to change the texture of the high-gloss finish from glossy to textured. Then sand the high-gloss paint and apply an oil-based primer coating. This is to allow the high-gloss paint to stick to the high-gloss undercoat.

Final Words

Overall, you can apply paint over a high-gloss finish but you need to ensure adequate preparation before doing so. Also, remember that sanding isn’t optional when it comes to painting over high-gloss because it’s your best bet to achieve a smooth finish.

If you’d want to apply oil-based paint over high-gloss, a coat of primer paint before the oil-based paint will prove very helpful in terms of paint adhesion.

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