If you are considering changing the entire look of your furniture, you might be wondering- Can You Paint Over Stained Wood? Here, I will address this question.
Stained wood gives beautiful texture and depth to any décor, whether doors, windows, or flooring. But your taste might change at any time. It might be because of the trend or your mood. Who knows?
The elephant in the room: whether or not we can paint over stained wood. Hitting straight to the target.
1. Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?
The short answer is- Yes. The long answer is that it’s not as simple as grabbing a paintbrush and starting painting. You have to follow a well-defined set of steps in the exact order to ensure a long-lasting painted finish.
When you start working on furniture, you will come across several issues. Some of them are mentioned here.
2.1) Pores of the Wood Grain
When you stain for the first time, the stain goes deep into the wood with the help of pores. It colors the wood from within. That’s why we need excessive strain while coloring for the first time. The reason behind this is that the pores are open when the furniture is freshly constructed, in contrast to the old furniture.
This makes wood stain very important.
2.2) Incapability of Paint
Paint may only sometimes be able to cover up the stain which is present on the wood. When you paint the wood, some amount of it will get absorbed by the pores, which we just talked about, and the rest will unevenly spread on the surface. It will leave a splotchy appearance behind.
People face challenges if they do not read and follow the instructions carefully. You will get a list of challenges on the internet. But if you look at them carefully, you will find that those challenges are nothing other than the process done wrong.
If you are able to follow instructions, you will have no difficulty in carrying out your task.
3. The Process
Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?
Painting over stained wood requires careful preparation. If you miss any of the steps or do it in the wrong order, you are only to be blamed for messed up furniture.
3.1) Gathering all the Required Materials
You will need paint, primer, paint brushes or roller, a paint tray, sandpaper, drop cloths, painter’s tape, and a clean cloth. Paint can be latex or oil-based. It depends on your preference.
Avoiding any of these things will make you pay a deal, and you will get to know when you reach that step. Also, I hope that it is not the last step.
3.2) Working on the Target Area
Now, you will see the use of all the materials you have gathered in the previous step.
Lay down a drop cloth to protect the surrounding area from paint drips or spills. For this purpose, you can also take the help of painter’s tape to mask off any area you want to keep paint-free.
Let’s say you have a cupboard to paint or you want to paint the door. But you are risking damaging the adjacent wall. In cases like these, you want to cover the adjacent areas at any cost.
Moreover, if you use a primer to remove the stain, which is oil paint, by any chance you spill that on the wall, it won’t be removed or over-painted.
3.3) Clean the Surface
Wipe down the entire surface with a damp cloth you gathered. It is important to remove any dust, dirt, or grease from the surface.
If you forget this step, your paint won’t be applied correctly. And even though it is applied, when the dust flies off, there will be an unpainted patch on the surface.
Also, it will be visible to anyone that the surface is not plain. To avoid these uncomfortable situations, please clean the surface.
Read this article from Icytales: How to Remove Paint From Wood: 9 Easy Steps
3.4) Sand the Surface
Sand lightly the stained wood surface with medium-grit sandpaper. Now, you will say that this process will make the surface rough and disturb the plain surface. Yes, you are right. But it has a purpose. It creates a better adhesion for the paint.
Now, sad along the grain of the wood and pay particular attention to glossy or smooth areas.
After doing all these things, wipe the surface to remove the dust with a clean cloth.
3.5) Apply Primer
This step is only reserved for dark or uneven colors. It is basically for painting lighter colors than the existing color.
Imagine painting a surface, and you are able to see the previous color. To avoid this situation, please apply primer. Also, if you are doubtful that the previous color might be visible, it is better to be safer and apply primer rather than regretting it afterward.
Follow the instructions mentioned ahead to apply primer.
3.6) Paint the Wood
Now comes the step you have been waiting for. Painting the wood is the core of the process.
Stir the paint thoroughly to ensure an even consistency. Here, don’t hurry. It happens with newbies. They start painting right away in excitement.
Always remember that you have to start cutting in along the edges. This is the most professional way of painting. Use a brush (of size according to the necessity) to paint tight corners for complete coverage. Don’t try to do that with a roller or spray. Everything might get messed up.
Next comes the easy, smooth, and most desired task- Rolling the surface with paint. You may use a brush, but a roller or spray is preferable. Ensure a well-ventilated space after you paint.
Also, read this article from Icytales: How to Paint a Ceiling: 10 Easy Steps
3.7) Apply Additional Coats
You may need to apply additional coats to achieve full coverage. How many layers? Well, it depends on the desired finish and the opacity of the new paint. Make sure that the previous layer is dehydrated before applying a new coating.
Also, check for any areas that require touch-ups or additional coats.
Many times, you need to have excessive additional coats when your existing shade is very dark. You need to add multiple layers to over-power the existing dark color.
Also, you can add additional coating when you want to emphasize the white paint or make it look vibrant.
3.8) Clean up And Allow to Dry
Clean your brushes or rollers according to the instructions on the paint can. And even though there is no instruction, it is okay to keep your brush clean and dry. The more you take care of your brush, the longer it stays usable.
Now, allow the painted wood to dry completely before using it for any purpose.
If you keep any precious thing or anything else, let’s say not substantial, on the surface, you will not only ruin the paint but also your object. So, leave the furniture or wood to dry for the given amount of time.
4. Choosing The Right Paint
Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?
4.1) Chalk Paint
Chalk paint is the popular choice to paint stained wood. It has somewhat the same process as latex and oil-based paints. Its ability to adhere well to various surfaces makes it popular. It gives a vintage-like finish.
All the steps mentioned in point number 3- Process- must be followed.
It is important to note that step number 3.4- Sanding, needs to be skipped. It is an advantage of the chalk paint. However, if the stained wood has an exceptionally glossy finish, you may lightly sand it with sandpaper. Roughening the surface will make it paint adhesive.
Another peculiar thing about the chalk paint is that you may need to seal the paint. Chalk paint has a porous finish. This calls for sealing it with a wax or water-based polyurethane sealer. This process adds durability and protection.
4.2) Latex Paint
This is the commonly used paint due to its straightforward nature. The process mentioned in point number 3 is completely the same for latex paint.
Latex paint differs from Chalk Paint on these three crucial points
i) Formulation of the Paint
Chalk paint is a type of paint that contains chalk or calcium carbonate as one of its main ingredients. The consistency of the chalk paint is like cream.
On the other hand, latex is a water-based paint with a smooth consistency. Latex uses synthetic polymers as binders. Both are formed from different substances and used for the same purpose.
ii) Finishing off the Paint
This is the crucial factor because of which people choose one over another. Chalk paint provides a vintage-inspired and aged look. On the other hand, latex paint provides a glossy and smooth look when desired. People choose anyone according to their needs. There is no universal best.
iii) Application of the Paint
If you are painting by yourself, which definitely you are, you need to pay attention to this point.
Chalk paint is known for its ease of use. It requires minimal surface preparation. On the other hand, while still user-friendly, Latex paint requires more surface preparations. Surface preparations are mainly sanding and priming. Moreover, latex paint may require longer drying times between coats.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Your personal preferences and desired aesthetics will drive your choice.
4.3) Oil-Based Paint
Oil-based paint is a viable option if you are painting stained wood. Stained wood has a stubborn layer on the surface. Also, the color of the stained wood is quite strong. It helps to overcome this with the help of its thick layer.
Oil-based stain is famous for its moisture resistance. This ability makes it a candidate for exterior applications. It can be used in areas prone to humidity, like Mississippi and San Francisco.
If you are blindly choosing Oil Based Paint, then wait. Look at some of its negative points. Oil-based paint has a powerful odor. So, if you are allergic, stay away from it. Moreover, oil-based paints tend to yellow over time, particularly in areas with limited exposure to natural light.
If you live close to the equator, this is not a good sign for you.
Apart from all this, we have discussed two other paints. Oil-based paint is more durable than others for stained wood. At the same time, water-based or latex paint tends to retain the original color over time.
4.4) Spray Paint
Spray paint color is the most efficient method. One important thing to remember is that spray paint is very expensive. If you buy its counterpart brush, you will get it at half the rate.
Moreover, if you are using spray paint, make sure you use a special mask. Avoiding masks might be lethal for you. Also, you have to choose the right paint.
While applying, hold it approximately 6-8 inches away from the stained wood surface. Also, shake it well before applying. You can use multiple thin coats rather than one heavy coat to achieve consistency.
Once the paint on stained wood is thoroughly dried, you may consider applying a clear protective topcoat. This adds to its durability.
5. Keep Your Attention on These Things
Which Colors Are Better To Remove Wood Stain?
When removing wood stains, the choice of colors depends on the specific goal you want to achieve.
Some people use lighter wood stains to assimilate with their wall color. At the same time, others prefer a dark brown color to give it its authentic texture. Stain color plays a very important role in the painting process. Avoid leaving water stains of darker colors. However, you may create an aesthetic effect out of that.
5.1) Pay Attention to the Number of Layers
The reason behind the special mention of this point is that we often ignore or, in the process of paying attention to the other important things, we forget the importance of layers. You do not remember many times the number of layers you have applied. When the paint dries up, your mistake will be visible.
Applying the paint after it dries up will further add to your problem.
5.2) Drying Time
Now, I won’t be giving a standard drying time because there isn’t any. If anyone gives you or tells you you have to wait for, let’s say, 1 hour or 2 hours, don’t believe them.
Always remember that the drying time of the paint depends on the manufacturer of that particular paint.
Apart from this, if you read carefully, you will see that the drying time also depends on the temperature, humidity, and ventilation. You should not ignore these factors.
5.3) Manufacturer Instructions
Apart from what is said in this article and whatever you read on the internet, always pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions. Please don’t take it for granted. You might think that you know everything after having a good read, but a few things change depending on the manufacturer.
Some brands are American, while some are European; if you read carefully, they will have different sets of instructions. Also, the atmosphere of the entire America will be different. So, could you take every instruction with a pinch of salt?
5.4) Oil-Based Primer
When priming stained wood, an oil-based primer is an excellent choice over a water-based primer. It provides better adhesion and seals the surface before your old wood stains. It prevents the stain from bleeding through the topcoat.
One thing to note is that it requires well-ventilated space. The reason is that it can have strong fumes.
Once the final coat of primer has dried up, you can proceed with applying your chosen topcoat, such as paint or varnish. Also, make sure to follow the instructions.
5.5) Stain Blocking Primer
Stain-blocking primer prevents wood stains from bleeding through the paint layers. It blocks various colors, such as water-based, smoke, tannin, ink, etc.
Stained blocking primer is a perfect solution as we are talking about- Can You Paint Over Stained Wood. Stain-blocking primers are particularly useful when painting over surfaces that have been previously stained or damaged.
6. Tips for Special Wood Projects
Stained wood furniture is used in cabinetry. The reason for its popularity is that it remains fungus-free and rodents-free. Cabinetry is an important part of the house. All the things that are for backup in the home are stored here. This gives a lot of importance to the Cabinetry.
6.2) Outdoor Wood
Stained Wood furniture is also found outdoors. People have chairs, tables, and swings. Stained furniture is used for protection from water. Outdoor wood is the most frequently stained wood. It has harm from insects, climate, and children.
6.3) Interior Wood
Interior wood surfaces are something common to all of us. We have stained surfaces in our house. They add to our home decor. That stained surface can be stained furniture, kitchen cabinets, or cupboards.
7. Painting Techniques for Best Results
Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?
- You should always apply paint with the grain using long, smooth brush strokes. As mentioned before, cutting in edges helps prevent lap marks.
- Don’t take on a considerable task right away. Work in small sections and focus on the work at hand.
- Maintain a wet edge to avoid overlapping lines in the paint.
- When it comes to large floor areas, use paint roller extensions to handle heavy rollers.
- Lightly sand the surface. Light sanding helps not to damage the surface.
- If possible, take the help of a friend or hire a worker for the paint job. Once you start the work, try to finish it as soon as possible because the paint begins to dry up, and its quality degrades if the seal is broken
- Use a good quality synthetic bristle brush or microfiber roller for best results.
By methodically applying the paint, you will get a smooth, even surface. This will transform your stained wood into a beautifully painted masterpiece.
8. My Personal Experience
I have not been a good painter. I was suggested to hire a few workmen and get the work done through them. When I got to the market, I was given the total budget I should have to get the work done with the help of workers. Also, I was given the option to choose high-quality paint or low-quality paint. I could save money on the paint and hire a worker.
I had a clear tradeoff. Buy good quality paint or hire workers, but not both.
Like most households nowadays, I chose to do all the work on my own. Initially, it was a difficult task, like a high hill to climb. I talked to some neighbors to get some ideas about the work. I even asked them and my friends to help me. But no one had that much time to spend.
I took that challenge and started my research. Through the research, I found certain things. This article is an excerpt from that study.
The disclaimer is that this article is not written by a professional painter. It is written by a common person like you who wants to find a way out of a difficult situation. You are advised to take the help of a professional in case you are stuck in a crisis.
This article is a roadmap that successfully provides the guidelines for painting over stained wood.
9. In Closing
Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?
Painting stained wood is not a piece of cake. You need to follow every instruction and do the work mindfully. Taking the help of someone is preferable, but the work can be done by yourself without any difficulty.
With patience and care invested upfront, you can enjoy your newly painted stained wood furniture, cabinet, trim, or floors.
With diligent preparation and application, any stained surface can be given a new life through the simple act of painting. So, after reading this article, search for stained wood, pick a paintbrush, and start working on it.