Can You Spray Paint Over a Latex Paint?


Last updated: May 22, 2023

Learn How to Spray Paint over Latex Paint in this Comprehensive DIY Guide.

Can you spray paint over a latex paint

Typically, latex paint is water-based, so you can apply similar water-based paints like acrylic over it to give it a new look.

You can also spray oil-based paint over latex paint. However, you can’t spray paint latex over oil-based paint because water-based paint, of which latex is one, does not adhere to oil-based paint, yet oil-based paint adhere properly to water-based paint.

To eliminate the confusion, we will answer the common question “can you spray paint over a latex paint”, which paints to use, and the crucial factors to consider when undertaking such a project. 

Can You Spray Paint Over A Latex Paint?

Yes, it’s possible to spray paint over latex paint. The general rule is strictly using other water-based paint, such as acrylic paint or shellac. You can even add a new coat of latex paint over the old one. You can even spray oil-based paint over latex, but you should avoid spraying latex over oil-based paint. 

Which Paint Can You Use Over Latex Paint?

These days latex paints are a popular choice for painting ceilings and interior walls, so your apartment interiors probably have latex paint coatings. 

Suppose you want to renovate the interior; which spray paint can you use over the old latex paint? 

Examples include acrylic, shellac, chalkboard, and even new latex paint. Below is an overview of the types of paint you can spray over latex paint. 

Spray painting Acrylic Paint Over Latex 

As we have seen, you can use any water-based paint over latex paint. Acrylic is an excellent example of such paint that adheres well to latex and guarantees a smooth finish. 

Acrylics are durable and easy to use since they’re typically made of water, additives, polymer, and pigments. However, surface cleaning and preparation are crucial if you want to paint successfully without issues. 

Secondly, acrylic is best applied on smaller objects, especially if you want to add details to the project. For example, acrylic paint works best on murals. The only disadvantage of spray painting acrylic on latex is the price factor. 

Acrylic is an expensive paint, and using it on large projects may not be cost-effective unless you don’t mind investing more. Otherwise, it’s more affordable to use new coats of latex paint if covering large projects. 

Spray Painting Enamel Paint Over Latex 

Enamel paint is another water-based spray paint that can be applied over latex paint. It’s ideally an oil-based paint that contains metallic pigments hence the name enamel. 

Enamel paint tends to dry faster and requires sealing to protect the coating from brittles. 

You can use enamel paint over latex paint, but the same rule of surface preparation applies. You should also apply a latex primer before spray painting enamel paint over latex for best results.

Spray Painting Shellac Paint over Latex

Shellac is a mixture of resin and solvents that binds together to create a formula with high-quality adhesion. 

Because of its high binding qualities, shellac can adhere to latex paint without a primer. 

Thanks to its durability, it’s best used on latex-painted walls and furniture. With shellac paint, you can be sure of excellent quality finishes even on existing paint, but retaining its new glossy look requires a high degree of maintenance. 

Spray Painting oil-based Paint Over Latex 

Oil-based paints adhere well to water-based paint like latex, so you can use it on old latex coatings. These paints are naturally made of oil, solvents, and pigments that blend easily onto old latex paint. However, ensure you apply a latex primer adequately before you apply oil-based paint. Also ensure you apply multiple thin coats for optimal results. 

Spray Painting Chalkboard Over Latex 

Chalkboard paint is a dry formula that contains natural ingredients with high adhesive properties. 

You can draw a chalkboard on a latex-painted surface, saturate it with water, and then use a sponge to spread it over the surface. 

It’s a great way to decorate a children’s room and provides excellent finishes though it’s less durable than other options in this list. 

This type of paint is ideal for projects where you want to give your old latex paint a different color, although it requires adequate surface preparation. 

Again for optimal results, always prime the surface before you apply chalkboard paint over latex paint. 

Spray Painting Latex Paint over Latex 

Sometimes it’s much easier to recoat your latex-painted walls with new latex paint. 

This water-based paint is formulated with rubber, polymer resin, and vinyl to provide a pleasant sheen that can be achieved with a single coat. 

If you’re looking to repaint your ceiling or walls, latex paint is an excellent option, as it offers more coverage and is affordable. 

If applying latex over a dark coat of paint, it’s best to apply a primer to conceal the underlying coat allowing you to use minimal paint.

Note that priming only applies to dark colors; otherwise, you don’t need to prime the surface if you want to apply latex paint over existing latex paint. 

Spray Painting over latex

Spray paints contain acrylic polymers and solvents that support adhesion on multiple surfaces, including previously painted latex paint. You can apply any spray paint over latex paint, whether water or oil-based. 

However, it’s advisable to check the instructions on the product to ascertain which surfaces it can best adhere to before application. 

Spray paints are an excellent option for art pieces though you can use them on any surface, including walls and furniture.

What to Know Before Painting Over Latex Paint 

Spray painting over latex is a fun way to improve the quality and aesthetics of your home, but if not done right, it can backfire disastrously. 

To ensure you do everything perfectly, here are a few things to remember before starting your project. 

  • Clean the surface beforehand: Before using any spray paint over latex, ensure the surface is clear of debris and dirt. A degreaser is an excellent choice for removing unnoticeable grime. After degreasing, rinse with water, allow to dry, and get down to the actual paint job.

  • Sand the surface: This step is often overlooked though in most cases, it’s crucial. Sanding helps clear the surface of impurities and roughness that may result in substandard finishes. Before applying paint, please take a few minutes to sand the surface to a smooth base.

  • Prime: It’s advisable to prime the existing latex coat, especially if it’s a darker color. Not only will you improve surface adhesion, but you’ll cover the dark color completely, allowing you to use less paint which is cost-effective. 

  • Invest in your project. Cheap, as you know, is expensive. It pays to work with premium quality materials and products rather than opting for cheaper ones which will frustrate you in the long run.

How to Spray Paint Over a Latex-Painted Surface?

Now that you know the correct paint to use on old latex, let’s go over the application procedures. We’ll start with the necessary materials you’ll need. They include:

  • Rags
  • Sanding paper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Primer
  • Spray paint of your choice (acrylic, shellac, enamel, or latex)

Step 1: Surface and Workplace Preparation 

Spray painting over latex paint generally involves repainting walls or ceilings. A little surface preparation will simplify your work and provide the best results. 

Start by removing items from the room and cleaning the areas you want to paint. Spreading drop cloths across the room also helps trap stray paint droplets and protect the floor from spills. 

It’s also advisable to cover switches and sockets with masking tape to protect against spills. Also, use painter’s tape to protect windows and similar places you don’t want to paint. 

Step 2: Preparing the Surface

This step involves sanding to remove all the peeling paint. Rubbing with fine-grit sandpaper and wiping with a damp cloth will work wonders here. 

In case of other contaminants, wash the surface with water and mild detergent, then apply a primer to create a barrier between the new paint and the old loose one. A primer also helps give your finished surface a professional, vibrant look. 

Some of the best primers to use include acrylic and oil-based primers. After application, allow the primer to dry, then sand it lightly before applying new paint. 

Step 3: Prepare the paint

Start by shaking the aerosol can. Please don’t skip this step, as it’s imperative. Shaking the can helps mix all the pigments and solvents to create the ideal blend that will be distributed evenly across the entire surface. 

It will also help you maintain perfect consistency while reducing the number of coats you must apply. Ensure the paint is thin enough and suitable for an airless paint sprayer

Step 4: Apply the paint over the latex

It’s time to spray the paint over the latex. Follow the professional spray painting rules, which include maintaining proper distance from the wall/ceiling/furniture and holding the gun properly for even strokes. 

Also, you should maintain a uniform consistency throughout the entire surface, not creating paint streaks or bubbles. Finally, use thin layers for optimal results. 

Step 5: Wrap up

Before you add the second layer of paint, ensure the first is completely dry to prevent bubbly, uneven outcomes. Once the second coat of paint is fully dry, remove the masking tapes, drip cloths, and newspapers used to protect your surfaces.

Can You Spray Paint Over Peeling Latex Paint?

It’s normal for latex paint to start peeling off surfaces after some time. The problem can be caused by a few factors like lack of adequate surface preparation during painting, wrong painting techniques, and using paint incompatible with the substrate. 

Regardless of the cause, peeling paint can be an eyesore, and you’d want to know if you spray new paint over it. 

Sure, it’s possible to paint directly over the peeling coat if it’s not too badly peeled. Otherwise, sanding is highly recommended before any new layer of paint can be added. 

Water- and oil-based paint works great on peeling latex paint, provided the surface is thoroughly prepared. The only thing to always remember is to use good spray paint that will not cause problems upon contact with the old latex paint. 

For example, avoid using water-based paints over oil-based paint, which will only cause more peeling issues. 

Can You Spray Lacquer Over Latex Paint? 

If you want to add a new layer of protection over your old latex paint, lacquer is an excellent choice. 

Unlike oil-based paint, lacquer paint is made with high-quality adhesives that ensure maximum binding of old and new paint. However, this option is best if the paint is flat and contains no sheen. 

Since lacquer solvents tend to evaporate faster, they may damage the old coat. So, it’s advisable to avoid over-spraying too much lacquer paint over latex as there’s a high chance it can develop blisters and wrinkles.

FAQs: Spray Painting over Latex paints

What paint will stick to latex paint?

Any paint type, be it acrylic, shellac, enamel, or even latex, will stick perfectly on existing latex paint. Oil-based paints and different spray paints also have excellent bonding properties that help ensure they adhere to the existing coat. However, sometimes it’s best to use a primer to improve adhesion and texture.

How soon can you spray paint over an old coating?

Latex paint dries to the touch in around one hour, and recoating is best done within four hours. However, it’s best to refer to the label on your spray paint can, which specifies how soon you can spray paint over latex paint. The same instructions will also show you how long that particular paint will dry over latex, so always spare a few minutes to review the product description.

Can you spray paint latex?

Yes. Today’s latex paints have undergone significant improvement in terms of quality and texture. They’re primarily made of synthetic resins with a thinner consistency and are compatible with modern sprayers, including spray guns. You can spray latex in an aerosol can or airless gun; if your paint is too thick, you can thin it for spraying. 

Can you spray paint over latex paint without sanding?

In some cases sanding may be entirely up to you and optional. Other times, you must sand the surface and prime it before spray painting can be done. For example, if the surface is smooth with no elements of impurities, you don’t need sanding. But it’s best to sand the old paint before spraying a new coat in case of peeling, bumps, and other forms of uneven texture. 

What happens when you put oil-based paint over latex?

You can put oil-based paint over latex, but it can cause problems over time. Latex contains flexible solvents, which can develop cracks and peeling if incorporated into old paint with brittle characteristics. The best way to avoid long-term surface impurities is to thoroughly sand and prime the substrate before applying a new oil-based paint coat. 

Content Summary – Spray Painting Over Latex Paint 

Spray painting is a great way to transform your place and give it an attractive look. But if you already have existing latex paint on your walls, can you spray lacquer over latex paint? 

Yes, you can spray paint any paint over latex paint, and you don’t need to start from scratch. 

By using the right paint and following this proven tutorial, you’re sure to get the best results. 

This blog is dedicated to answering all your questions on spray painting over latex paint. We hope you find it resourceful. 

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