You can paint over stained wood trim, cabinets, doors, furniture, or most any other stained wood, however you must prepare the stained wood before painting so the paint will stick. 

Here are the steps for how to paint over stained wood properly.

Tips and Tricks for Painting Over Stained Woodphoto courtesy of Nomadic Lass Hardware
If your stained wood item has hardware, such as a door knob or furniture pull, remove it before proceeding for the best results.


Clean your stained wood item to remove any dust, dirt, cobwebs, or other yucky stuff you don't want mixed in with your paint. 

You can use plain soap and water to clean. 

If you have any oily or greasy areas, clean them using TSP. 

Clean any removed hardware also.


Remove the Gloss
Most stained wood has been coated in a glossy polyurethane or varnish.

 If you paint over these glossy surfaces directly, the paint can't properly grip the surface which may cause the paint to crack, chip, or peel off. 

In order to allow the paint to grip to the surface of your wood, you should sand away the gloss.  You do not need to sand away the stain, just rough up the glossy surface. 

If you do not want to sand your stained wood, you can use a paint deglosser or liquid sandpaper instead. 

Some people love to use Glidden Gripper primer instead of sanding.


Yes, you have to clean again. 

Clean all of the sanding dust off your wood before painting. 

If you do not remove the sanding dust, it will get into your paint and make your finished surface bumpy. 

You can start by vacuuming the sanding dust, then wipe the excess using a tack cloth.


If you have any nicks, scratches, dings, or other problems with your stained wood, repair the spot with wood filler. 

You may need to use 2 coats. 

Sand and clean the area again.


Paint over your stained wood with a paint primer first. 

You can use oil based or water based latex primer - you can even use spray paint. 

If you are planning on using oil based paint, use an oil based primer. 

If you are planning on using a water based latex paint, use a water based latex primer. 

You can apply the primer with either a brush or roller. 

You can even apply the primer with a roller to get the paint applied evenly, then use a brush to brush out the roller marks. 

If you are planning on painting your stained wood with a color other that white, consider having the paint store tint your primer in a color similar to your final paint color. 

Allow your primer to dry per the manufacturer's directions. 

Don't worry too much if the stain color is not totally concealed by the primer. 

If you use a high quality paint that includes primer, you can skip this step (Chalk paint might work well without priming also, however follow the directions on the particular paint you are using).


Using a quality paint, either water based latex, oil based, or spray paint, paint over your previously stained wood. 

You may need 2 coats of paint to get the coverage you desire. 

Make sure each coat is completely dry before applying the next coat.


Top Coat
You can use a top coat of polyurethane over your painted wood if you wish, however it is unnecessary if you use a high quality paint. 

Another option is to use a paste wax to add a bit of shine to your finished painted wood.


For more information, see the video below.



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