Can I Just Paint Over Old Paint?

Can I Just Paint Over Old Paint?

Are you starting at your walls, wondering whether you can just slap on a fresh coat of interior paint without going through the AGONY of removing the old paint?

Does painting over-painted walls give a worse finish?

Does applying paint over already painted walls make finishing the job harder?

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. It’s a question that has crossed the mind of every DIY enthusiast and professional painter.

Fear not! I’ve painted thousands of walls in my life (REALLY), so I can give you genuine advice on whether you should remove paint before painting your walls.

Also, I will share some professional painting tips to help your home improvement project become a breeze!

Painter and decorator painting a wall with a paint roller without removing the old paint

Can I Repaint Without Removing Old Paint?

Yes, you can paint over existing paint without removing the old paint from your walls and ceilings. 
But first, you need to make sure the old paint can be painted over. You need to ensure: 
  • The old coat of paint is in good condition. If there are any signs of peeling, chipped, or bubbling paint, you’ll need to remove this first. 
  • You are using the same paint type. If you are applying oil-based paint to your wall, the paint on the existing wall must also be oil-based. 

Can I Paint Over Painted Walls?

As previously mentioned, you can paint over painted walls if your walls are in good condition and using a similar paint.

You just need to ensure that you properly prepare your surfaces before applying the paint.

So, inspect the existing paint before deciding whether to remove the old paint before applying new paint to the surface.

Painting Over Old Paint on Wood

Just like walls, you can paint over old paint on wooden surfaces, like skirting boards or furniture with painted finishes, without removing the old paint.

But before you start to cover the old coatings of paint with a fresh lick of paint, you first need to check the wooden surfaces for any signs of damage before painting.

If you find any damage, like cracks or holes, you must prep the wood before painting it.

Also, you would need to apply a primer to the surface before painting if you didn’t do that when you painted it last. Otherwise, the paint will discolour quickly when dried and be more prone to wear and tear.

Painter and decorator preparing walls for painting

What To Do Before Painting Over Old Paint?

Before you begin painting over existing paint, you need to thoroughly prepare your surfaces before painting. 
Here’s how to prepare a surface with existing paint: 
  1. Clean the surface using sugar soap to remove any dirt or debris from the surface.
  2. Apply filler to your surface’s existing imperfections (holes and cracks). 
  3. When the filler is dry, begin lightly sanding the surfaces to ensure you have a smooth surface ready for painting.
  4. If you’re painting over a surface that has been painted with glossy paint, you need to de-gloss the surface first. You can do this by lightly sanding or using a liquid de-glosser. This step will help the new paint adhere to the old painted surface.

Do You Need to Use a Primer When Painting Over Paint

When you paint over old paint, you don’t always need to apply a primer to your surfaces before repainting.
However, there are a few situations when a primer should be applied before you start to paint your walls or ceilings:
  • When you are concealing stains on the surface.
  • The older paint colour is a much darker paint colour than the new colour you are using.
  • You’re covering a surface that has not previously been painted, like fresh plaster or bare furniture.
  • You need to paint over a porous surface like wood. 
Man using a paint scrapper to remove old paint from a wall

When Should You Remove Old Paint Before Painting

There are a handful of cases when you should remove the old paints before beginning to repaint your surfaces.

If you are painting over old paint that is a different type of paint, then you should remove the previous coats of paint before applying paint to the surfaces. For example, if you are using water-based paint to cover a wall previously painted with oil-based paint, then you should remove it beforehand.

Also, if you are painting over old paint that has cracked, peeled, or blistered, you can’t just paint over it – you need to remove it first.

Finally, if you’re painting an old property, there’s a chance that the old paint contains lead. If this is the case, you need to contact a local professional painter to remove the paint safely before you repaint the areas.

How To Remove Old Paint from Walls

Removing old paint from your walls is a relatively straightforward DIY task that the average homeowner can undertake. 
The easiest way paint can be removed from walls is by using a paint scraper.
Here’s how: 
  • Using your paint scrapper, get underneath the dried paint you want to remove and strike the tool in an upward motion. 
  • Following this motion, the paint will easily come away from your walls.
  • Repeat this process until you have covered the entire wall. If you come across a section of the paint that won’t come off, you can skip it and move to the next area of the wall.
  • Now the paint has been removed, you can finish preparing the walls and apply two coats of paint to the surfaces.