How to Paint Over Oil Based Paint With Latex Paint

If you have oil-based paint on your walls but want to give them a makeover with latex paint, prepare the walls properly. Failure to do so can result in the latex paint not adhering properly. It's not as simple as just slapping on a coat of latex paint and calling it a day. Latex paint will chip right off if it's applied directly on top of the oil-based paint. Take the proper steps before applying the paint and the finished product will be well worth your time.

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Mix 2 tbsp. of trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleanser and 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket. Fill another bucket with plain water.

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Dip a sponge into the bucket of cleaning solution. Scrub the walls, starting at the top and working your way down, with the sponge. Work in sections of no more than about 4 square feet at a time so the cleaning solution doesn't dry onto the walls. Rinse each section with a clean sponge and plain water. Let the walls dry completely before proceeding.

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Sand the entire area with a 220-grit sanding sponge. This will dull the oil-based paint and provide a better surface for the primer to adhere to. After sanding, remove the sanding dust with a soft brush hose attachment from your vacuum cleaner. Wipe down the walls with a microfiber tack rag to remove any remaining residue.

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Fill a paint tray with a shellac-based primer. Use a roller to spread a thin, even coat of the primer over the oil-based paint. Apply the primer to corners and trim areas with a small paint brush.

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Let the primer dry completely according to the manufacturer's instructions. Sand the entire area to be painted once again with a 220-grit sanding sponge to roughen up the surface, to help the paint stick. Wash down the walls again with a fresh mixture of the trisodium phosphate solution. Rinse the walls with clean water and let them dry completely before applying the latex paint.


Kimbry Parker

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.