Painting over oil based paints with latex or water based paint is one of the biggest arguments among even some of the most experience painters.
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Is it Oil or Water Based Test
The test is simple. Use any type of alcohol, vodka and rubbing alcohol and denatured alcohol will all work. Use a alcohol soaked rag that is a different color than the paint and try to wipe the paint off with a few good wipes. Especially some of the newer water based paints will seem like an oil but will then dissolve after a bit more exposure to the alcohol. If the alcohol will not dissolve the paint then it is an oil based paint. SIMPLE.
Can I Paint Water Based Latex Over Oil Based Primer
Using a water based topcoat over oil is possible. However you MUST let the primer dry all the way and sand it down. There still may be fish eyes due to surface tension but this should not cause failure. A small test spot and adhesion test is strongly advised.
Can I Paint Water Based Latex Over Oil Based Paint
Painting over oil based paint can be done with a quality water based topcoat that will bond very well. The surface will need to be sanded fully and cleaned prior and this will eliminate the need for a primer.
Can I Paint Oil Based Paint Over Water Based
Painting oil over water based paint or primer can cause a problem in areas with moisture issues. In high moisture areas the oil based paint can remain unaffected while the water based paint underneath is destroyed. You can paint oil based paint over water based paint but you very well may run into issues in the future.
The Adhesion Test
An adhesion test is always a good idea and can save a ton of work and headache. Sand down one single area and then apply your intended paint system. You can also do two spots to test different primers or the use of one at all. After painting your single spot, let it dry a full 24 hours in good condition. Then place a small “X” slit in the paint film with a knife. Place a piece of blue 3m tape over the area, press down real good and then slowly remove the tape. The tape is usually expected to rip out the center of the X but anymore and you may want to consider a new paint system or method.
So Are Oil Based And Water Based Compatible
Oil and water based paints can be used over one another with proper prep. Sanding the surface COMPLETELY will pretty much allow you to paint over your paint with whatever you paint that need and for whatever reason.