Can You Paint Over Satin Paint? (How-To)

If you are a curious painter or DIYer like me, then you must have wondered if you can paint over satin paint. So, can you?

You can paint over satin paint. However, you are to sand, degrease, and prime the satin paint before applying new paint over it. This is because satin paint is a medium-gloss finish meaning that the paint is not textured. For paint to adhere properly, the underlining coat must be textured.

However, satin paint being a medium-gloss finish has a slick and glossy finish making it difficult for paint to stick. Cleaning, priming and sanding make paints stick to satin paint.

This post reveals more about painting over satin paint including an expert guide that reveals all you need to know to carry out the task. So, let’s dive in.

Does Paint Stick To Satin Paint?

Does Paint Stick To Satin Paint?

Paint doesn’t stick well to satin paint. If you put paint directly over satin paint, the paint will stay on initially but after a few days, it will start to fall off.

This is because satin paint has a higher level of sheen than regular paints. As such, satin paint dries to a hard and glossy finish that doesn’t absorb paint. However, you should know that paints will stick properly to satin paint if you sand the glossy sheen off of the satin paint finish before applying the paint.

In the painting world, we have five classes of paints based on sheen; flat or matte paint, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss paint. Flat and eggshell paint have little sheen or gloss. Satin and semi-gloss paint are considered medium-gloss because their finishes are glossy.

High-gloss paints have the highest level of sheen and are glossier than satin paint. The glossy paints (satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss) all prevent paint from sticking properly. This is because these paints dry to form a hard and glossy finish.

The glossy finish of satin paint is slick and usually moisture-resistant meaning that it doesn’t allow liquid to penetrate. Since all paints are liquid, the paint will not stick well to satin paint. The slick texture doesn’t give the paint much chance of sticking either since paints have to stick to textured or grazed surfaces.

The only type of paint that will stick to satin paint is a sealant. Sealants like polyurethane will stick to satin paint properly since these paints don’t need a textured surface to stick. Also, these paints are designed to go over other paints like semi-gloss paint. So sealants will stick to a satin finish. For other types of paints to stick, you have to sand or strip the satin paint first.

Should You Sand Before Applying Paint Over Satin Paint?

Should You Sand Before Applying Paint Over Satin Paint?

You should sand before applying paint over satin paint. This is to allow the paint to stick well to the satin paint. When you sand, you directly remove the glossy sheen over the satin paint. You also create tiny ridges in the satin paint for the new paint to stick to. This allows proper adhesion between the new paint coat and the satin paint.

Sanding is not necessary when you want to apply a sealant or top coat over satin paint. This is because sealants generally stick to satin paint as long as the satin coating is clean. However, sanding before applying the sealant will improve adhesion.

Should You Prime Before Applying Paint Over Satin Paint?

You don’t have to prime before applying paint over satin paint. As long as the satin paint coating is clean and properly sanded, you can apply paint over it without priming first.

However, you should know that priming is ideal if the satin paint is damaged or if you want to switch color shades. For instance, if you want to apply light-colored paint over dark-colored satin paint, you should apply a coat of grey primer on the satin paint first to prevent the dark color from showing through the new paint coating.

Here are scenarios where you have to prime satin paint before applying paint over it:

  • If the satin paint is wet, you need a stain-blocking or moisture-resistant primer paint
  • If the satin paint is chipping or peeling, you need a primer coating before applying the paint
  • If you want to switch color shades, a primer coating will cover the existing color
  • If the painted surface was patched
  • If you want to apply thin paint, you should prime first.

But is it possible to apply paint over satin without priming or sanding? Let’s take a closer look.

Can You Paint Over Satin Paint Without Priming or Sanding?

You can paint over satin paint without priming or sanding as long as the satin paint is clean and you apply a sealant. If you want to apply regular water-based or oil-based paint over satin paint, sanding and in some cases, priming is not optional.

As explained earlier, the purpose of sanding and priming before applying paint over satin paint is to allow the paint to stick well to the satin paint undercoat.

Sanding helps to remove bumps and the glossy sheen on the satin paint. Without removing these, the paint will not stick. So sanding is necessary. Priming on the other hand is not necessary before applying paint over satin paint but it will ensure better adhesion.

You can only skip sanding and priming if the satin paint is clean and if you want to apply a sealant. So how do you paint over satin paint? Let’s find out.

How To Paint Over Satin Paint?

Painting over satin paint is not difficult but you might encounter a few problems if you don’t know the proper steps. Don’t fret though because this guide will show you how to do this in 5 simple steps. But first, you’ll need a few tools and supplies:

  • Sandpaper
  • A gallon of paint
  • A solvent or degreaser
  • Wire brush
  • Primer paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clean rags

Here is a 5-step guide on how to apply paint over satin paint:

  • Clean and degrease the satin paint
  • Sand the satin paint
  • Apply a coat of primer paint over the satin paint
  • Apply two to three coats of the new paint over the satin paint

Now, let’s get to work.

1. Clean and Degrease The Satin Paint

Clean and Degrease The Satin Paint

The first step is to clean and remove grease and oils from the satin paint. If the satin paint is filthy, then the new paint coating will not stick properly. You’ll also find it difficult to sand a filthy surface as the sandpaper will get clogged quickly with filth.

You should first wipe the satin paint with a clean rag. After, you should dampen the rag with a degreaser or a cleaning solvent and use the damp rag to wipe the satin paint. This helps to remove oils and grease on the satin paint. After cleaning and wiping the satin paint, leave it to dry.

2. Sand The Satin Paint

Sand The Satin Paint

When the satin paint is clean, you should sand with fine-grit sandpaper. The main purpose of this is to remove the glossy sheen on the satin paint so the new paint can stick properly.

Apart from removing the gloss, sanding also helps to remove bumps and imperfections in the satin paint. You don’t need to sand much since the top sheen is what you are trying to remove and not the entire satin paint.

After sanding, there are sure to be dust nibs spewed around the surface. If you don’t remove the dust, there will be pimples and bumps in the new paint when it gets dry. You can remove dust by wiping it off, using a brush, or a vacuum.

3. Apply Primer Paint

Apply Primer Paint

This step is optional. You don’t have to prime to paint over satin paint unless the satin paint is damaged, patched, or you want to switch color shades. For instance, if you want to apply yellow paint over black satin paint, you should prime first to cover the black paint. This will prevent the yellow shade of the new paint to turn dark.

You should apply just one coat of primer paint. You should ensure that the primer paint you apply is compatible with the type of paint you want to apply. If you use the wrong primer, the paint will not stick. As an expert tip, only use water-based primer for water-based paint and oil-based primer for oil-based paints. You can apply the primer using a paintbrush.

4. Apply The New Paint

Apply The New Paint

The final step is to apply the new paint over the satin paint. You can apply up to 3 coats of the paint over satin paint but always ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also, allow each coat to dry enough before applying recoat. When the paint is dry, you can apply a sealant over it to make it last longer.

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

Types of Paint You Can Apply Over Satin Paint?

Types of Paint You Can Apply Over Satin Paint

Here’s a list of the paints you can or can’t apply over satin. Let’s check them:

Eggshell Paint

You can use eggshell paint over satin paint but you’ll have to sand the satin paint before applying the eggshell paint. Also, if the satin paint is oil-based, you’ll need a coat of primer over it before applying the eggshell.

This is because eggshell paint is water-based and as such isn’t compatible with oil-based satin paint. The good news with eggshell paint is that you can apply multiple coats.

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint can be applied over satin paint because chalk paint has good adhesive qualities so it will stick to the satin paint properly.

The good news with chalk paint is that you don’t have to sand much. Since chalk paint adheres well, you only need a light sanding to allow the chalk paint to stick. However, you should know that chalk paint is thick so you might need to thin it with water to make it easier to apply.

Semi-Gloss Paint

You can use semi-gloss paint over satin paint but you will have to sand the satin paint properly. This is because satin and semi-gloss paints are both medium-gloss finishes and medium-gloss paint will not stick to another medium-gloss paint unless you sand first. You might also need a coat of primer on the satin paint especially if the satin paint is oil-based.

Oil-Based Paint

You shouldn’t put oil-based paint over satin paint directly. This is because oil-based paints have to be applied on a textured surface and not a glossy one.

If you apply oil-based paint directly over satin without sanding or priming first, the paint will fall off in days. It’s better to use a water-based primer over the satin paint before putting the oil-based paint.

Water-Based Paint

You can use water-based paint over satin paint. One reason for this is that water-based paint has good adhesion.

However, you need to be sure of the type of satin paint before putting water-based paint over it. If the satin paint is oil-based, then the water-based paint will not stick properly because water-based paints don’t stick well to oil-based paints.

As an expert tip, you should only use water-based paints over water-based satin paints. If you are to put water-based paint over oil-based satin paint, you need to prime first.

Varnish

You can use varnish over satin paint and the good news is you don’t need to sand much. This is because varnish is a topical stain meaning that it sticks to the top layer.

In this case, what you need to do is stress or partial sanding. This means you don’t have to sand the entire satin paint. You just have to sand parts of the satin paint to allow the varnish to stick well.

You should also ensure that the satin paint is dry and clean before applying varnish because the varnish coating will highlight imperfections and dirt on the satin paint.

Emulsion Paint

Emulsion paints are not commonly used over satin paint. The reason for this is that emulsion paints contain a large volume of water. Being water-based, emulsion paint will not stick to a glossy or slick surface like satin paint. To make an emulsion paint stick, you might have to remove the satin paint completely.

Polyurethane

You can apply polyurethane over satin paint as long as you sand lightly. This is to allow the polyurethane to stick to the satin paint properly. However, if the satin paint is damaged or cracked, you’ll need to apply primer paint. This is because polyurethane is a clear film and as such, any imperfection or damage in the satin paint will be revealed.

So if the satin paint is damaged, a primer coating will cover the imperfections so they don’t show through the polyurethane clear coat. You should also know that it’s generally recommended to apply water-based polyurethane over water-based satin paint and oil-based polyurethane over oil-based satin paint.

Matte Paint

Matte or flat paint can go over satin paint but you will need to sand the satin paint to allow the matte paint to bite and stick.

Also, if the satin paint is oil-based, you’ll need a primer coating before applying matte paint over it. This is because matte paints are usually water-based and water-based paints don’t stick well to oil-based satin paints.

You should also know that matte paint doesn’t offer good protection. So you will need to seal the matte paint with a sealant to make it stronger and more durable.

Final Words

In summary, you can apply paint over satin paint. You just need to ensure that the paint is compatible with the satin paint before applying it. Also, you need to know the type of satin paint if oil-based or water-based to know how to prep it for new paint.

Finally, always sand before painting over satin paint. You might also need a primer coating after sanding. Sanding and priming will guarantee better adhesion between the new paint and the existing satin paint coating.

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