Can You Put Oil Based Paint Over Latex?

by Charlie
Can You Put Oil Based Paint Over Latex

Have you got a layer of latex paint that you want to add oil paint to? If so, you’re probably wondering how well this is likely to work. It’s important to do research on this before plowing ahead with it, because mixing the wrong paints can ruin the whole project.

It’s frustrating if you want to add oil paints to a surface that has already been painted. Oil paints are finicky and often fail to adhere when they are applied to the wrong sort of surface – so what happens if you put oil-based paint on top of a latex paint?

Can you put oil based paint over latex? On the whole, you should avoid putting an oil-based paint on top of a latex paint, unless you have done sufficient preparation work first. This is a common DIY mistake, but it’s one that will cause major problems in your paintwork. The oil paint will quickly start to crack and flake off the latex, leaving it looking messy.

Will Oil-Based Paints Work on Top of Latex?

Oil-based paints can work on top of latex, but this is a tricky combination to get right. Latex paints have a certain degree of flexibility, and oil paints are brittle and not flexible once dried. This combination means that there’s a risk of the oil paint flaking off if you don’t thoroughly prepare the latex surface first.

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s easier to add oil paint to latex if the latex is older. However, it can still be done with new latex paint if you put the time in. You will need to thoroughly sand the latex surface and apply a coat of sealant across it before you can put the oil paint on. Use a coarse sandpaper to begin with; something around 80-grit will usually work.

Wear an appropriate mask and work in a suitable space. Work slowly so you don’t scuff your paint too heavily. You should gently wear it down and create plenty of texture on its surface. You don’t want to gouge it, but to create a roughness that the oil paint can cling to. Keep working until the latex has a matte appearance. There should be no shininess left.

Next, swap for a sandpaper around 150-grit, and again sand down the surface of the latex. Be thorough and don’t miss any areas, or the oil paint will not cling very well there. When you’ve finished, wipe the whole surface down with a damp cloth, and then you are ready to add your primer.

Do You Have to Prime Latex Before Adding an Oil-Based Paint?

You must add primer to the latex if you want the oil paint to stick to it. The primer will create a buffer between the two paints, and will give the oil paint a far better surface to cling to. You should use an oil-based primer to maximize the chances of the paint sticking well. Acrylic primers will work, but may not be as good.

You’ll need to let your primer dry completely before you start adding the oil-based paint, or you may run into problems. You should also make sure you have covered every bit of the latex primer, or the oil paint will probably flake off wherever it comes into contact with the latex – even if you have sanded it thoroughly.

How Do You Add Oil-Based Paint to Latex?

To apply the oil-based paint, dip your brush in the paint and work methodically so you aren’t going back and forth too many times. Work from one edge of your project to the other, ensuring you get even coverage, but not applying the paint too thickly in any areas. It’s more likely to stick well if you apply thin, even coats.

A lot of people like to use a single-coat oil paint so that they only have to do this once, but you may need multiple coats in some circumstances. If you do need multiple coats, make sure the first coat has completely cured before you start adding a second coat. If you put more paint on too soon, there’s a risk that the paint will bubble, and this will cause it to chip and peel.

Remember to ventilate your space thoroughly when you are working with oil-based paints, as these often give off a lot of fumes. These can cause headaches and other symptoms if you work with them in an enclosed space, so be careful. Ventilating the space will also improve the drying times, so bear this in mind.

Can You Add Latex Paint to Oil Paint?

If the oil paint is what you have added first, you might be wondering whether you can then use latex paint. The answer is that this is also very difficult to do. The latex paint will not adhere to the grease in the oil-based paint, and it will simply peel off in most cases. It’s very unlikely to work well, although some people do still attempt this.

If you want to add latex paint to something that has an oil paint on it, your best option is to completely sand off the oil paint first. This will give you the best chance of the latex paint sticking properly. It’s often a slow and frustrating process, but it should mean your latex paint lasts for years, rather than peeling off after a few months.

For those who don’t want to sand off the oil paint completely, using an appropriate primer will again be the key to making this a success. Find a water-based primer that has been specifically designed to stick to oil paints, and this should give your latex a suitable surface to adhere to. Bear in mind, however, that even with all this work, using latex paints on oil paints can be problematic.

Final Thoughts

Using an oil-based paint on latex is often pretty challenging, but it can be done if you prepare the latex surface with care and you use a suitable primer. As both latex and oil paints are glossy, they don’t offer good surfaces for painting on, making them unsuitable for adding further paint to.

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