How To Apply Oil Base Paint Over Latex: Simple And Easy Steps

If you’re repainting your walls at home and you want to cover up your existing latex paint with an oil-based paint, we’ll show you how. Most DIY painters often contemplate whether it is possible to apply an oil-based paint over latex. The answer is yes it can be done but not directly.

You’ll have to use a separate sealing coat to create a layer in between the two paint. A latex paint is made from flexible ingredients andtherefore, it cannot act as a solid base. An oil-basedpaint, on the other hand, produces a hard finish.

Any painting job requires proper planning and you have to prepare the surface so that the new paint will adhere well to the surface. It takes time and patience to be able to achieve a successful DIY painting job.

Here are the materials you’ll need for this task:

  • Oil-based paint
  • Water-based or acrylic-based primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Stirring stick
  • 80-grit and 150-grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Masking tape
  • Cloth
  • Water
  • Mild detergent


1. Sand the surface.

An oil-based paint will not adhere well if applied directly to a latex paint due to the elasticity to the latex paint. Therefore, you should remove the latex paint underneath to prepare the foundation.

Otherwise, all your hard work may just go to waste if the base is not correctly set-up for the job. To prepare the surface, use an 80-grit sandpaper and a sanding block to remove the existing finish of the latex paint. Sand the entire area until the surface becomes matte and loses its shine.

Finish the sanding process with a 150-grit sandpaper and continue until the surface is completely smooth. The finer sandpaper will help eliminate the minor imperfections in the latex paint.

Then wipe the surface with a damp cloth to eliminate the dust and residue. You can also wash the surface with water and mild detergent to get rid of any remaining elements on the surface.

Rinse it thoroughly with water and allow the surface to dry.

2. Apply the primer.

Use a masking tape to seal the edges and protect the neighboring areas from paint. This will help you apply the primer without making a mess. Apply a water or acrylic-based primer on the surface. Both types of primer are compatible with oil-based and latex paints.

Use a small paintbrush to cut through the trims, sidings, and baseboard. Then use a paint roller to apply the primer in larger areas of the wall.

The primer will help separate the latex paint and the oil-based top coat. Apply two coats of primer but let the first coating dry first before you add the next layer. Make sure that the latex paint is completely removed from the surface in order for the primer to adhere.

3. Add the top coat.

Use an oil-based top coat and apply a thin layer on the surface. The extra layer provides maximum coverage and protection on the surface.

Let the top coat to dry before you add another layer. Then remove the masking tape while the paint is still wet to prevent the paint from getting cracked.In case you accidentally brush the paint in the wrong area, use a cloth dipped in brush cleaner to remove it.

When to Use an Oil-based Paint

Different paint jobs require specific tools and materials. If you’re new to painting, you might find it confusing, especially when you’re trying to decide what type of paint to use. There are a variety of paints available in the market today but most painters often prefer usinglatex or oil-based paint to update the interior of their homes.

  • A latex paint is often the most popular choice but in some cases, an oil-based paint may be more suitable. Latex paint is best used for interior walls while oil-based is more suitable for doors, windows, trims, and other surfaces that are more prone to wear and tear thanks to its durability.
  • An oil–based paint takes longer to dry. At the same time, it is more prone to chemical fumes. This is why you should always use a mask or a respirator when you’re painting with this kind of material.

    Make sure that you paint in a well-ventilated area to help diffuse the fumes and allow the paint to dry properly. When cleaning the brushes, you need to use a solvent or a paint thinner to effectively remove the paint from the brush, unlike latex. A latex paint is easier to wash and clean because all you have to do is rinse it with water.

  • You need to properly prime the surface first before you apply an oil-based paint. Otherwise, if don’t use the prime correctly, the paint may just peel and chip off eventually.
  • An oil-based paint is made with ingredients that have better adhesion properties. Some surfaces especially interior structures require paint that can stick to it better. This includes surfaces that have been previously painted with an oil-based paint.
  • For areas that are more prone to abuse or wear and tear, an oil-based paint may be a more suitable choice. It can produce a stronger and harder finish to help protect the surface from contaminants. At the same time, it will be easier to maintain and clean the surface.
  • In this case, an oil-based paint is more appropriate for your kitchen, bathroom, and interior that is more vulnerable to stains.

Using the Right Tools

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of paint can make a huge difference in your painting job. The most important step in any painting task is to select the right tools and materials for the job. Otherwise, you will just waste your time, money, and energy into a project that may end up in a complete disaster unless you pick the correct tools from the start.

This also includes knowing when to use an oil-based vs. a latex paint and if you can use them together. If you have any questions, feel free to send us a message. We’d love to hear from you.

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