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What kind of paint do I have to use to paint over oil based paint?

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Posted 2013-12-18T20:41:05+0000  by brouse brouse

Hi brouse,


Thank you for your question and welcome to our community. 


Once you have prepared your surface, you can use a water based paint or you can an oil based paint.  A latex paint does not do well when painted over an oil base paint unless you have used a primer first.



Things You'll Need:

Drop cloths



Paint roller

Latex paint

Paint stick

Paint tray

Dust mask

Sand paper


Spackle tool


Whatever surface you are painting over, prepping the surface is going to be one of your first and most important tasks.  Cleaning the surface to be painted will be your first task.  This can be done with a detergent.  I prefer to use a TSP solution.  This also cuts through almost any surface debris, especially if it is in or near your kitchen.  This should remove the majority of the gloss from the oil paint.


TSP by Klean-Strip.jpgTSP.jpg


Be sure to rinse down your walls with clean water at one time after you have finished your cleaning.  I like to use the 12 inch wide roller mop for this job.  After this task has been accomplished, make any repairs needed.  Sand, then spackle any needed areas such as holes and cracks, making sure the gloss has been removed from the whole wall.  Once the spackle has dried, you will want to sand the spackle flat. For larger areas, the drywall sanding pole comes in very handy


Roller mop 12 in by Libman.jpg Dry wall sanding pole.jpg



Keep in mind that any oil base paint that has been applied prior to 1978, most likely contains some amount of lead.  Be sure to take the proper precautions when removing this type of paint. 


Dust Mask 3M Tekk N95 Particulate.jpgDust mask w-valve.jpg


Once this has been accomplished, your next step will be to apply a primer coat.  Use a paint brush to apply a thick coat of primers, starting with the corners and the edges around the doorways and the window sills. 


For the whole wall, use a roller to apply the rest of the paint.  Let the primer dry completely before adding a second coat if needed, or before you start your finish coat. 


Roller Paint pan-metal.jpgPaint roller pan-orange.jpgPaint pan - roller and brush combo.jpg


Repeat this process for your finish coat. If you have done your surface preparation correctly, your paint should adhere easily over the old oil base paint.  


Please let us know if you have any further questions.


Be sure to take a video of your project and share it with he rest of the community in our Project  Library under "I Did This".


Posted 2013-12-18T23:02:34+0000  by Rick_HD_OC


Over the past few decades as latex paints became more prominent, it was taken as a given that they should not be put directly over slick oil, lacquer or varnished finishes. To do so risked having the new coat of latex peel right off the surface by merely scraping with a finger nail. Now this thinking has been made somewhat obsolete by the arrival of modern acrylic based primers and acrylic paints.


Behr Premium Plus Ultra is a 100 % acrylic based paint which will bond directly to these surfaces without a separate primer.  To quote the Behr label, "Use Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint as a primer for properly prepared uncoated or painted intrior surfaces..."


This being paint heresy to an ol' paint contractor who was raised on oil paints, I decided to make test samples of Behr Ultra  over sample boards with gloss oil paint and gloss urethane varnish on them.  After 24 hours of dry time, the Ultra was incredibly well bonded to these slick surfaces. So much so, that customers are now invited to try to scratch it off the samples with their fingernails.


Acrylic based primers can now be used where it was formerly thought that an oil primer was neccessary for adhesion.  Behr's No.75  primer,  Glldden's Gripper and Zinsser's 1-2-3 are all such primers capable of bonding to slick oil surfaces.




Posted 2013-12-19T06:01:01+0000  by ordjen

Hello brouse!


Old school sayings are commonly repeated because they refer to processes that have been proven over time.


I absolutely love the new paint and primer water-based products, but they have limits ... and one is application over oil-based paints.


I recently worked with a contractor who had used a water-based paint and primer over factory finished doors (oil-based paint).


He was able to paint a "film" over the surface, but when contacted aggressively the water-based paint came off in a large sheet.


Essentially, the water-based product was not able to cling to the existing oil-based finish.


Most of my recommendations come from real world experience ... like this example.


I also like to recommend processes that improve my customers' chance for success the first time.


With that preface, I am going to recommend you either:

1) Use an oil-based primer followed by water-based paint; or

2) Use an oil-based paint after lightly buff sanding with 220-grit sandpaper.


Either of these approaches will ensure you don't have marginal results or secondary repairs.


They are tried and true ... tested over time and proven to produce outstanding results.


Under your circumstances, you simply need an oil-on-oil transition to produce high-quality, lasting results.

Posted 2013-12-19T13:32:36+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL




When it comes to the "primer" that comes on new metal doors, I would agree that I am still sceptical about the paint and primer in one paints.  A true primer would not hold up to prolonged exposure to weather. Procrastinator that I am, the metal door on my garden shed is still unpainted after 8 years and still looks fine. The point is, as a "primer",  it is extremely hard and slick.


This is one exception to my advice in the above post. Here I do recommend either an oil primer after a scuff sanding. If a water based product is desired, Glidden's Gripper is my first choice for its adhesion qualities.


One thing one has to keep in mind with the acrylic primers is their cure time during which the adhesion increases. If you scratch them a few hours after painting, they will scratch off. If, however, you wait til the next day, the paint  holds extremely tight. This was so on the  pictured samples in the above post. Now it is impossible to scrape the paint free, even at the taped edge where the paint meets the old varnish or oil paint.


Those samples pictured are on my  HD paint desk at all times and are shown almost everyday. Customers are invited to try to scratch them off. They also highlight how well Ultra UPW covers and how well it levels.


For paneling and fine cabinetry,  my absolute favorite was spraying BIN shellac. Many a dark paneled family room was sprayed with two coats of BIN followed by a coat of oil enamel. All done within one day and resulting in a "factory" finish that did not hide the grain and was tenaciously adhered.


Kitchen cabinets also turned out beautifully. The doors would be brought back to the shop and the bases were obviously done on site. One advantage of BIN is its reluctance to "fisheye" like oil or lacquer primers. Its fast drying is an advantage over oil products. Doors could be flipped after only 30 minutes, allowing for spraying them in a flat position.


One of the best quick reference quides for proper primer choice is from Zinsser. Zinsser is an old line company extremely well respected for its products. Here is the chart:


AS can be seen, BIN, 1-2-3 and CoverStain are all rated as excellent for paneling. BIN alone gets the excellent rating for cabinets.



Posted 2013-12-19T17:38:55+0000  by ordjen
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