Can you paint over stain?

Without spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on new furniture, painting damaged furniture is an inexpensive method to change the appearance of a space. The dining room table, kitchen cabinets, and antique china cabinet are all in need of a fresh coat of paint.

Of course, you are free to paint over stains using the method that best matches the stain type on the surface and the intended paint. But bear in mind that thorough preparation is necessary; if these processes are skipped, the tannins from the stain may unattractively bleed into the new paint. Keep reading for more information on how to paint over the wood stain successfully.


Prepare the wood before painting over an existing stain.

Before preparing the wood, softly mist a tiny area of it with water to ascertain whether you’re using an oil-based or water-based wood stain. After approximately a minute, if water doesn’t bead, the stain is oil-based (oil repels water). Then, carry out the standard pre-painting preparations listed below:

  • Wash the stained surface with soapy water to eliminate dirt, filth, and cobwebs.
  • Use 150-grit or finer sandpaper to gently sand the surface in the grain direction to soften the stain. Using a sponge, clear the sanding process of any dust.
  • Afterward, use a towel dipped in the deglosser to clean the surface. Strong solvents in deglosser, sometimes called “liquid sandpaper,” quickly remove the shine from wood surfaces compared to manual sanding. Wear a face mask and gloves, and operate in a well-ventilated area at all times since chemical deglossers contain volatile substances damaging to the skin and lungs. Give the surface at least 10 minutes to dry.
  • Use wood filler to fix any holes, dings, or other damage. Sand the surface once more to make it smooth, and then use a moist towel to clean it.
  • Brush on a primer that dries rapidly to ensure that the paint adheres entirely to the surface preparation and to shorten the drying time. After an hour, you’ll be prepared to start painting.


Paint and latex primer should be used to cover a water-based wood stain.

After finishing the previous preparation stages, apply a water-based latex primer over the water-based stain with a brush or roller. For optimal results, let the paint retailer tint the primer to match the color of the topcoat.

To completely cover the primer, apply two coats of latex paint. Always wait until the first coat is not entirely dry, which is often overnight, before applying the second coat.

Oil-based wood stains must be painted over with special care.

Oil-based coatings can be painted over with latex or oil-based paint. However, extra surface preparation is required. Start by donning safety goggles and gloves and turning on a fan to move the air about the work area. Afterward, dissolve 1/4 cup trisodium phosphate in 1 gallon of warm water (TSP).

Use a soft sponge to soak up the solution, wring it out, and then scrape any dirt and grime off the surface. Repeat, and then allow the area to air dry—sand all rough areas after wiping them off with a damp towel.

Follow the instructions on the packaging to apply a bonding primer, a water-based solution made to adhere to glossy and other challenging surfaces (such as varnish and polyurethane).

Finish by painting with two coats. Use interior paint for interior tasks. Use an “interior/exterior” combination for outdoor applications that are resilient to rot and inclement weather.

Use chalk paint and a polyurethane varnish to get a matte appearance.

Water-based chalk paint may be used to decorate practically any surface. It creates a matte surface that may be readily damaged to obtain a “shabby chic” aesthetic, making it ideal for repairing antiques. First, dab some chalk paint in a discreet location and give it eight hours to dry.

Tips-Advice-DIYs-Tutorials-chalk paint on stained furniture

If the paint adheres without bleed-through, no priming is necessary. Use a primer/sealer, such as Valspar’s primer/sealer, to prepare the surface if streaks form.

After cleaning, sanding, priming, and painting repeat the process. Before adding a second layer of chalk paint:

  1. Let the first coat dry overnight.
  2. Utilize a polyurethane finish to protect your paintwork since chalky surfaces are more vulnerable to scratches.
  3. Apply a thin layer of matte polyurethane, such as Rustoleum’s Ultimate Polyurethane, to the painted surface after seven days have passed (available on Amazon).
  4. After letting it sit for the night, use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges carefully. If required, repeat this process the next day by sanding any rough areas and applying a second thin layer of polyurethane.

Have Fun Painting

It is advised to paint with many coats of paint. Always paint with the wood’s grain to achieve the most outstanding results for your project. If you decide to remove the paint in the future to give the room a refresh or a new design, this will also protect the wood. Always give the paint time to dry in between layers completely. Fisheyes and bubbling are eliminated as paint layers dry on top of one another. Additionally, it shields the final paint finish from cracks.

You have the choice of adding a protective topcoat or leaving the surface bare after each paint application has dried. It mainly depends on the amount of exposure your finished product will receive.

Painting over an oil-based stain involves essentially the same steps. However, there is a crucial distinction when painting over oil-based stains: using solvents to remove the stain.

Why Paint Over Stain?

Even while wood may best be highlighted by staining, painting over it is occasionally necessary. You may have decided to remodel your living room but are sure to maintain the dining room table. If you can’t afford to buy entirely new furniture, you could wish to renovate your bedroom.

The outside wood of your home should be stained for additional reasons. It may be time to repaint the fence white to cover the stains, or the deck may have grown old and weathered. Painting over the interior and external stains is a common practice both indoors and out. The parts that follow will show you how to do both:

Interior Stain

You have a wide range of choices when painting furniture, such as a semi-gloss finish for a bedroom dresser or a matte finish to go with a farmhouse style.

A fair amount of sanding and a coat of primer are all needed to prepare for painting over matte-stained furniture.

Furniture typically has a glossy appearance, indicating the use of polyurethane or varnish. Traditionally, two unattractive techniques were needed to paint over wood with a glossy finish.

Either the furniture would need to be entirely sanded off, which is likewise a difficult and time-consuming procedure, or it would need to be stripped using dangerous chemicals and a metal scraper.

Both possibilities presented compelling arguments for abandoning the project altogether. Everything is different now. Liquid sandpaper has made it possible to quickly remove glossy topcoats, increasing the attraction of painting damaged furniture.

How-to-paint-over-dark-stained-wood-with bright colors

Exterior Stain

Projects involving external staining typically involve siding, trim, decks, and fences. Since exterior stains seldom contain polyurethane layers, which complicate the painting process, painting over externally stained wood may be a reasonably straightforward procedure.

What’s the point of painting siding and decks? An excellent approach to maintaining and updating the look of an ancient wood is to paint it. Wood is penetrated by stains and sealants, which offer only minimal moisture and sun protection. Paint forms a barrier that shields the wood from UV radiation and humidity.

Cleaning, moderate sanding, and exterior-grade paint are frequently applied to stained fences, siding, trim, and decking. Unless the stain is oil-based, priming or specialized chemical treatments are generally unnecessary.

staining-deck-with paint

What Shade of Paint Should I Cover Wood Stain With?

If you’re trying to decide what kind of paint to put on stained wood, it’s essential to keep in mind that oil and water don’t mix. Using a water-based primer when painting over a water-based stain is advisable since it will cling to the stained surface more effectively and avoid peeling or cracking.

It is significantly more difficult to paint over an oil-based stain or a surface that has a polyurethane finish. You must use TSP, or trisodium phosphate, to clean the surface since oil-based stains are paint-resistant.

TSP is a potent degreaser that dissolves the oils on the oil-based stain’s surface, enabling paint to stick. After that, latex paint and a water-based primer can be applied.

How to Identify an Oil-Based or Water-Based Stain

Wow! Water-based stains are treated one way, oil-based stains another. What if you own a piece of antique furniture and cannot identify the stain that was applied?

Here is a short test that you may perform without extra tools. Spray some water on the furniture’s surface to clean it. It is water-based if it dissolves in water. The most reliable findings may require additional testing with solvents like Goo Gone because this is not always correct.

The Shortcut to Paint Over Stains

Are you prepared for the most superficial response to the topic “Can stain be painted over?” You can find chalk paint here.

When petroleum-based paints took over the market, chalk paint faded into obscurity. Because of the contemporary tendency away from petroleum chemicals and the desire to study older concepts, chalk paint is making a comeback.

These paints have a matte finish if no top coat is employed. They also have a lovely tactile sensation that many people adore. These colors match both modern and rustic designs.

This technique is substantially less complex than any of our prior possibilities. Apply one to two coats of chalk paint to complete the look. Really. It’s that easy!

Chalk paint clings easily to practically any surface. Although a quick sanding may help the paint adhere effectively, it is unnecessary. You may also attempt a piece with a gorgeous polish or one with a damaged, rustic appearance.

To finalize your item’s rustic yet magnificent aspect, apply a layer of furniture wax or shellac. Chalk paint is an excellent finish for coffee tables, kitchen cabinets, and a broad range of other applications.

Can You Paint Over A Stain?

Yes! Painting over stains is a terrific technique to convert a bargain from the charity store into a classic work of art. One of the most excellent methods to replace old furniture with more trendy pieces is to paint over a stained piece of furniture.


A worn-down deck or paneling that has lost its luster may be brought back to life, and the appearance of a piece of furniture can be altered by painting over the stain that was previously applied. As a result of the development of liquid sandpaper, previously high-gloss stained furniture may now be painted with far less effort.

Checkout: how to remove stains from wooden deck to make it look beautiful in no time with right methods.



  • What if the stain is covered with paint?

Oil-based stains may be painted over and removed much more challengingly than water-based stains, although they are not impossible. With the proper tools and well-ventilated space, an antique piece of furniture may be repainted to adapt to a more modern design.

  • What sort of paint is suitable for hiding stains?

The same approach and materials are used when painting over stained wood. What type of paint is applied to hide wood stains? Always use oil-based paint, latex paint with a water base, or spray paint. checkout if you can make use of oil based primers below latex paints for better results in our post on the same topic.

  • Is painting over a stain possible?

Yes, the paint may be used to hide stains. There are a few proper techniques to paint the stained wood, and which one you go with will depend on the stain used, the state of the wood, and whether you’re painting furniture or another form of construction.

  • Is priming a stained surface necessary?

Stained wood has to be prepared with an oil- or shellac-based primer before painting. Oil-based stains won’t adequately attach to latex primers because of this. It should take an oil-based primer roughly two days to dry.

  • Can stained wood be painted without priming it first?

If you prepare the surface properly, you may paint over any stain with any painting style. Fundamentally, every stain is the same. Without the proper stain-blocking primer, water stains caused by wood tannins may seep through each coat of latex paint.

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