Latex Paint Over Oil Paint: Advantages (9 easy steps)

Last Updated on June 28, 2022

Even a few decades ago, oil paint was the unofficial ruler in the interior painting world for doors, trim works, cabinets, etc., with high impact. However, the scenario has changed a lot, especially with the invention of latex paint.

Yes, many professionals still favor oil paint for its smoothest and hardest finish without any brush marks. But truly speaking, the benefits of latex paint over oil paint is so massive that modern-day homes are incomplete without them.

But how do you use latex paint with a latex paint sprayer over oil-based paint? Also, what benefits will it bring you? We have compiled the answer to these questions to help you decorate your home and office interior as superbly and safely as possible.

Latex Paint Over Oil Paint

Oil paint, thanks to its easy availability and easy-to-use feature, became the popular choice for painting in the early 1900s. And it was pretty understandable because oil paints are rock hard and provide a smooth finish than any other paint material.

Also, it was easy to apply on most surfaces with the roller and paintbrush only. So, it enjoyed great popularity until latex paint was invented in the 1940s.

But what made latex paint a better choice over the oil paint, which had a smooth finish and rock-hard paint to withstand any weather?

The answer lies in the formula of oil paint.

Oil paint materials come with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), often in the form of an aerosol. This also contains carbon which is dangerous for both humans and the environment.

That’s why many organizations have banned the use of oil-based paints, especially indoor uses.

Another disadvantage of oil paint is its smell. When your 1st applies the oil paint, it feels so smelly that often you may not like it. What’s more, the smell lasts for a few days, which may not suit your health either.

Therefore, many professionals and homeowners have turned towards latex paint because of its safer and non-smelly application, particularly in indoor spaces.

On top of this, the VOCs will remain in the indoor air for a longer period and take a toll on your health as you breathe in the polluted air. Thus, physicians also discourage the use of VOCs containing paint sprays in the interior space.

So, with all these disadvantages of oil paint, you may want to look at the benefit of latex paint. And here we go-

Advantages of latex paint

  • Latex paint is far easier and smoother to apply on any surface.
  • The best benefit of latex paint is that it is inflammable.
  • The latex paint is pretty hard too. It is highly fade–resistant even in sun exposure.
  • Latex paint, with its hard finish, is tough to peel off and crack. Thus, it enjoys durability.
  • Oil-based paints often become yellow or yellowish over time. Latex paints are free from such disasters.
  • Another striking benefit of latex paint is its faster-drying ability. So, you can accomplish the paintwork faster.
  • Latex paint, unlike oil paint, is free from any smell. So, your interior won’t feel smelly either.

Is Latex Paint Usable Over Oil Paint?

We assume that with all these surprising benefits of latex paint over oil paint, you are confident of using the latex paint at home. But your home has already got the older oil paint.

So, what to do in this complex situation?  Can you use the latex paint right over the oil paint?

Thankfully, yes!

You can easily apply the latex paint over the existing latex oil paint at home, both indoors and outdoor. You just have to cure the surface properly. Also, make sure that the surface doesn’t inherit anything preventive to resist the new paint coating.

Also, you need to prepare the surface differently if you are using latex paint over any glossy surface. It is crucial because a glossy surface won’t take another coating of different paint after the use of oil paint on it.

So, you have to clean and prime it carefully.  You may follow these steps for applying latex paint to the existing oil paint.

You will need-

  1. Sandpaper with 180-grit or 200-grit at least
  2. Paintbrush with high-quality
  3. Medium grit sandpaper (150 grit)
  4. Putty knife
  5. Tack cloth

The steps include-

  1. Use sandpaper to remove the glossiness from the surface by scuffing it off manually. It will help the latex paint stick better on the surface.
  2. The scuffing should be done well with the fine-grit sandpaper. If it doesn’t work, you may switch to the medium grit ones.
  3. Many people use a power sander for faster work completion. We recommend you use hand sanding, particularly on trim and cabinetry. It will yield a better and smoother finish.
  4. Use the putty knife to remove any loose paint from the surface or walls. If there’s any loose paint, it will make the second coat uneven.
  5. Next, inspect the wall and see if it needs any filling. Mostly, after prying off the loose paint, you will find a few spots that will need filler. You may use wood filler or putty to fill up the gaps properly for an even finish.
  6. Once the gaps are filled correctly, and you have sanded them evenly, it’s time to use the tack cloth. If the surface is too dirty, you may use TSP to remove the dirt and debris.
  7. You will need to mix 1 gallon of hot water with ½ cup of TSP to clean the surface properly.
  8. After cleaning the surface, allow it to dry entirely. Then, apply a quality primer and wait until it cures.
  9. Finally, use the latex paint to finish off your paint project over the oil paint.

Latex paint needs at least two to three hours for drying fully. So, you have to wait to apply the second coat if need be.


Latex paint over oil paint brings several benefits. It is not smelly and also free of VOCs. So, it doesn’t run the risk of health issues in indoor spaces. Therefore, modern-day homes and offices are using latex paint as their premier selection for interior uses.

The application of latex paint over existing oil paint is easy too. Therefore, it’s time to remove your old oil paint and use the best later paint for a premium feel with enhanced healthiness too.