Have you ever painted latex over oil-based paint without properly prepping the walls? The unlucky readers who answered ‘yes’ know how painful this mistake is! After two years of painting our new home, this is the first run-in with oil-based paint.
Although this is one of the smaller rooms in our house, it has 8 (!!!) doors! I say this because it is very time-consuming to paint doors, especially when 4 are large doors with slats. Fixing my mistake took countless hours and 5 coats of paint, but it looks great!
So how did I figure out my mistake? There were a few factors that made me realize that something wasn’t right. First, the paint felt chalky even though it was a satin finish. Secondly, the paint was chipping off at the slightest scratch. I could take my nail and easily scrape off a long strip of paint. A quick google search confirmed this is a common painting mistake.
Ideally, I would love for you to learn from my mistake and avoid the headache altogether! But if you find yourself in the same pickle as me, I will take you through the various ways to resolve the problem and move on!
Latex Paint vs. Oil Based Paint
Latex paint is a water-based paint. Latex paint dries quickly and is what most people use in their homes.
Oil-based paint is made with either alkyd (synthetic) or linseed (natural) oils. It is more durable than latex paint so it is more frequently used on trim and doors. It takes longer to dry and requires chemicals to clean up any paint messes.
How to Check if it is Oil-Based Paint?
If you suspect that paint in your house is an oil-based paint, there is an easy way to check. Grab denatured alcohol from your garage (or hardware store) and put some on a cotton ball. Rub the alcohol on a small area of the painted surface. If paint comes off onto the cotton ball, it is latex paint and you are good to go. If no paint rubs off, you have oil-based paint. Skip to the second step if you do not have to remove latex paint.
How to Fix this Common Painting Mistake
1 | Remove Latex Over Oil-Based Paint
There are a few ways to remove the latex paint and one option may work better than another depending on your situation. With all of these solutions, it is important to wear a mask to protect your lungs!
Warm Water & Scouring Pad
Using warm water and a scouring pad worked great to remove the latex paint quickly. The downside is that it is incredibly messy. Dirty water and wet paint splattered everywhere and made a big mess. This is a great option if the floors are unfinished in your house or you are removing paint outside.
Paint Scraper & Scouring Pad
I removed most of the peeling paint and then sanded it as smooth as possible. The trim is 50 years old and I wasn’t too concerned with imperfections here and there.
I have another confession – I skipped scraping the doors and just crossed my fingers that the bonding primer and trim specific paint would suffice. I don’t know that I would ever have finished this mudroom if I had to scrap all 8 doors! We will see how they hold up, but they are already looking better with the primer and trim paint applied.
Additional Latex Paint Removal Options
I found some other solutions to this problem online but did not test them out.Depending on how much time you want to spend removing all of the paint, a combination of these options could speed up the process.
- Use a steamer to remove the latex paint just like wallpaper
- Krud Kutter latex paint spray remover
- Latex paint stripper
2 | Apply 1 Coat of Extreme Bonding Primer
I’m giving you a big round of applause if you discovered the oil-based paint before painting over it with latex paint! This will save you a ton of time and is a pretty quick fix. First, you will take a sanding block and scuff up the surface with the oil-based paint. Wipe down the surface to remove any dust and dirt. Next, you will apply one coat of bonding primer before adding the actual trim paint.
3 | Apply Paint Specific for Trim & Doors
I have a confession. I have never purchased the type of paint that is made specifically for trim and doors. In the past, I purchased the same type of paint (SuperPaint interior acrylic latex) for the walls and trim/doors. This type works best on drywall and there is actually a more durable paint for your trim and doors.
To fix our mudroom debacle, I applied 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel and I can really tell the difference! I definitely recommend using this type of paint for trim and doors for future projects. For the application, I used a combination of an angled paintbrush and a small roller to paint the surfaces.
Paint Sheen is Important
I’d like to share another personal story that completely tripped me up with applying latex over oil-based paint.
Last year, we removed the wallpaper from our foyer and the paper came off in strips, leaving the glue on the walls. Instead of using a steamer to scrape off all of the glue, we were instructed to use an oil-based primer to seal in the wallpaper glue and then apply the latex paint. When you apply water-based paint (latex) over wallpaper glue, it reactivates the glue and turns into a gummy mess.
When I asked my Sherwin Williams rep why I could use latex paint over oil-based primer in our foyer, but not in the mudroom, he explained that the type of paint sheen plays a big part. In our foyer, the sheen was flat for the oil-based primer which allowed the latex paint to grab onto something and adhere. Because our mudroom trim and doors had a glossier sheen, it wouldn’t allow the latex paint to grab onto anything. This is why it scraped right off.
Moral of the story: when in doubt, reach out to your local paint store experts for advice!
- Extreme Bonding Primer
- Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel
- Denatured alcohol (same as the latex paint stripper)
- Angled Paint Brush
- Paint Roller
- N95 Mask
- Paint Scraper
- Scouring Pad
- Sanding Block
- Krud Kutter Latex Paint Spray Remover
- Latex Paint Stripper
- Drop cloth
Fixing this mistake was a huge pain in the butt, but it was definitely worth it. My family is pretty rough on our mudroom and we need durable paint on the trim and doors to hold up. I hope my experience will make your paint removal process go a little bit quicker!
Similar Content You May Like
- How to Paint a Room and Get Professional Results
- How to Paint a Room with Carpeting
- Paint Old Linoleum Floors
- How to Paint an In-ground Pool
- How to Remove Wallpaper
For more tips on choosing interior paint colors, head on over to my friend Katelin’s site at The Inspiring Investment where she shares tips on picking the perfect colors!