Can you Use Oil-Based Paint Over Latex Paint? Everything You Need To Know

When you are repainting a room in your home, you have to decide what type of paint to use. There are different types of paint available, such as oil-based and latex-based paints. You may be wondering if you can use oil-based paint on latex-based paint.

The short answer is no – you should not use oil-based paint over latex paint. You can use it as long as you prepare the wall you will be painting. The first step is to wipe down the surface with a clean cloth and mineral spirits. You need to remove all dust and debris from the walls to don’t interfere with your paint job. Doing so can cause the latex paint to chip and peel.

In this article, we will explore why you should not use oil-based paint over latex and what you can do instead, along with some tips. Stay safe and always follow the instructions on your paint cans!

What Happens If You Apply Oil-Based Paint Over Latex?

Cause Problems

Applying oil-based paint on latex will cause problems because oil and latex are incompatible. Latex paint starts to break down when it comes into contact with oil. If you paint over latex, the top layer of the latex will be affected while the bottom will remain untouched. Eventually, this can cause flaking, chipping or peeling of the surface.

It will not be instantly noticeable.

The problems may take time to develop. You may not see any change for a few months, but the damage will continue to spread over time. Eventually, it can cause holes in your wall and even start to affect the trim and windows.


Oil bases are alkaline, while most latex paints are acidic. This means that oil may cause corrosion on the surface of latex paint.

Applied on Furniture

If applied to furniture, oil-based paint on latex can cause it to chip and peel. Oil and water are not good friends, so you need to be careful when using oil-based paints with water-based materials.

Natural Resins

Oil-based paints contain natural resins, while latex is a manufactured product. If you seal latex paint with an oil-based varnish, it will prevent the water from escaping and cause the latex paint to dissolve, making it lose adhesion.

Applied on Ceilings

Finally, if you use oil-based paint on latex walls or ceilings, you need to apply primer so that the surface stays together. If the paint is exposed to moisture, it could grow mould or mildew. You can prevent this by applying a primer first before putting on your latex paint.

How to Use Oil-Based Paint Over Latex paint: Step By Step.

Step 1: Prepare your surface.

Start with the Latex and make sure it’s clean and dry. You can wipe it down or use a low-VOC solvent to remove any dust and debris. If you don’t, this could cause problems in the future when you put on your oil-based paint.

Step 2: Apply Oil Based Primer

Secondly, you need to apply an oil-based primer. This is because latex paint and oil do not mix. Oil and latex cannot be used together for any type of application – whether it’s painting or making furniture.

Oil-based primers are designed to create a strong bond between oil and water-based products. It will make the surface more resistant and durable.

Step 3: Use Oil Based Paint on top of Primer

Your next step is to put on the oil-based paint. You should use a high-quality brush for this job and get rid of any tight spots. Be sure to get rid of all bubbles and let them dry properly before putting on your latex finish coat.

Step 4: Varnish your Wall with Latex

Finally, you can put on the latex finish coat. You should use an oil-based varnish to protect this job from water damage. Let the paint dry completely before putting on your first layer of varnish. After that, let it dry and apply a second coat for maximum protection.

Tips on Putting Oil-based Paint on Latex

  • Use a primer. Oil-based paint should be put on top of an oil-based primer. If you use latex primer, it will not bond to the surface well.
  • You can get rid of bubbles by applying your paint roller in different directions. Some people use a hairdryer to remove them, while others prefer to disappear naturally.
  • You can use oil-based alkyd paint on latex if you put on primer first. Alkyds are a type of paint with resin in them, while latex is one of the most common manufactured products.
  • Use two coats of varnish with your paint for maximum protection. This will prevent bubbles or peeling.

Why do you need to prepare the surface?

Preparing your wall or ceiling is an important part of any painting project, no matter what type of paint you will be using. It gives you more control over how it looks and ensures that you get a quality finished product in less time and with less effort than otherwise required.

This also protects your health because it can interfere with your job if there is too much dust.

What to do if you have Already Applied Oil-based Paint on Latex?

If you have already applied oil-based paint on a latex surface, contact a professional or use an acrylic primer before applying any more coats of oil-based paint. Otherwise, the latest layer will be affected because the earlier one is not dried.

This would cause problems in your final product and may even require a total repainting of that wall or ceiling. Oil-based paints cannot be used over latex without causing problems such as bubbling or peeling.

You need to either scrape it off and start again from scratch using the right types of products or get help from a professional who has experience working with these kinds of materials.

Although oil-based paints create a beautiful finish, they cannot be used as a topcoat over latex paint. To protect your walls against moisture and humidity, you need to use a water-based acrylic primer before applying any type of paint. This will help to provide better color quality and durability overall.

How to Tell If Paint Is Oil-Based?

It’s important to know how to tell if the paint is oil-based before you purchase any product. With the wrong type of paint, your surface’s overall look and feel will be affected by using it incorrectly.

There are a couple of ways in which you can determine whether or not the paint in your home is oil-based or not.

Ask a professional

You can either ask a professional or look at the ingredients present on your paint, located by the manufacturer’s information.

Check for Lacquer

The most common way to determine whether your paint is oil-based or water-based is to check for Lacquer in the top three ingredients of the product you wish to use. You have an oil-based product if Lacquer appears anywhere among the top three ingredients.

Check the Old Cans

You can also check the old cans in your garage if you have leftovers from previous projects. If Lacquer is present in the list of ingredients, it is not latex paint and requires a different type of primer to use with it.

Rubbing Alcohol Test

You can also test the walls or ceilings of your home to see if they are oil-based. Take a piece of cotton ball and dip it in alcohol. Then, rub it gently on the surface of your wall, ceiling or furniture. If the paint comes off and sticks to the cotton ball, you probably have latex or water-based paint. If it doesn’t, then it is oil-based paint.

Acetone Test

Take a cotton ball or cotton swab and dip it in Acetone. Then, rub the surface lightly with it. If the area starts to turn white, your paint is latex based. Also, you will see that all of the Acetone has disappeared after rubbing for some time on an oil-based wall or ceiling. No residue means no oil-based paint.

Can You Use Oil-Based Paint on Latex Primer?

No! You should never use oil-based paint on latex primer. The only time when oil-based paint can be used over latex primer is when you are using water-based paint on top of it.

In some cases, the previous layer has not been dried up completely, due to which the latest one also gets affected. This makes your project a complete waste of time and money. For this reason, it is always advised to use oil-based paint over an acrylic primer instead of latex.

Can You Put Latex Paint on Oil-Based Paint?

No, you should never put latex paint over an oil-based wall or ceiling. If you do so, the paint will peel off within a couple of months, and it will also form bubbles after some time.

If your walls have been painted with oil-based paint, make sure to use acrylic primer on top of it before applying any more coats of paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Oil-based Paint on Water-Based Paint?

No, you should never use oil-based paint over water-based paint. It might peel off within days, if not hours. Make sure to use acrylic-based paint before applying any other coatings of oil-based paint on it.

Will Latex Stick To Oil Based Paint?

No, it won’t stick to oil-based paint. Oil-based paints and primers are designed specifically for use with other oil-based products and show poor performance when used with water-based paints and coatings.

What paint can go on a latex?

Latex paint is a water-based paint that can be applied to other latex products such as lacquer, primer and acrylic.

Can you put oil-based Kilz on latex paint?

Yes, you can use latex paint over Kilz oil-based primer as long as you put an acrylic primer on top.

What should I use to prime a wall with oil-based paint?

You should use an acrylic primer for oil-based paint before using any other coats of latex or water-based paints. This will guarantee the strength and durability of the paint.

What is the best primer to use with oil-based paint?

An acrylic primer is preferred with oil-based paints as it works better than any other primers on the market. It strengthens the overall project and protects the surface from damage due to humidity or any contaminants in general.

Can you put oil-based polyurethane over latex paint?

Yes, you can use oil-based paint over latex paint as long as you put an acrylic primer on top.

What is the best time of day to paint?

Latex paint can be applied any time of the day, but it’s always recommended to apply it in the late evening or at night after sunset so that no dust particles land on your wet paint and also result in better drying.

What is the best time of year to paint?

Latex paint can be applied anytime during the spring or summer when humidity levels drop drastically and air remains dry enough for proper cure. It’s not advisable to apply it in the winter months as humidity levels tend to rise due to weather changes causing dew formation. Latex paint will take forever to dry up if applied during winter.


So, latex paint can be applied over oil-based paint only when you use an acrylic primer before applying any other coat. Oil-based paints are used with other oil-based products and show poor performance when used with water-based paints and coatings.

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