Can I Paint over Painted Walls?

You are looking at your walls and they could use some updating. You are probably wondering can I paint over painted walls?

Let’s review if you can paint over your painted walls and where you need to be careful.

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Can I Paint Over Painted Walls

Yes! Most times, your walls will already be painted. Maybe it’s time for an update, or even a refresh of the paint color on your walls.

What to Look out for When Painting over Painting Walls

When painting over painting walls, you have to be careful of one thing: the type of paint you’re using. Oil and latex paint don’t mix. Most interior paints are latex based, so 99% of the time there is no problem.

However, oil based paints are great to use in high humidity situations like your kitchen and bathroom. If you have your doubts, you should test the paint on your walls to determine if it’s oil paint or latex paint before updating your wall color.

Can I Paint Over Painted Walls: How to Test For Oil Based Paints

You can check your paint type by saturating a shop rag with non-acetone nail polish remover. Take the soaked rag and run it over the painted surface in question. If no paint comes off on the rag, then you know for certain that it is an oil-based paint.

If the surface is coated with latex paint, then you’ll have some paint come off on the rag or the surface will feel sticky afterward.

What Happens if I Paint over Oil Based paint with Latex Paint?

Using latex paint, which is water based, when painting over oil-based paint could cause chips and peeling. This is because oil based paints are glossier. Remember oil and water don’t mix when you’re cooking and they don’t mix when painting either.

If you want to paint water based latex paints (or any water based paints) over oil paint, you would need to use a good quality bonding primer over the oil paint first. This way the latex paint has a surface that it can easily bond to. This is an extra step that will create professional results.


We hope that you now have all the knowledge you need to answer the question if you can paint over painted walls. Just be careful which type of paint is already on your walls and you can turn any wall into a masterpiece!


What is the best paint sprayer for walls?

Check out our best indoor paint sprayer reviews for a detailed discussion of which paint sprayer is best for you to paint walls.