How to paint over stained wood?

Sometimes it is necessary to give a second life to old pieces of wooden furniture because they can also be considered useful for future use. There are many ways how to stain furniture, and we will talk about some of them in this article!

How to paint over stained wood

Don’t know how to improve your existing furniture? The best method is to paint it, because this way the time of use of your furniture will last a long time, in addition, it will look fresher and newer. In this article, you will learn about how to properly paint furniture and what rules to follow for the best option. Read further to learn how to paint over stained wood.

Can I just paint over stained wood?

In fact, there’s nothing wrong with staining furniture directly. There are a lot of ways to do it right, and it depends entirely on the paint you choose, the condition of the wood in your furniture, and what kind of object you want to paint. If you goal is – successful painting over stained wood, read the article below.

Can you apply paint over a stain?

Moreover, you can paint over stains by selecting the technique that is most appropriate for the type of stain on the material and the paint you want to use. But keep in mind that thorough preparation is necessary.

In case you skip these processes, tannins from the stain will probably flow undesirable onto the freshly painted surface. Continue reading to discover how to successfully paint over the wood stain.

In fact, in order to perfect the process of painting stained wood, the most important step is the primer. It is the primer that decides how well you will block moisture stains and whether any cracks will appear on the surface later on.

How to paint over stained wood?

You can always paint stained wood cabinets, furniture, doors, or any other wood object, but it is very important to prepare your work area and the stained wood itself before doing so for the best results.

Homemade projects that involve painting stained wood take a lot of time, most often a couple of days. It is for this reason that you should prepare your workplace well.

We recommend that you do not move any tools or parts during the entire time that you will be working. Try to find a place where all of your supplies can stay for a few days, preferably a large room that always has a flow of fresh air. If we talk briefly about the steps of painting painted wood, there are 4 main points:

  • Get rid of any holes, or rather fill them and sand the surface
  • Use a primer
  • Using putty or caulk
  • The final paint job

The first step – Preparing the workplace

First, get rid of any details on the wood itself, i.e. knobs on doors, bolts, hinges, etc. should be removed at the beginning of the job. The reason we recommend removing them is to preserve their appearance and not to cover them with paint when painting the stained wood later on.

How to paint over stained wood

After that, in order to properly stain wood with oil paints, you need to clean the wood of stains, dirt, or grease. As mentioned above, fill in any cracks or holes that are on the surface of the wood, and make it as even as possible for a more accurate paint job. You can complete it by the usage of wood filler.

The sanding process

Sanding is necessary to ensure that your end result wood stain is rough and to properly retain the paint on the wood. This process depends on the scale of your job, if you need to stain quite a large furniture, use a sander to lightly sand to the surface. If the wood is smaller, however, this can easily be done with sandpaper.

Use sandpaper with grit levels up to 210, because these are the values at which there is very little chance of damaging the material, and they are ideal for applying paint to painted wood. After you have finished sanding, wipe your surface with a tack cloth to get rid of any dust and dirt. We recommend you to always make sure that you filled all the holes in the wood before this step with the wood filler.


The sanding process can take several hours or a couple of minutes, depending on the condition and extent of the wood. If you have much less time, try using liquid sandpaper, which can take as little as 15 minutes to dry. Lightly sand thee wood, then wipe it, and at this point, it is ready for real paint and primer.

Gloss-Off Pre-Paint Liquid Sandpaper by KRUD KUTTER

This product is popular in the industry and many people purchase it for the reason that it does not contain any toxins. This liquid sandpaper is water-based and is a biologically friendly product. It can be applied to both interior and exterior objects. You can get the product at any paint store, or here is the link for liquid sandpaper of Gloss-off Pre-Paint Liquid Sandpaper by Krud Kutter.

How to paint over stained wood

  • 1. Quick to apply
  • 2. Biodegradable
  • 3. Good price
  • 1. Can take more than 15 minutes to dry, depending on the amount of work

Using a paint primer

If you decide to skip the sanding step, you can go straight to the next step, specifically the use of paint primer, which is very necessary for painting wood stain.

It is very important to apply a primer, as the painting process can make it a lot easier. If you don’t know which product is best, we recommend the following product.

RUST-OLEUM High-Hide Cover Stain Primer and Sealer

If your goal is to block stains, this product is perfect, because it is very effective in fighting even the oldest stains. This primer is used both internally and externally, because it adheres to all kinds of surfaces, including plaster, wood, etc.

Regarding the advantages of the Rust-Oleum High-Hide Cover Stain Primer and Sealer, they are:

  • Oil-based product
  • Stain-blocking primer
  • Offers a surface that is suited for all types of paint
  • Halts the bleeding of a wood stain
  • No need to prepare the stained wood before painting it
  • Very simple to use

The main step – is the painting process!

After the primer is completely dry, wipe down everything to get rid of dirt and dust. We recommend carefully painting because the result you get in the end depends on it.

You can choose a matt, chalky, or even glossy finish, depending on your personal taste and the type of furniture you want to paint. In all cases, you’ll need two or three coats of paint. If the shade is light enough, you may need additional coats of paint in certain places.

Latex paints do not smell or if they do, it is very faint. Water based latex primer is used for interior applications such as cabinets, tables, or doors.

If you need to paint something with a larger wood surface, however, use an oil-based paint, as the paint adheres the best.

Regardless of which type of paint you choose, chalk paint or oil-based paint, apply it with any brush, sprayer, or paint roller. The drying time for each coat can vary but remember one thing – wait at least 7 hours after applying the first coat, wait for the paint to dry completely to achieve a smooth surface.

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The matte finish and chalk paint

Chalk paint is a water-based product that sticks to literally all surfaces, the paint adheres to anywhere you apply it to. Chalk paint is great for giving new life to old furniture.

This product creates a smooth matte finish that is very easy to touch up in the right places.

To see if chalk paint is right for your stained wood, apply it in an inconspicuous area, most likely an interior area, and wait until it dries completely, which can take 5 to 10 hours.

Chalk paint may not work if there are streaks, but this is very easy to fix. Address the primer, that is, putty any stains that appear.

When using chalk paint you must go through all the important steps, such as sanding, priming, and basic painting. After the first coat, we recommend waiting half a day or a full night to be sure of proper coverage.

A chalky surface scratches more easily than other types, which is why use a polyurethane coating for better protection. At this point, it may be necessary to wait a week for the painted wood to be exactly as hard as before to achieve full drying.

After that, you can proceed with a thin coat of matte polyurethane, which should dry about overnight. Then, use sandpaper to achieve a perfectly even surface. If necessary, apply additional coats.

How do you get paint to stick to stained wood?

Overpaint the previously stained wood with high-quality water-based latex, oil-based, or spray paint. To achieve the desired coverage, you might need to apply two coats of paint. Before putting on the subsequent coat, ensure the previous coat is totally dry.

After all layers of latex paint have been applied and are completely dry, you need to apply a final coat on the stained surface because this will make your stained wood more protected and long-lasting.

Most often polyacrylic paint or latex paint is used because they give any surface that shines pleasantly to our eyes.

MINWAX Wipe-on Polycrylic Wood Finish

The good thing about this wood finish is that it does not need to be applied by rubbing, so it is suitable for most types of woodwork. In addition, you can get the wood finish in any paint store.

Use a tack cloth to apply the lacquer. Also, make sure that you also get rid of any stains that appear on the glossy surface of the wood during the job, and we recommend that you do this with the varnish. It comes in gloss or satin finishes and has an oil-based polyurethane composition.

What about the advantages of MINWAX Wipe-On Poly?

  • Easy to apply, i.e. you only need an ordinary brush
  • Maintains protection against moisture, chemicals, and stains
  • Can be rubbed down by hand
  • It is a fast-drying product
  • Does not smell

What kind of paint do you use over stained wood?

When painting over stained wood, the steps and supplies remain the same.

How do you paint over stained wood? Always use oil-based paint, latex paint with a water base, or spray paint.

It is better to use a latex primer during the process of painting water-based painted wood. Oil-based primers are more protective while water-based primers tend to be less hazardous and have a better smell.

We recommend that you choose the right color of primer because the final look of your work depends on it.

  • Apply the latex primer or an oil based primer with a brush.
  • Involve two coats of wood paint on top of the primer, for a better result.
  • Do not forget that you need to wait until the previous layer is completely dry before applying the next layer.

Can the stain actually be fully removed?

Even after using sandpaper or liquid sandpaper for painting over stained wood, it is incredibly challenging to entirely eliminate the stain from the surface. Because the stain penetrates the wood’s structure, you can only really get rid of the stain that is visible on the surface.

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What Color Paint Is Best to Paint Over Stained Wood?

Your choice of paint will mostly rely on the task at hand. Oil paint is advised if you’re painting a wooden surface outside. Latex paint can be used to paint wood surfaces. Whether you get chalk paint, one with a matte finish, or one with a glossy finish will also depend on the kind of completion you like.


To summarize, we can conclude that painting painted wood is not such a difficult task, especially if you know all the tips and the most necessary techniques for this work.

Let us know if this article was interesting to you and make sure to share your tips or experiences in painting wood we will be very interested to read about it!

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