Can You Use Latex Paint Over Oil Based Primer?

Are you planning to redecorate something and look for a method to give your wooden furniture finish? Are you wondering that can you use latex paint over oil-based primer to strengthen the connection between the pigment and your surface? Yes, it is perfectly acceptable.

This wet on wet method gives immediate results.

If you are looking for giving your furniture a color finish, it is important that you, first of all, strengthen the connection between the surface and the pigment.

However, if you use latex topcoat, you should be mindful that it will still adhere to an oil primer board.

In addition, it is also difficult to create the effect of transparency.


What Are Latex And Primer?

‘Latex’ refers to a product of rubber that exists in a different form.

It is a type of paint, also called acrylic or vinyl-styrene water-based formula.

Because of being a rubber-composed product, it makes a resin component on the surface which is suitable for coloring furniture such as tables, walls, cabinets, ceilings, etc.

The differences between latex and oil color are shown in this infographic.

can you use latex paint on top of oil based primer

There are three major forms of latex pigment: 100% acrylic, vinyl-acrylic, alkyd-modified latex.

The 100% acrylic is rated as the top-performing type since it binds well to the surface and preserves good color.

The vinyl-acrylic is cheaper and usually used for interior furniture, particularly on walls.

Finally, the alkyd-modified one does well on the exterior environments.

A primer acts as the foundation of your final color finish.

Paint primer is a preparatory coating step before coloring thanks to its uniform, consistent, smooth texture.

These characteristics guarantee that the finish sticks to the decorated surfaces with strong adhesive properties to keep the topcoat from peeling and flaking.

Primers are divided into three main types depending on their components: oil-based, latex, shellac.

The oil one (also known as alkyl) is the most friendly and work perfectly well with almost all kind of colors as well as on the interior and exterior surfaces.

Although it is not a compulsory step, primer is recommended for exterior surfaces because it will seal the grain and prevent bleed-through problems.

Basically, these two compounds can be used separately.

However, putting paint on top of oil-based primer results in a strong, lasting surface.

This blend can reduce time and discomfort without sacrificing durability.

Why Should You Paint Over Oil Based Primer With Latex?

can you paint over oil based primer with latex

Using petroleum substance on the unfinished side offers you one of the best foundations for better adhesion of the surface to the top watercolor coat.

For example, on wooden areas, alkyl primers avoid tannins from being produced and bleeding of the pigment.

While some brands are able to work with both oil and latex coat layers, often an alkyl-based first performs more efficiently than the water type first.

However, one disadvantage of using latex paint over oil-based primer is that these will cause wood grains to swell.

Therefore, a decision to use it over an oil prime is necessary if you sand it properly to prevent it from causing damage to your craftwork.

How To Put Latex Paint Over Oil Based Foundation?

paint mixing near me

Normally, before applying the base layer, you should check carefully that the furniture surface is bare or does not have a previous finish on it.

How To Check If Your Sides Were Painted With Oil Pigment Before?

One of the most important steps to follow before adding another layer of paint to an already-colored area is determining whether or not it used to be coated with petroleum color before.

  1. Check the surface by touching it. Alkyl-layered sides are smooth and glossy, while watered one is more rubbery and dark.
  2. Dip a cotton swab into the acetone and check the colored surface. Water-based color can slightly melt while alkyl stays unaffected.
  3. If you already know the color is petroleum-pigmented, you need to rug with 100-grit sandpaper until the polish has vanished, then wash and allow it to dry. After it, you are able to add the primer layer.

Take a look at this video for further details:

What You Will Need To Use Latex Paint On Top Of Oil Primer?


  • Brush
  • Fine 180-grit to 220-grit sandpaper
  • Medium 100-grit to 150-grit sandpaper (optional)
  • Putty knife
  • Tack cloth


  • Wood filler
  • TSP (Trisodium phosphate)
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Soft sponge (for TSP)
  • Protective glasses
  • Protective gloves

Steps To Apply Latex Paint Over Oil-Formulated Primer?

can you use latex paint over oil based kilz primer

  • Surface De-gloss:

Slip the surface (if once painted before) manually with sandpaper for better adhesiveness.

The aim is not to remove all the paint, instead pinch the surface so that new primer and paint can be well attached.

Switch to soft scuffle with medium-grain sandpaper when the fine-grained sandpaper does not work properly.

  • Chips erase:

Pry the five-in-one toolkit or putty knife off some loose color from walls.

  • Wood fill in:

Cover the little gaps and holes with wood filler and let it dry entirely. Lightly sand gaps with fine-grained sandpaper after the holes are dry.

  • Dry clean with tack cloth:

Use a tack cloth to scrub the surface gently after the surface is fully dried to catch any grit, dirt, or sandpaper granules.

  • Deep clean the surface:

After using a tack cloth, the best choice is to use TSP to allow thorough cleaning before priming if the area is particularly dusty and greasy.

    • Mix ¼ cup to ½ cup (for extra dusty surfaces) of TSP with a gallon of hot water.
    • Use the TSP solution to wipe surfaces with a waterproof sponge.
    • To minimize blending, wash floors from the bottom up.
    • After cleaning with TSP, sponge the base with fresh rinsing water (there are no-rinse TSP formulas).
    • Allow the surface to be air-dry absolutely.
  • Priming:

When the surface fully dried and cleaned of dirt, it will be finished to avoid water-based paint being peeled.

  • Coloring:

After the foundation layer is finished, you will be able to paint.

Allow the color to dry for two hours or more than apply a second painting of the surface.

Follow the same suggestion if you use a spray latex paint over an oil-based as well.

can you put latex paint on top of oil based primer

Oil-based primers need At least 8 hours to dry.

You should sand gently the first surfaces of smooth wood with 180-grit sandpaper to make the bonding face smoother.

Before applying your pigment, make sure to wash away any sanding dust and allow the area to dry.

In general, two layers of pigment which are spread uniformly on the first layer are appropriate.

It will take from 2 up to 4 hours for each layer to dry.

At room temperature, it will take approximately 16 hours of drying time between the foundation and two layers of latex.

The drying time after cleaning and the time needed for the coloring process itself do not involve this.

However, you can spread the project over several days as long as the work is finished within two weeks of the first applying step.

Commonly Asked Questions About Using Latex Over An Oil Based Primer?

wood paint colors

1. Oil And Latex Primer, Which One Is Suitable For Exterior/Interior?

Exterior primers need to include a range of additives such as stain blockers, mildewcides, UV inhibitors, etc.

However, its primary job is to stick with the paint to give a long-lasting pigmented layer.

It is the only connection between the paint and the underlying surface.

So, first and foremost, the exterior primer should be formulated to stick to the side material, whether it’s bare wood, fiber-cement, vinyl, or else.

Today, more and more people choose a water-based foundation as their standard since it performs better than the oil counterparts.

Quality latex primers contain a high proportion of acrylic in the mixture as a binder.

Most premium exterior primers are made with almost 100% acrylic binders.

For interior details, alkyl primers are better than latex at sealing nail heads, covering knots in the bare wood, and blocking tannin bleeding or other stains.

They are also better for sealing muntins on bare windows or doors.

Alkyl type deeply penetrate wood than latex, which makes them more efficient in the preparation of weathered wood for making over.

2. Can You Paint Over An Oil Based Paint With Latex Paint Or Vice Versa?

can you use latex paint over an oil based primer

The rule is that you can add the quality latex colors to the outside if you have adequately primed the board, but not the reverse.

However, if you have several layers of oil paint, you can still use oil on oil. Any latex surface suppliers would prescribe an alkyl paint first.

3. What Is The Dry Time For Different Types Of Paint?

Latex types will dry in one hour of use and you can apply it at room temperature.

In the four to six hours, the following application of the initial additional coats may be applied.

Poor ventilation, low temperature, unstable humidity may increase drying time.

On the other side, oil type may dry within six to eight hours of being applied at room temperature.

Within sixteen hours of the first coat, you can apply additional layers.

Also, poor ventilation, low temperature, unstable humidity may increase drying time.

4. There Is a Product Called Kilz Restoration Primer Acts Like a Shellac Type Paint, Which Is Different From Other Latex Primers. Can I Paint Latex Paint Over Kilz Based Primer?

kilz primer colors

The Kilz Restoration is a water-based primer that can be top-coated with oil-formulated and latex paint.

Kilz Restoration Primer is the layer underneath that bond with the floor.

If you can scratch off or rub off the latex primer easily with your fingernail, you would strip it off and prime with oil foundation.

If the only concern is bleeding, priming with a first base can avoid bleeding and operate well on the latex below.


We answer the question ‘Can you use latex paint over oil-based primer?’ so far. In summary, we believe that water-based paint is suitable for painting on top of an oil foundation.

Yet you have to ensure that the surface is adequately prepared for the best possible outcomes.

Further Reading:

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