Can Latex Paint Cover Oil-Based Paint?

If you’re in the paint world or have done some research using latex paint over oil-based is not advised. Latex cannot cure and “stick” when applied over an oil-based layer. People who make this mistake quickly discover this as the latex paint cracks, bubbles, and peels. With that said, quality latex paint can cover oil-based paints if the surface is properly prepared. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at latex and oil paint and find out when you can use them and how to use them.

Latex vs. Oil Paint

Oil-based paints are popular because of their durability, stain-resistance, and ability to adhere well to most surfaces. The main complaint with oil finishes is that they have a stronger odor, are messier to work with and clean up, and don’t retain their color and gloss as well as latex paint.

Latex paints are water-based and generally more popular because they’re easier to work with, provide easy cleanup, smell better, and retain their color longer. However, latex doesn’t adhere to surfaces as well. It shrinks when it dries, which can cause the surface to prematurely fail if the coat isn’t well-adhered to the surface.

When to Use Oil-based Paint?

Oil-based paint is a safe choice when painting over a previous oil finish. Oil-based is a great choice for doors, windows, and trim when you want a very smooth finish. Oil paints have self-leveling properties that reduce the appearance of brush marks.

If your project demands the most durable finish possible, oil-based paint is a good choice. Oil paint is great at resisting scratches, scuffing, and general wear and tear. Outdoor metal furniture, metal handrailing, and other similar surfaces are good candidates for oil-based paints.

When to Use Latex Paint?

It’s good practice to use latex when painting over previously painted latex. Latex, or 100% acrylic paints, are the most popular paints to use for exterior home repaints because they retain their color and gloss the longest when exposed to the sun. Latex is also popular for home interior projects because of its ease of use and favorable odor.

How do You Paint Over Oil with Latex Paint?

If you have decided to paint over oil with latex paint, you need to follow some important steps to ensure the best outcome. It’s really all about the surface prep.

  • Clean the surface – Remove dirt, grease, and contaminants with a quality degreasing pre-paint cleaner.
  • Scuff it up – You need to create a profile for the latex paint to stick to. Use a sander to scuff up the surface. Then wipe or wash off the dust and let it dry before moving to the next step.
  • Prime it – Even though you scuffed the surface, it’s wise to add an extra layer for the latex to bond to.
  • Paint two coats – Finally, apply two full coats of high-quality latex paint.  

Need New Paint for Your Home or Business?

If you’re in the market for a new exterior or interior paint, we can help. We use the highest quality paints from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams to ensure you get a finish that looks great and lasts. Ready to schedule your next exterior or interior paint project? Schedule a free estimate today!

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