Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?

Can you paint over stained wood? It is a common question among those people who want to paint their homes. Painting is a DIY project that can be both stressful and rewarding. If you have to paint over stained wood, the project can be even more painful because it takes so long time. Then the stained wood is painted with enough time, effort, and patience, and the result will be well worth it.

If you moved into a house with stained wood that was worn out and not in a cool way, you might not want to pay a contractor a lot of money to fix it. Instead, you should use your painting skills and take care of the wood yourself. 

Can you paint over stained wood?

Of course. But you can only do it with some planning first. For paint to stick to wood, you must sand the surface to make it rough. This lets the paint stick to the surface, which is especially important for varnished items. We all know that sanding is messy and takes a long time. It can be hard to paint over stained wood.

What you’ll need:

  • Power washer
  • Ear plugs
  • Dust mask
  • Tack cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sandpaper
  • Chemical stripper
  • Oil-based primer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Two-gallon buckets
  • Paintbrushes
  • Weenie roller and frames
  • Tarps
  • Ladder
Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?

Prepping to Paint Over Stained Wood

Before painting over stained wood, you’ll need to get rid of as much of the old varnish as you can. Stain systems depend on the protective seal that varnish gives. This is usually where decks and lap siding fail if they don’t get regular maintenance.

If the varnish has started to flake, powder, or bubble of the wood, you’ll need to remove as much as possible before painting over the stain, which will seal in what’s left. Then you’re unsure if you can properly prepare the service, it’s not a bad idea to hire a local handyperson to ensure the job gets done right.

The varnish is so stuck to the wood that it can’t be taken off, sandpaper and a power washer can be used to give the varnish enough “tooth” so that primer and paint can be put on top. If you use a power washer, let the wood dry out so it can be primed and painted after injecting water into it. If the job is big, you might want to hire a local pressure washing service to take care of this step for you.

The Process:

You might want to paint over stained wood for many reasons, but the most important is that it will protect the wood underneath in the long run. If you haven’t taken care of the stain and varnish protection system over the years, you’ll probably have to start over anyway, so why not use the classic primer and paint system? If you do paint over stained wood, it’s a done deal.

Set up the area to be painted:

  • Put down tarps and move anything that might get in the way. Put all of your painting supplies on the tarp, so they are easy to get to.

Clean the wood:

  • Use the tack cloth to remove any dust, dirt, or spider webs from the wood. This is especially important if you are painting a piece of furniture that has been in a garage or shed for a long time.

Use 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the wood:

  • How much sanding the wood needs will depend on its condition and the type of stain used.
  • Many stains make wood waterproof and give it a smooth, shiny finish. Sanding the stain helps because it makes the finish rougher, which helps the paint stick to the wood. You don’t have to remove the stain; you just have to scratch the surface. 
  • In some cases, the stain might not be shiny, making it easy for paint to stick to the Sometimes, you only need to sand the wood if some parts are too rough.

Get the wood ready: 

  • To paint on a smooth surface, take out any nails and fill any holes with spackling. 
  • If you want to paint a piece of furniture, make sure to take the drawers out and the handles off. 
  • If you want to paint a door, take the knobs off. 

Use a primer: 

  • This is especially important if the wood has been stained dark. 
  • When buying a primer, ask the paint expert what kinds of primers that kill stains are available. Also, tell them if the stain you want to paint over is oil-based or water-based and what kind of paint you plan to use. This will affect what kind of primer your paint expert will suggest.

Let the primer dry first:

  • How long you have to wait depends on what kind of primer you use, how humid the air is, and how hot the room is. Plan on waiting at least an hour, but it could take less.

Paint the wood:

  • This should be easy if you’ve ever painted a piece of furniture or wood before. 
  • Use paintbrushes with an angle to get into cracks and corners.
  • Paint multiple layers to ensure adequate coverage.
  • Do not replace any drawers or knobs until at least two hours have passed and the paint has fully dried. The paint isn’t completely dry until it doesn’t feel sticky anymore.

DIY Painting Over Stained Wood vs. Hiring a Pro

If you want to paint your house, you might be tempted to take out a roller and do it yourself. But you should? You can make the decision yourself by reading the following text.

Pros of Doing Your Own Painting

After getting quotes from professional painters, you may find that doing the job yourself will save you money. You have to think about how well you can do the work, how easy it is to get to high places, whether you have the right tools, and how much you value your property.

If the project is simple enough that you don’t need help from a professional, you can save money. The most expensive thing will be the paint, which usually costs between $30 and $50 per gallon. Primer is a little cheaper than paint, but you will need it for a good job. The last thing you’ll need to pay for is the tools you’ll use to paint (brushes, rollers, the right ladders, the right tape, mud, etc.).

When you paint by yourself, you can go at your own pace. If you’re not in a hurry, you can spread the work over several days to fit your schedule. Some people like having more control over a job when they do it themselves.

Cons of Doing Your Own Painting

Even if you take time and pay close attention to the details, your work won’t be as good as a professional. Keep in mind that painters spend their whole lives learning how to do prep work and check the quality of their work. There only needs to be one mistake for the paint to look bad.

People often forget how much time and work it takes to paint a house. Lifting, reaching, climbing, and bending over and over again are all part of the process, which can be hard on the body. You might also think about how much you like your full-time job.

 If you do and are willing to spend more time on the job, it’s always better to hire a professional painter (you normally make more working at your full-time job to offset the hours you would spend painting because professionals get more done in a shorter period and do it better).

Pros of hiring a Pro

It’s easier to guess what will happen. Professional painters always have clean lines and edges, a uniform colour, and a clean overall look.

When they hire someone else to do the work, homeowners don’t have to do much. While painters make a room look great, you can go about your day with little trouble. There is no chance of getting hurt or putting stress on your body when signing a contract.

Cons of hiring a Pro

It will cost more than if you just did it yourself. Time is money to some people, and they wouldn’t see this as a con. If you are the type of person who has to be in charge of everything in your home, hiring professionals may make you feel like you are giving up some control.

For a matte finish- use chalk paint, and a polyurethane top coat

Chalk paint is made with water and sticks to almost everything. It is a great way to update antiques because it gives them a matte finish that can be easily worn down for a “shabby chic” look. First, put a small amount of chalk paint on an area that won’t be seen and let it dry for eight hours. If the paint sticks and doesn’t seep through, you don’t need to prime. If, on the other hand, you see streaks, prime with a primer/sealer like Valspar’s primer/sealer, which you can get at Lowe’s.

Tips and Safety Precautions while Painting over the Stain

Using paint over stained wood requires a lot of patience and attention to detail, so here are some extra tips and safety precautions that will help you not do a bad job. Among them are:

Before you do anything, try to find out what kind of stain was used on the wood.

Lightly sand the surface of the wood because it might be weak, so it doesn’t get broken.

Be careful when taking off nails, screws, or other things attached to the furniture.

A primer made with oil works better than one made with water.

Make sure that the area is well-ventilated before you do anything else.


To paint over a stain correctly, you must be patient and pay close attention to the details. If you want to paint over stained wood yourself instead of hiring a professional, make sure you follow the directions exactly and have all the right tools and supplies.

Can you paint over stained wood? Yes, now you know everything about it. So, don’t worry about it.

When painting over stained wood, you should wait six hours between coats for the best results. Keep an eye out for mistakes and paint drops at all times. Set aside at least two days to do everything from start to finish.

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