Can You Paint Over Stain? [6 Steps To Follow]

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Do you want to paint a stained dresser white to match your new bedroom design? Perhaps a coat of flat wall paint would help to brighten the stained wood paneling in your living room. 

Paint over stain would not need much more effort than painting over unfinished wood in either case. Actually, knowing the triceps would possibly save you time.

Painting is a time-consuming yet satisfying DIY (Do It Yourself) project. If the project entails painting over painted wood, the lengthy nature of the process will add to the frustration. 

Painting the painted wood would be well worth the time, effort, and patience if enough time, effort, and patience are put into it.

Though stained wood is appealing, a fresh coat of paint on your cabinets or deck will breathe new life into your home. Is it, however, possible to paint over a stain? 

The best response is determined by a number of factors, including the amount of time you have to devote to the project and your level of expertise.

Can You Paint Over Stain?

The key reason you can’t just paint over a wood stain or dye is that most wood stains are essentially colored or tinted varnishes, and most wood dyes are then covered with varnish or lacquer to cover them until applied to an item. 

The key problem is with the protective varnish coating – varnish, by its very nature, forms a durable, shiny, and waterproof layer to protect the surface under it from all external elements. 

Paint and many other top coat finishes must be able to completely adhere to the surface they are applied to in order to remain in place. 

Since the varnish is present, this does not happen, and the paint actually sits on top. It will flake or chip off quickly if the correct bond is not present, or it will look rough and streaky at best.

So, now that you have this knowledge, you should be able to see why slapping paint over wood stain or dye isn’t the best way to achieve a fine, long-lasting finish.

What are the materials required to paint over wood stain?

You’ll need the following materials to paint over wood stain.

  1. Sandpaper:

The use of sandpaper is crucial to the process. It is used to prepare products such as wood, metal, and other materials prior to painting. 

Sanding is made easier on your hands by using a sponge or a sandpaper brick. Try purchasing a sheet sander if you want to complete the job more quickly.

  1. Tarpaulins:

To keep your work area tidy, you’ll need to purchase at least one tarpaulin.

  1. Primer:

A good paint primer prevents paint from soaking into the wood. Primer often hides flaws and cuts down on the number of coats needed.

  1. Brushes for painting:

Make sure you have  various foam paint brushes and rollers. For both the priming and painting steps, you’ll need new ones.

  1. Cloth for tacks:

This form of fabric is made specifically for woodworking and is incredibly cheap. To remove excess paint and dust from the wood, you’ll need a kit.

  1. Protective Finish with Polycrylic:

A project’s finish will make or break it. Choose a reputable brand that dries quickly and lasts a long time.

How do you prepare the wood before painting over a stain?

Prep by gently sprinkling water on a small patch of the wood surface to assess the type of wood stain you’re dealing with (oil-based or water-based). 

The stain is oil-based if the water beads up after a few moments. Then, for painting over stain, follow these general guidelines:

👉 Remove any dust, dirt, or cobwebs from the stained surface by cleaning it with soapy water.

👉 Then, gently sand the surface with sandpaper to dull the stain, working in the direction of the grain to prevent crosshatching in the finished product. Dust from the sanding process should be wiped away with a sponge.

👉 Wipe down the surface with a rang dipped in deglosser. Heavy solvents in deglosser, also known as liquid sandpaper, strip the finish off wood surfaces quicker than manual sanding. 

👉Wear a protective mask and gloves and operate in a well-ventilated area while using chemical deglossers because they contain toxic chemicals that are hazardous to the lungs and skin. Allow at least 10 minutes for the surface to dry.

👉 Wood filler may be used to fill in any gaps, scratches, or other damage. Sand the surface again to smooth it over, then wipe it down with a damp rag.

👉 Apply primer with a brush to ensure the paint adheres fully to the prepared surface—and to save time on drying. After an hour, you’ll be able to paint.

Painting over oil-based wood stains necessitates special preparation. Oil-based stains may be covered with latex or oil-based paint, but additional surface prep is required. 

Put on your protection goggles and gloves first, and then switch on a fan to circulate the air in your workspace. Then, in one gallon of warm water, dissolve a quarter cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP). 

Dip a soft sponge into the solution, wring it out, and wipe the surface clean, soaking up all dirt and grime. Repeat the process and allow the surface to dry naturally. 

All rough areas should be sanded and cleaned with a damp cloth. Apply a bonding primer, which is a water-based solution that adheres to shiny and other difficult-to-paint surfaces. 

Apply two coats of paint at the end. Using interior paint for indoor designs. Choose an interior or exterior formula that will withstand rot and harsh weather for outdoor projects.

When painting over a stain, what kind of paint do you use?

Since paint adheres well to water-based stains, use a brush or a roller to apply a water-based latex primer after completing the prep steps outlined above. 

To get the best results, have your paint store tint the primer to match your top coat color. Over the primer, apply two coats of latex paint for full coverage. 

Before adding a second coat, wait until the first coat is fully dry, usually overnight. Oil-based stains may be covered with latex or oil-based paint, but you’ll need to do some extra prep work.

What is the best way to paint over a stain?

Whether you’re a brand new home owner or otherwise you need to provide a facelift to a domestic you’ve been dwelling in for years, the subsequent DIY manual on portray over stained wood will assist you select the right equipment to get the task performed proper the primary time.

Step 1: Sand the wood

primer manufacturers and guides say it’s possible, you’ll get the best results if you sand down your stained wood with 150 grit sandpaper. 

When using sandpaper, the aim is to simply roughen up the surface enough for the paint to latch onto. There’s no need to remove the wood’s entire surface.

Step 2: Clean the wood with a tack cloth

Wipe the wood with a tack cloth after it has been sanded. This will assist in the removal of any sandpaper particles and residue. It’s crucial to use tack cloth instead of a paper towel.

Step 3: Apply a primer coat

When painting over painted wood, make sure to use shellac or an oil-based primer. Oil-based primers are more effective at protecting wood surfaces than water-based primers. 

To get the best results, use a foam brush and a foam roller while priming.

Step 4: Using a rag, wipe the wood

Take a fresh tack cloth and clean away any lingering damp spots after your primed wood has fully dried. Do not wipe down the wood with a paper towel, as in Step 2.

Step 5: Apply a coat of paint to your wood

The next move is to paint the wood after it has been primed. Apply at least three coats of latex or oil-based paint with a new foam roller. 

For cabinets and doors, latex paint is favoured because it does not emit an odour when dry. Since oil-based paint lasts longer and provides optimum security, it’s ideal for high-traffic areas like decks and porches. 

Allow six hours for each coat of paint to dry between coats. Before the paint dries fully, check the wood for any clumped residual paint residue that needs to be cleaned with a tack cloth.

Step 6: Put the final touches on your project

You’ll need to add something to cover the wood after you’ve painted it at least six times. 

The safest choice is to use a Polycrylic Protective Finish, which, depending on the brand, can be applied 

with a cloth or an aerosol spray.

What are the paint-over-stain brands?

The following are the various paint-over-stain labels available on the market.

Ready Seal Paint For Wood

Ready Seal 505 Exterior Stain

Ready Seal stain brings out the natural great thing about the wood while preserving the feel and grain. This oil-based, semi-transparent stain and sealer is right for all exterior wood projects.

It’s a one-of-a-kind recipe that penetrates deep into the wood to guard it from mould, mildew, and UV rays.

Brand: Ready Seal
Size: 5 Gallon
Color: Light oak, Burnt Hickory, Dark Walnut, Golden Pine, Mahogany, etc
There is no need for a primer. Once you first apply Ready Seal, it is the darkest. It takes about 14 days for it to realize its true color. don’t use Ready Seal on freshly painted or stained surfaces. Surfaces that are sealed prevent penetration.
Sprayer, roller, or brush could also be wont to apply it to the wood’s surface.
It doesn’t need back brushing and won’t leave any runs, laps, or streaks.
There is no need for a wet-line application since the substance blends itself and may be utilized in any temperature range. Reapplication doesn’t necessitate any sanding or stripping.
Spray applications don’t need any diluting or thinning.
  • An incredible product with excellent coverage.
  • Many color options are available.
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • When sprayed, the color is extremely light and therefore the weight is extremely light. It blows everywhere.

DEFY Deck Paint

DEFY 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

DEFY Deck paint is a semi-transparent, synthetic wood stain designed for thick or difficult-to-penetrate woods like smooth cedar, mahogany, redwood, and other. This low-VOC, water-based formula penetrates deep into wood fibers, offering superior long-term weather protection and color preservation over traditional stains.

You can read our article on can you paint over wet wood.

Brand: DEFY
Size: 1 Gallon
Color: Light Walnut, Natural Pine, Cedar Tone
Finish: Matte
Material: Water Based
Coverage: 150-300 sq. ft
UV rays cause fading, greying, and damage to wood surfaces, so a low VOC deck stain is recommended. It has a beautiful semi-transparent, natural matte finish that allows the wood grain to shine through.
  • The product is designed for use on hardwood
  • Semi Transparent water based finish
  • Long Lasting
  • Simple to keep up with
  • Expensive


Patience and meticulous attention to detail are two main elements in successfully painting over stain. Six-hour breaks are expected between each coat of paint when painting over stained wood for better results. 

Keep an eye out for flaws and paint splatters. Allow at least two days to complete the entire process from beginning to end.

If you’re going to paint over painted wood yourself rather than hiring a contractor, make sure you obey the directions to the letter and have all of the necessary equipment and materials.

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