How To Paint Over Stained Wood

When you go around the home carrying out your home improvement, you’ll often come across a sentimental piece of wooden furniture or fixtures that have seen better days.

Most often, these are stained and look worn, yet stain no longer fits your home decor. Painting stained wood can make it even more desirable to remain around the house and offer more years of service.

One of the most cost-effective ways to recycle your once-loved furniture is to paint over stained wood. However, painting over stained wood isn’t as straightforward as it appears, although not difficult.

Painting over stained wood

In our guide, you can learn if you can paint over stain and which paint you should use based on the type of stain? By the end, you’ll be armed with all you need to know about how to prep the surface of the wood and, ultimately, paint over stain no matter what you want to paint. (Learn How To Remove Tape Residue From Wood)

Can You Paint Over Stained Wood Without Polyurethane?

Prep by softly spraying water on a tiny piece of the wood surface to determine the type of wood stain you’re dealing with, be it oil or water-based. The stain is oil-based if the water beads up after a minute, as oil repels water.

Here are some painting over stain preparation steps:

  • Clean the gloss-stained surface with soapy water to remove any dust, dirt, or cobwebs.
  • To eliminate crosshatching in the completed product, lightly sand the surface with 150-grit or finer sandpaper to soften the glossy surface by moving in the grain’s direction.
  • With a sponge, wipe away the dust from the sanding operation.
  • Use a ring dipped in deglosser to wipe the surface clean; you see these known as “liquid sandpaper,” as they can take the sheen from a glossy wood surface quicker than manual sanding. Wear a safety mask, goggles, and gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area when using such chemicals.
  • Ensure the surface dries for over 10 minutes after application of liquid sandpaper.
  • Fill holes, scratches, or other damage using wood filler. To smooth the surface, sand again and wipe using your tack cloth or damp rag.
  • To be certain the paint adheres, apply a quick-dry primer.
  • If you want to paint on the water-based wood stain, use latex primer and paint.
    Since paint sticks well to water-based stains, use a brush or roller for applying water-based latex primer following the above prep steps.
  • Over the primer, apply two coats of latex paint for complete coverage. Before applying a second coat, wait overnight for the first coat to dry.

If you are painting on oil-based stains, you should use a bonding primer, a water-based compound designed to stick to glossy and other challenging-to-paint surfaces like varnish and polyurethane. Get these from the hardware store and follow the process instructions. (Learn How To Clean Unfinished Wood)

  • You can discover it’s possible to use chalk paint and a polyurethane top-coat to deliver a matte appearance. Chalk paint is water-based and adheres to any painted surface almost.
  • Chalk paint creates a matte surface that can be easily distressed to offer a unique shabby look.
  • Test the chalk paint in a hidden place such as the back of a table leg, and let it dry for eight hours overnight.
  • You can paint without priming if the paint adheres well.
  • Should you see streaks, then prime with a stain-blocking primer.
  • The basic procedures are to clean, sand, prime, and paint. Let the first coat dry overnight before applying the second. A polyurethane topcoat protects your paint finish from scratches.
  • Lastly, apply a thin coat of matte polyurethane and sand any rough spots with 220-grit sandpaper once it has dried overnight.
  • Re-coat with a second thin polyurethane topcoat and sand any rough spots if needed the next day.

DIY guide on painting over stained wood

How Do You Paint Over Stained and Varnished Wood?

Here is our DIY guide on painting over stained wood using the right tools and procedures.

What’s needed to paint over wood stain:

  • Sandpaper (150 grit): Sandpaper is an important aspect of the process. It’s used to prepare the surface of the wood before painting it. Sanding is made easy on your hands when you use a sponge or a sandpaper block. Consider purchasing a sheet sander if you want to finish your project more quickly.
  • Primer: A good paint primer seals the wood and prevents the paint from seeping in. Primer also hides flaws and cuts down on the number of coats you’ll need to apply.
  • Paintbrushes: Make sure you have plenty of foam paintbrushes and foam rollers. For both the priming and painting steps, you’ll need new ones.
  • Tack cloth: This type of fabric is produced specifically for woodworking and is extremely inexpensive. To clean excess paint and dust from the wood, you’ll need a set.
  • Protective Finish: The right finish makes all the difference. Choose a reputable brand of polyacrylic that dries quickly and lasts a long time.

Step 1: Prepare the Wood Surface

Can you paint over stain without sanding is often asked, and you get different answers? Some primer manufacturers say it’s possible, yet for the best results, sand your stained wood with 150 grit sandpaper.

When using sandpaper, your goal is to make the surface rough enough for the paint to adhere to, as there is no need to strip the entire stain surface.

Step 2: Wipe Your Wood

Once you finish sanding your wood, wipe it using a tack cloth. This helps remove particles and residue left by your sandpaper.

Using a tack cloth would help since a paper towel won’t remove the sanding dust.

Step 3: Add a Coat of Primer

Use shellac or another oil-based primer if you paint over stained wood. Do this as oil-based primers protect wood surfaces better than water-based primers.

When priming, make sure you use a foam brush and foam roller to achieve the best results. Allow the primer to dry overnight.

Step 4: Wipe Wood with Cloth

Take a new tack cloth and wipe away any remaining wet spots after your primed wood is dry completely. Do not wipe down using a paper towel.

Ready to paint your wood

Step 5: Paint your Wood

After priming, you are ready to paint your wood. Take a clean foam roller and apply three coats of latex or oil-based paint.

Latex paints are preferred for cabinets and doors as they lack the odor than oil-based paints leave.

Painting over stained wood using oil-based paint is better used on high-traffic areas such as exterior decks and porches. It will last longer and offer maximum protection. (Learn How To Fix Peeling Paint)

Ensure you leave six hours of drying time between applying coats of paint. Check wood for thick runs of paint residue, which you may need to remove using your tack cloth before the paint dries.

Step 6: Apply Your Finish

You will have at least six coats of paint by this stage, so you need to protect them. The best solution is to use Polcrylic Protective Finish. You can apply these with a clean cloth, aerosol spray, yet they depend on the brand and the type of paint you have used for a job well done, and long life of your finish.

How To Paint Over Stained Wood

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