Can You Use Latex Paint Over Oil-Based Primer?

  • By: Artistic Bees
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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Many homeowners find it difficult to choose the right kind of paint for their homes and appliances. Especially those who are new homeowners or renovating for the first time. One of the major confusions people struggle with is: can you use latex paint over oil-based primer? If you are also confused about it, this article will come in handy for you.

The short answer is yes, you can use latex paint over oil-based primer. Though it might sound counterintuitive, as we’ve always heard that oil-based paints don’t mix with other paints. This is mostly true. But, you can use latex paints over oil-based primers in the correct conditions. It results in a long-lasting surface. However, you can’t mix oil-based paints with latex primer.

That being said, you can’t just paint one paint over another right away. It’s not as simple as it sounds. You need to follow correct procedures and preparation to achieve the perfect mix and color for your use. So, read through the whole article as I tell you about them in detail.

Reasons For Using Latex Paint Over Oil-Based Primer

Latex paints or oil-based paints can be used individually. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. But if you mix latex paints with oil-based primer, you will get the advantages of both kinds of paints. That is why this combination is so effective.

When you apply latex paint over an oil base, it will ensure great results with a strong, smooth, and long-lasting surface. But it will be possible only with the right preparation. You have to lightly sand the oil primer with sandpaper to smooth the surface so that the paints can meld into each other.

There are so many reasons why you should use latex paint over oil-based primer. Some of them are-

  • If you’re using this combination on a wooden surface, the oil-based primer will prevent the wood from releasing tannins and bleeding through the latex paint surface. This will ensure the longevity of the paint. Also, it won’t lose its color in a long time.
  • When you apply it on an unfinished surface, the oil primer will provide a perfect seal which will allow the latex paint to enclose the area better. Other kinds of paints can’t do a similar job. So, in these kinds of situations, latex paints over oil primers give you a huge advantage.
  • Home appliances like tables, kitchen cabinets, wooden shelves, etc. are generally made of wood. If you only use latex paints on them, they could swell the wood grains. This will ruin the surface significantly. But, if you apply it over oil-based primer, it won’t be able to ruin the surface. Oil primers provide a protective layer on the surface.
  • You can use them in damp places too. They also ensure the quality of the surface remains better for a long time. They can also retain their color and gloss in a damp condition much longer than other paints.
  • You can even use it over badly damaged paints or multiple layered old paints as well. If they are applied carefully, they will be the same as new. Latex paints over oil primers can hide old or damaged paints quite easily. So, you can use them in these scenarios.

Painting Latex Over Oil-Based Primer

You can’t just paint latex over an oil-based primer. You must take proper preparation before starting the paint job. You’ve to remember that this is one painting over another paint. So, don’t waste time overthinking about the base layer being oil-based. You should worry about the glossy appearance of oil-based paints, not about the undercoat’s components.

Another thing to remember is that, no matter how similar in appearance, finish, and texture, it is impossible to achieve the same kind of adhesion if you apply paint over a primed surface. So, the best thing to do is to prepare the surface as well as you can. This will make the task easier. Then you can start your paint job following the instructions given below.

Scuffing The Surface

This process is used for removing all the old paints from the surface. This is important before applying new paint over it. You should use fine-grit sandpaper to scuff a surface. It will do a great job of removing all the old oil-based paint, which will result in better adhesion for the new coat.

You also have to make sure to scuff off the glossiness of the oil-based primer. You can’t achieve a great paint finish if you paint over a glossy surface. Remove any old paint pieces with a putty knife. If there is any kind of hole or gap on the surface, fill it with wood filler or wood putty.

Remove The Debris With Damp Cleaning

It is very important to keep the surface dust and dirt free. The latex paint will not stick properly if any debris or dust remains in the area. So, you’ve to make sure to deep clean the surface. You can use a damp cloth to clean the dirt on the surface if the amount is not that much.

If there’s a big build-up of dust and dirt, you have to clean the surface properly. You can use TSP’s heavy-duty cleaner. It dissolves in hot water effortlessly and would help you clean with ease. It’s not that expensive as well. You should paint only when the surface is dry.

Use A Clean Cloth For Drying

When the surface is fully dry, wipe it down with a clean cotton or tack cloth. Tack cloth is made from cheesecloth which has beeswax built on it. These clothes are inexpensive as well.

The adhesive surface of tack cloth is really good for picking up dirt or debris. But, don’t apply too much pressure when rubbing the cloth. This can cause the beeswax to adhere to the surface.

The Paint Job

Once you’ve cleaned and dried out the surface completely, you can start your paint job. Always use a good quality paintbrush as this will ensure better results.

Don’t load your paintbrush with excessive paint. Always paint with slow, even strokes while you keep up a wet wedge. Wait for 48 hours before you apply your second coat.

Surfaces That Are Painted With Oil Primer Latex Paints

Since 2005, most oil-based paints have become obsolete. So, people now have to use newer paints which are available in the market today. So, if you live in an older house, your house will certainly have things with oil-based paints.

However, it’s not easy to identify if any surface has been coated with oil-based paints. This is because the smell and feel of the paint will disappear with time. So, you might be confused about where to apply a double finish coating. Some of the surfaces that might require a long-lasting finish coating are:

  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Baseboards
  • Door Casings
  • Shelves
  • Window Trims
  • Fireplace mantels

Safety Precautions

Always take safety precautions when dealing with paint. A lot of paints and primers emit toxic fumes when you apply them. Be sure to work outside or work in a well-ventilated space. So, the air can be circulated properly.

Also, don’t forget to wear protective equipment like masks, gloves, and goggles.


As oil-based paints were very popular once, a lot of appliances still contain them. So, from time to time, we might have to double coat them. But, people often get confused with can you use latex paint over oil-based primer?

In this article, I explained it all in full detail. So, now you can use latex paints over oil primers without any hesitation. Thanks for stopping by. I wish you all the best.