Can You Paint Enamel Over Latex?

The simple answer is, yes. It is possible to paint enamel over latex because enamel paint is oil-based paint while latex is a water-based paint. The enamel paint will stick well to the surface of the paint. It is advisable to use a primer to prepare the surface, but you can still get good results even without priming.

Can You Paint Enamel Over Latex?

How to Paint Enamel Over Latex Paint

Whether the painting project is on your ceiling or wall, the process of painting enamel over latex paint is the same. Although not necessary, it is recommended that you prepare the surface with a primer. A primer makes the application of paint easy especially if you’re changing from a dark color to a lighter one. How to paint enamel over latex paint is detailed below.

Related: Can You Use Latex Paint on Metal?

  • Apply the primer to the intended surface the same way you will apply paint using either a soft brush or a roller. You might need to apply more than one layer.
  • You will need fewer layers of paint if your surface is properly primed. Make sure that the primer dries before applying another coat.
  • Now, apply your paint, moving your roller or brush in the same direction for a clean and consistent finish. You may need two to three coats. You will be the judge of that based on how the surface looks after each coat is dried.

Can You Paint Latex Over Enamel?

Yes, you can paint latex over enamel paint but not without adequately preparing the surface. As a water-based paint, latex would normally not adhere to enamel paint because it’s an oil-based paint. Preparing the surface will involve using sandpaper to smoothen the surface and reduce the gloss finish.

While using sandpaper, ensure there is proper ventilation and wear a nose mask to avoid inhaling the toxic particles of the paint. Once done with the sandpaper, wipe the surface to get rid of the dust, and then coat with a quality primer. Two to three coats of primer after, your surface is ready for your latex paint application.

Latex Paint Vs. Enamel Paint

Latex and enamel paints are two popular options, especially for interior painting. To make an informed decision, you need to know their properties and what distinguishes them. As stated earlier,

the main difference between enamel and latex paint is that enamel paint is oil-based paint while latex paint is water-based paint. The base of the paints in turn affects the way the paints behave. Let’s compare the two types of paint under the following properties:

  1. Drying time

As a water-based paint, latex dries fast while enamel, an oil-based paint dries slowly.

  1. Durability

Both paints can be said to be durable but in comparison, enamel paint is by far more durable than latex paint. It dries harder than latex and can withstand fluctuations in weather conditions.

  1. Interior or exterior use

Latex paint is suitable for the interior and exterior of a building. It can be used for walls, ceilings, and sidings. Particularly in areas that need to be cleaned regularly, latex works great as it can be easily cleaned with a soft cloth and water. Due to its durability and base, enamel paint is preferred for painting the exterior part of a building, especially metals because it helps to prevent rusting.

  1. Toxicity

Water-based paints are generally less toxic than oil-based paints. Latex paint has a mild odor while enamel has a strong odor and high fumes. This makes latex paint the preferred option for painting indoors. Although it is best practice to have good ventilation when working with all kinds of paints, it is compulsory when working with enamel. This is because the fumes can cause breathing problems, dizziness, and irritation to the skin. If the painting can be done outdoors, that’s better.

  1. Ease of Cleaning

With latex paint, soap and water will easily clean paint stains but with enamel paint, you need to make use of paint thinners to rinse your brushes and clean stains.

  1. Finish

The kinds of finish available for the two types of paint are different. With latex paint, you can have eggshell and matte finish while with enamel paint, you have semi-gloss and high-gloss. The satin finish is available for both types of paint.

Can You Use Enamel Paint to Cover Powder Coated Metal?

Using enamel paint for painting powder coated metal substrates is possible. Enamel paint provides a durable and glossy finish, making it a suitable choice. However, proper surface preparation, such as cleaning and sanding, is crucial for ensuring adhesion. Applying a primer specifically designed for metal substrates before enamel paint can also enhance the bond and longevity of the coating.

What Happens If You Put Oil Based Paint Over Latex?

Oil-based paint will stick over latex paint. The surface does need to be prepared for good adhesion. A primer is recommended for this purpose so it sticks to the latex paint and also sticks to the oil-based paint.

Can I Spray Paint Over Latex Paint?

Yes, you can spray paint over latex paint. Most spray paints are oil-based, but you can always confirm by reading the information on the spray can. Spray paints are versatile with the types of surfaces they can adhere to and because they do not require brush strokes,

it is easier to apply on such surfaces. They are more durable than latex paint which is one reason why they are used to paint over it.

Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic?

Yes, you can paint enamel over acrylic since acrylic paint is water-based paint. One of the issues that may arise is the swelling of the acrylic paint after a while. This will cause both paint layers to crack and peel off.

Make sure the acrylic paint is completely dried before painting over it and also use an acrylic primer for a better result. It is also important to do a patch test first before fully going in. Painting enamel over acrylic is usually done to give your surface a glossy finish.

Can You Paint Water-Based Enamel Over Latex?

Yes, you can paint water-based enamel over latex. They both have water as their base so there’s no problem with adhesion. The water-based enamel can have a gloss or semi-gloss finish just like its oil-based alternative.

It is an excellent choice for painting exterior surfaces due to its durability. It is resistant to alkali which makes it a good choice to be used on masonry.

Can You Put Oil Paint Over Water-Based Paint on Wood?

Yes, you can put oil paint over water-based paint on a wood surface. This order works well and should be maintained to prevent cracking. Ensure the water-based paint is completely dry first.

Before wood is painted, it should be properly primed because it will help prevent the wood from absorbing your overcoat, giving you an uneven result.

Can You Put Oil-Based Primer Over Latex?

Yes, you can put oil-based primer over latex. It is versatile and works well with latex. When applying it this way, ensure the coat of latex paint is completely dried before going over it.

This process provides a smooth finish. The reverse is also possible, that is, latex can be put over oil-based primer. Oil-based primer takes a long time to dry so this should be duly considered when making plans for the painting exercise.


With the different types of paints available, making an informed decision will not happen by chance but by asking the right questions. Can you paint enamel over latex? Now, you know this is in the affirmative.

The enamel paint will have no problem sticking to the latex paint-covered surface. The use of a primer is recommended for this process. Both latex and enamel paints are good, and they have their peculiarities making them more suitable for specific projects.

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