Can You Paint Enamel Over Latex? Find Out Now

Can You Paint Enamel Over Latex

Mixing paints may seem like a simple enough task, but it is more complicated than you might think. You should aim for the paint to be highly durable and long-lasting and that you can easily repaint it in the future. 

Latex paint is water-based and recommended for painting over large areas. They dry fast within an hour and can get recoated in 3-4 hours. Enamel paint, on the other hand, is solvent-based and has a hard glass-like finishing. 

Combining dissimilar paint types can cause cracking and peeling. But can you paint enamel over latex? And the answer is yes. 

You can apply oil-based enamel paint over latex, but you should prepare the surface first. It must be fully cured and without any traces of moisture. 

Since the paints have different finishing and flexibility, they must be separated with a sealing layer. You must also sand the old paint beforehand. 

How To Paint Enamel Over Latex?

Painting over an old paint layer can be disastrous, especially if you regularly use the surfaces. To stop the paint from cracking, here are a few things you can do.

Step 1: Wait for the Paint to Cure

It must be frustrating to hear, but you cannot overlay paints that still have not cured. The latex paint must be at least 6-24 months old before you can even think about repainting. 

Different factors can affect the curing time of your paint, such as the thickness and the sheen of the paint, the surface it is painted on, along with many others. You cannot paint over an uncured surface as it may still retain moisture and does not allow the next layer to sit properly. 

To check if your surface is ready to be colored again, dig a fingernail in an inconspicuous area. If it leaves an indent, you need to wait a little longer. 

Step 2: Strip off Any Old Paints

Since latex is water-based, you can simply use water to dissolve any old paint. Add water to the surface you want to work on and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, or even more. 

When you see the paint softening, use a brush or any other similar cleaning tool to scrape off the latex. You can also use any household alcohol, which is slightly stronger, but you still need to remove the paint manually. 

Always wear the correct protective gear to keep yourself safe. 

Step 3: Start Sanding

Use coarse-grit sandpaper to remove as much of the latex as possible. Sandpaper can strip off the stretchy and hard layer of the latex. It helps the oil-based paint to adhere better to the wall. 

A coarse-grit sandpaper or sanding work will work just fine to cut through the varnished finishing. Sand until the sheen has completely disappeared, and you are left with a matte surface. Afterward, go back with higher grit sandpaper for further smoothening. 

Wipe away the residual dust with a damp cloth and for the surface to dry.

Step 4: Protect Your Surroundings

As you should with any good painting job, you must tape and mask off everything you have around you. Cover the ground with drop cloths and work on it even if you are painting smaller objects. If you are painting the exterior, you should protect the sidewalks, shrubs, and decks.

If you are not confident with your painting skills, you can also tape off your windows, doors, and floors. Remember to use painter’s tape as you do not want to ruin all your hard work. 

Step 5: Apply a Primer

The primer is a necessary step in prepping your surface. It will work as a sealant sheet and have the right amount of stickiness for the oil-based coat to adhere better. You should choose either acrylic or water-based primer as it is suitable for both paints. Once it has dried, go back, and apply another layer. 

Step 6: Coat with Your Oil-Based Paint

Now, you can put in your enamel paint without worrying about it cracking or peeling off. Do not stretch it too far and let it dry as per the manufacturer’s recommendation before going back again.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Is enamel paint water-based? 

Enamel paint is generally known to be an oil-based paint and has a hard sheen and glass-like finishing to them. They can also be alkyd-resin-based. But recently, water-based paints have been using the term to indicate hard surface paint. 

2. Which is better oil-based paint or water-based paint? 

Oil-based paints are durable and are more affordable. Due to the use of alkyd or linseed oil as their main component, they have a long drying and curing time. On the other hand, water-based paints are easier to remove and have incredible water retention. They also dry and cure faster and are more eco-friendly. 

4. Why is oil-based paint illegal?

Oil-based paints cannot be sold in large quantities. They contain a substantial amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are toxic chemicals that cause disastrous health issues upon exposure. Oil-based paints have been effectively banned in the mid-Atlantic since 2005. 

5. Can I put acrylic paint over latex? 

Yes, definitely! Acrylic paints are made of acrylic resin and are similar to latex paints. They are extremely compatible, and you can use acrylic to add commercial tints or change the house color. You can use an acrylic primer or a waterborne alkyd primer to increase the adherence properties of the surface. 

6. How do you paint over enamel paint? 

If you are converting an oil-based to another form, you must follow the preparatory steps carefully. You must clean, dull, dry, and prime before going any further. The primer can either be latex or oil-based. Select a good quality paint for a premium finishing. 

Conclusion

So, can you paint enamel over latex now? If you follow the right preparatory steps, even if it takes a lot of hard work, then, of course, you can. 

It also ensures that any future repainting job can be done easily without having to scrape it all off and start again. Do not just try overlaying paints because, trust me, you do not want to be making that mistake.