Even though it is not recommended, painting over latex paint with oil-based paint is possible with a little bit of prep work first.

Heavy handing and a primer will be needed so the paint sticks and lasts.

Since this project requires a lot of labor and preparation of the surface, having the right tools is crucial for a successful job. Down below is the list of tools that you will need:

  • P80 and P150 grit sandpaper and sanding block
  • Damp and soft cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water or acrylic-based primer
  • Stirring stick
  • Oil-based paint
  • Dust mask

Process of painting

To successfully apply an oil-based paint over latex, follow the steps below:

Painting Over Latex Paint With Oil Based

Step 1: Start with serious sanding

As mentioned above latex is very stretchy and oil paint will not adhere to it if it is applied directly. Remove as much of the latex as possible.

Start with P80 grit sandpaper. This type of sandpaper is good to start with because it is fairly coarse so it is ideal for cutting through the existing finish on latex painted surfaces. Wrap the paper around the sanding block and sand the entire area until you get the surface looking completely mate. Any shiny areas will cause problems later on.

After that, continue with P150 grit sandpaper to achieve a completely smooth surface. When the whole area is completely sanded sweep away all the dust. At the end wipe the area with a damp soft cloth and let it dry completely. If it is not completely dried you will have a problem masking the surface because masking tape will not stick as sufficiently as it needs to and it will peel off and cause problems.

Step 2: Apply primer

Both water-based and acrylic primers work well with latex and oil-based paint to make a great separation and isolation between old and new paint. After applying the first coat let it dry completely before applying a second coat. The second coat will help you cover all of the old latex paint so you will not have problems later.

Step 3: Apply oil-based paint

Start with a thin coat of oil-based paint. When this coat is completely dry, scan the whole situation, and if needed apply more layers to ensure complete coverage and maximum protection of the surface. Remove the masking tape while the paint is still wet to avoid tearing, breaking, or chipping the paint.

Few extra tips when putting oil-based paint over latex

  • Remove unwanted paint splatter with cloth dipped in brush cleaner;
  • Be sure that the area you are working in is well-ventilated to allow the paint to dry correctly;
  • Make sure to use a mask when working to protect yourself from the chemicals that coming from the paint and from the paint particles when dusting;
  • Clean oil paint from brushes with a brush cleaner. If there is latex on them, you can easily clean them with water.
Few extra tips when putting oil based paint over latex brown colour

Can you do this in the opposite manner?

Once you know the process of painting oil-based over latex, let me tell you that you can also do the opposite way, latex over oil-based paint. The process and the tools are almost the same. They are few differences. For sanding, you need only P150 grit sandpaper and you will have to sand until the surface is extremely smooth.

In this case, you have to use a latex conversion primer. This is a specific form of primer that helps you put latex over other paint. After applying the primer let it dry completely before painting. When painting uses 100% acrylic latex paint.

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In the end, we realize that it is not a problem to paint oil-based paint over latex, but there are several steps you need to take to ensure a smooth transition. You will need a good sanded area before applying your oil-based paint, and then also using masking tape to ensure clean-cut edges. Follow this guide and you will get a job done in the right way. Good luck!


If you face with this situation, simply dip a cloth in brush cleaner and remove the splatter. If you don’t have a brush cleaner, you can use dish soap.

A natural-bristle brush is an ideal choice when working with oil-based paint. This type of brush is made with animal hair, and this will help you to apply the paint more evenly as they cling better to this type of brush compared to the other.

There are two types of brushes that work well with latex, nylon, and polyester, but definitely polyester is a better choice. These brushes, polyester, hold their shape and stiffness in any paint and apply paint smoothly and evenly.

The answer is YES. Water-based paint dries quickly so you can use oil-based paint to cover it. But, it doesn’t work in the opposite way because slow-drying oil paint will cause the water-based paint top to crack.

Latex enamel over acrylic latex usually is not a problem, but the shiny surface can cause problems. The higher the gloss, the smoother the surface, and the tougher is for the paint to adhere properly.

FAQ’s Painting Over Latex Paint With Oil Based

igor elenchevski
Author: igor elenchevski - is a prolific writer in many niches including music, home improvement and even psychology and addictions. His success is built around his in-depth research and understanding of a subject before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys).