Yes, you can paint over chalk paint. I wanted to create a quick guide on how to paint over it though. I have some old furniture I painted over and there were definitely some things I needed to figure out. Now I want to share it with you so you don’t make the same mistakes most people make.
Chalk paint has been very trendy for several years now. You might want to paint over an old piece of chalk-painted furniture if you’re just bored with how it looks, you’re changing the color scheme in your home, or you know you can do a better job of painting now. Or maybe you found a piece of chalk-painted furniture at a yard sale or thrift store, and you love the furniture but aren’t crazy about the paint job. No matter the reason, you can change it into something you’ll love!
If you only want the how-to, you can skip to the bottom of this article for that. If you have some other questions make sure to read the whole post.
First, Can you paint over chalk paint?
Yes, you absolutely can paint over chalk paint! However, it takes a little bit of work to do it effectively so that your new paint job will look great for a long time.
Painting over chalk paint really isn’t much different than painting over any other type of paint. You’ll need to do some cleaning and sanding before applying any paint or primer, of course. If you want to try to paint over a piece that has been sealed with a wax sealant, you’ll have to do a little extra work (more details on that are below).
What kind of Paint Goes Over Chalk Paint? Let’s Explore all the Options
If you want to completely transform your chalk-painted furniture, you aren’t limited to working with chalk paint again. It all comes down to prepping your furniture to get the best results. Making the effort to do a thorough job on the prep work ensures that you can use a wide variety of paints and finishes with success.
If you are painting over chalk paint that doesn’t have any sealant coat on it, you can get away without using a primer. The matte finish of the chalk paint will act as a great primer on its own. If the chalk paint has a sealant over it, you’ll need to do a little bit of sanding and possibly priming before applying the new paint.
Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint With Regular Paint?
Yes, but the type of paint matters. The most common paints used to paint anything in the home are latex and hybrid alkyd paints. You can use either of these paints to cover chalk paint, but be aware that they have a thinner consistency than chalk paint so you might need to paint several coats.
If you’re painting over a dark color of chalk paint with latex or hybrid alkyd paints, you will have the best results if you apply a primer coat over the chalk paint.
Can you Paint Over Chalk Paint With Gloss Paint?
Yes, you can use a glossy paint over your chalk paint. However, you need to make sure that any sealant coat on the old chalk paint has been sanded off. This is especially true if the chalk paint was sealed with a wax coat. Gloss finish paint won’t stick well to wax or a shiny polycrylic sealant.
Can You Spray Paint Over Chalk Paint?
Spray paint is a great option to paint over chalk paint. It’s inexpensive, and there are so many fun colors to choose from!
One thing to keep in mind if you plan to spray paint over chalk paint is to make sure you’ve thoroughly sanded (and cleaned) the furniture. Spray paint will show any rough spots or imperfections more than other paints will. It will also look best if you apply a primer coat first.
Be sure to spray the paint in light coats, using long, even motions. Don’t hold the sprayer too close to your furniture to avoid drips.
Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint With Satin Paint?
Paint with a satin finish is a nice choice to cover chalk paint. The satin finish has very little sheen, so it’s not a big deviation from the appearance of chalk paint. Satin finish paint does have enough shine to help it resist stains and scuffing better than chalk paint does.
Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint Without Sanding?
Technically you can paint over chalk paint without sanding, but the real question here is should you be doing that?
Unless you are painting over chalk paint that has absolutely no sealant coat on it, you really need to do some sanding before you paint. Paint just isn’t going to stick well to any type of protective coat. If you try to paint over it without sanding, it might look like the paint went on okay, but it’s going to chip or even bubble up in a short amount of time.
If you’re trying to paint over a polycrylic or polyurethane sealant, you don’t necessarily have to sand away every bit of it. Just sand it enough to get it scuffed up; this should be enough for your primer and/or paint to adhere well.
If you’re trying to paint over chalk paint that has been sealed with was, it’s going to take more prep work than a light sanding to get it ready for the new paint.
What If You Used Chalk Paint Wax? Can You Still Paint Over It?
If your chalk-painted furniture was sealed with wax, you can still paint over it. However, it’s going to take a little bit of work and a few extra steps to get it ready for painting.
Paint won’t adhere to wax. Not just chalk paint; this is true no matter what kind of paint you plan to use. So you will need to remove all of the wax finish before you can apply primer or paint. The best way to do this is to scrub the wax finish away with an abrasive kitchen sponge (like a Scotch-Brite brand kitchen scrubber) and some mineral spirits. The mineral spirits should break down the wax so it will start flaking off. This is going to take some “elbow grease”, and you’ve got to take the time to get all of the wax removed. Be sure to pay extra attention to corners and any carved areas.
Once you’ve scrubbed away all the wax, wipe your furniture piece with a damp cloth. There’s one more step to getting it clean enough to paint: you should clean it really well with a trisodium phosphate (TSP) degreaser. Even after you’ve scrubbed away the wax, there will probably be a bit of residue left on the wood. TSP will remove any leftover residue from the wax sealant, as well as any dirt that has accumulated over time.
Supplies You Need To Paint Over Chalk Paint
Before getting into the details of how to do this painting project, you should gather all the necessary materials. Here is a basic list of what you will need:
- Painter’s Tape, Drop Cloths, and Rags: These are just the basic items you’ll need to help keep your work area clean. A bucket filled with soapy water is also a good idea to have on hand to clean up any drips or spills.
- Sandpaper, Scrubbers, Mineral Spirits, TSP Degreaser: These are the supplies you’ll need to prep the surface before you can prime or paint. If you don’t have to remove a wax sealant, you can get away with just using sandpaper.
- Paint Brushes and Paint Rollers: Rollers are great for applying paint to broad, flat surfaces. Brushes will do a better job on surfaces with any carving or textures. I recommend getting a medium-width brush and a small brush. The small brush will make it easier to paint corners and detailed areas cleanly and quickly. You can learn more about brushes for chalk paint or other types of brushes in other posts I’ve written.
- Primer, Paint, and Sealant: Once you have your furniture prepped, have your primer and paint ready to go! Be sure to thoroughly stir your paint before you start applying it.
How to Paint Over Chalk Paint
Other than some extra effort to remove old finishes, the process of painting over chalk paint isn’t much different from any other furniture painting project. Spread out your drop cloth, gather your supplies, and get ready for some DIY fun!
The first thing you should do is thoroughly clean the furniture, and remove any hardware. If you don’t want to bother removing the hardware, you can try to cover it with painter’s tape to protect it. You could use the TSP Degreaser at this point if dirt and grime have built up over time. Why should you clean if you’re going to sand the surface? The answer to that is simple. First, cleaning away any heavy dirt will make the sanding process easier. Also, paint will apply more smoothly on a perfectly clean surface.
Once you’ve done the initial cleaning, it’s time for sanding and priming. If the furniture has a shiny sealant, such as polycrylic or polyurethane, you’ll need to sand it all over. You don’t need to remove every bit of this sealant, but you want to scuff it up pretty well so the paint will “grab” onto it. Medium-grit sandpaper works best for this.
If the furniture has a chalk paint wax sealant, this is the point where you’ll have to work on removing that wax coat. As mentioned above, it’s a bit of extra work, but it’s necessary.
Once the sanding and/or wax removal is done, you need to clean everything again. Just wipe the piece of furniture down with some soapy water, then dry it thoroughly. The goal is to wash away all of the sanding dust and debris.
Let’s “talk” for a moment about the next step: applying primer. If you’ve read other articles on this website, you know that I’m a fan of using primer even if the paint says it is “paint and primer in one”. I know that many brands of chalk paint say that don’t need to use a primer with them. This works for most brands, but you just end up applying more coats of paint than you normally would. The exception to my “rule” of always using a primer is if for some reason you will be painting over chalk paint that doesn’t have any sealant on it. In this case, the existing unsealed chalk paint will work great as a primer coat; just be sure it’s nice and clean.
Once your primer coat is completely dry, it’s time to start painting! No matter what type of paint you use, several thin coats of paint are the way to get a great result, and it will reduce the amount of drips and streaks that might occur. Be sure to let the paint dry completely between each coat. For broad surfaces, try to roll or brush the paint in the same direction as the wood grain (if you can see it). If you’ve applied several coats of paint and are happy with the appearance, now you need to decide if you’re going to use a sealant top coat.
If you used latex or hybrid alkyd paint, you probably won’t need to apply a sealant coat if you don’t want to. It can’t hurt, but it’s not as crucial as it is to seal chalk paint. If you’ve painted with a new color of chalk paint or milk paint, you should apply a protective sealant once the paint is completely dry. Polycrylic sealants are great for glossy or satin finishes, and they apply as easily as brushing on paint. Wax sealants are lovely for chalk paint, but they are a bit more labor-intensive to apply.
Once you’re finished, you’ll need to clean your paintbrushes as soon as possible. If you used chalk paint, milk paint, or latex paint you can clean your brushes with soap and water. For hybrid alkyd paint and polycrylic or polyurethane sealant, you should use mineral spirits to get your brushes clean. If you used a wax brush to apply a wax sealant, it should be cleaned by rinsing under hot water, then massage some dishwashing detergent into the bristles to clean off the wax residue. If it still doesn’t seem clean, use a small number of mineral spirits.
Finally, I want to remind you to take some before and after pics of your project! It’s fun to compare them and see what an amazing transformation can be achieved with a new paint job!
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