Can You Paint With Oil-Based Paint Over Latex?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

It depends. Consider the wall’s surface and condition. Generally, it is possible. However, this depends on the quality and condition. To guarantee successful results, prepare the walls. Clean the surface before painting.

Here are some tips for common challenges when painting over latex, plus potential solutions:

  • Clean the wall surface before painting.
  • If you detect flaking or peeling paint, scrape and sand the area to create a smooth surface.
  • If the wall has cracks or holes, fill them with spackling or joint compound.
  • If the wall is glossy, sand it lightly to create a rough surface for the new paint to adhere to.
  • If the wall is stained, clean it with a stain-blocking primer.

What is Latex Paint?

Latex paint is a buzz-worthy choice for the outside and inside of homes and buildings. It’s easy to use and gives a smooth finish with terrific scratch resistance. Moreover, latex paint is more durable than oil-based paint. It is also renowned for its great adhesion and water resistance.

Let’s explore this type of paint and why it is so popular.

Oil Based Paint
Oil based paint

Advantages of Latex Paint

Latex paint is a water-based type. It comprises synthetic resins that give it adhesion, durability and flexibility. Hence, it is perfect for walls, ceilings, trims, siding, decks and fences, inside and out. Although it may cost more than oil-based paint, its quality makes it a worthy investment.

Advantages of Latex Paint:

  • Its clean-up is easy; wash it away with water and detergent.
  • It dries faster than oil-based paint, saving time between coats.
  • The fumes are less when applied, allowing fresher air while you paint.
  • Plus, it contains fewer VOCs than oil-based paint, being friendlier to the environment.

Disadvantages of Latex Paint

Latex paint has some drawbacks. Firstly, it needs soap and water to clean up, which can be laborious when painting in larger areas. Secondly, it is not as tolerant of cold temperatures as oil-based paint. Thus, it must be applied more cautiously in colder climates to avoid cracking. Also, it cannot be applied in thick coats like oil-based paint and must be layered for good adhesion. Finally, it may not stick to some surfaces without a primer or sealer, leading to an uneven result visually.

What is Oil-Based Paint?

Oil-Based Paint Vs Latex
Oil-based paint vs latex

Oil-based paint is beloved. It’s more resilient and doesn’t fade as quickly as latex paint. Plus, it’s easier to clean. It can be used on multiple surfaces, like wood, metal, concrete, and masonry.

Before using it, it is important to understand what it is and how it differs from latex paint.

Advantages of Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is perfect for a variety of projects. It dries slowly, which allows better brush strokes and blending. Plus, it cures to a harder finish and has less shrinkage than latex paint. This means fewer seams and lines in the finished coat. Plus, it provides more protection from moisture. It won’t break down like latex when exposed to water, making it great for high-humidity areas or places with lots of rain or snow.

Oil-based paint is also more durable than latex. The layers hold up better. Plus, the dense pigments provide excellent adhesion qualities. This means fewer coats when applying a fresh coat and long-lasting results despite direct sunshine. It also offers better resistance against fading and damage from UV exposure and weathering conditions like salt air or acid rain.

Disadvantages of Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints provide a harder, more durable finish than latex paint. But there are several drawbacks. Clean-up is hard, as you need mineral spirits or turpentine. Drying takes longer. Fumes are toxic. So, wear a respirator. They can be dangerous and are less efficient than water-based products. Lastly, they produce high VOCs, which can cause health problems if breathed in too much.

Preparing the Surface

Oil-based paints & primers can be used on latex paint. To get good results, the glossy surface needs to be dulled. Use a fine grade (220-320) sandpaper to lightly sand. Hand sanding is enough for small areas. Use an electric sander and fine paper for larger surfaces to make it easier and faster. Wipe off all sanding dust with a damp cloth before painting with an oil-based primer & finish coat.

Painting With Oil-Based Paint Over Latex

Oil-Based Paint Over Latex
Oil-based paint over latex

Yes! But it’s important to prepare the surface properly and use quality products. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Surface Prep: Remove all old latex paint. Clean the surface with a degreasing agent like TSP.
  • Primer: Use oil-based primer when painting over a previously painted surface with latex paint.
  • Top Coat: Let the primer dry, then apply two coats of an alkyd or polyurethane finish product. Alkyds may take longer to dry, but polyurethanes are recommended for their performance. They protect surfaces from moisture and maintain color stability in bright, sunlit areas.


To wrap up, the reply is yes, you can paint oil-based paint on latex. But you need to take some essential steps to guarantee a perfect result:

  • Firstly, ensure the surface is spotless and removes dust or other particles.
  • Secondly, prime the surface with an oil-based primer before you paint.
  • Lastly, apply the paint with a quality brush and roller.

By following these steps, you can be sure your project looks great and lasts for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of surface is best for oil-based painting?

Clean, smooth surfaces are best for oil-based painting. Any debris or dust should be removed with a damp cloth before painting. Additionally, using a primer can help ensure the surface is properly prepared for painting.

Can oil-based paint be used on wood surfaces?

Yes, oil-based paint may be used on wood surfaces. It is important to note that wood surfaces should be properly sanded, primed and sealed before painting with oil-based paint.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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