What Paint Can I Use To Paint Over Varnished Wood?

Varnished wood has a layer of varnish over the surface, which acts as a sealer and as a layer of protection. This is great for the piece of furniture, as it makes the wood all the more durable. However, it makes it a little more complicated when you want to paint over the wood for a makeover.

Varnish is a very smooth surface, but it is one that doesn’t allow the paint to adhere properly, which means you can’t simply paint over the varnish, as the paint will simply not adhere and will instead quickly begin to peel and come off.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to paint over varnished wood. It just means you have to take a few necessary steps beforehand. Plus you need to use the right materials!

As for the paint that you can use to paint over varnished wood, there are a few options, and as long as you sand down the layer of varnish and apply a primer, you should be good to go.

But the best paint to use is a water-based acrylic paint, paired with the right acrylic primer. You could also use an oil-based paint, but you would then have to pair this with an oil-based primer to match.

Can you paint over lacquered wood?

Lacquer can be easily compared to varnish, and it is essentially a layer of wood finish product that is applied to high-end pieces of wooden furniture. It is quite a modern product that has become increasingly popular, and it is very fast drying and completely transparent, even as it ages, plus it protects the wood from water and other factors. If anything, one of the main differences between lacquer and varnish is that it is a more modern option and that it is often sprayed onto the wood instead of being applied with a brush.

But let’s get to the actual question. Can you paint over lacquered wood?

Well, much like varnish, lacquered wood has a glossy and slick finish, which makes for a terrible surface for painting, as the paint will really struggle to adhere. If you apply the paint straight onto lacquered wood, the paint will most likely peel off and fall, so it will pretty much be a waste of time, effort, and resources.

You can still paint over lacquered wood in a successful manner, you just need to take a few necessary steps beforehand to ensure the paint can properly adhere.

The main step is to condition the lacquered surface of the wood through different abrasion techniques so that you’re stripping away the glossy finish. The new surface will be better suited to paint adhesion, although it is also recommended that you apply a primer first, just to be on the safe side!

Can you paint over varnished wood?

Varnished wood has a glossy and slick coating at the surface that is less than ideal for painting, as the paint will not be able to adhere properly.

Nevertheless, it is still completely possible to paint over varnished wood, you just need to take a few steps beforehand to condition and prepare the varnished wood, so that the paint can adhere.

The main step to take is stripping the top surface of the varnished wood that is unsuitable for paint adhesion. There are several different abrasion techniques for this, and many different products and solvents that can safely remove the coating of varnish to lay the wood underneath bare. Once that coating is removed, the surface that is left should be suitable for the paint to easily adhere, without the risk of it peeling off and falling.

Nevertheless, you should also use a primer matched to the paint that you are using, for the best possible result!

Can you paint over varnished wood without sanding?

The most common solution to painting over varnished wood, is to sand down the coating of varnish, as that is what is stopping the paint from adhering properly. But what if you don’t want to sand down the varnished wood?

Is there another viable option for painting over it?

Luckily, there is! The solution is to use a suitable primer! For example, an oil-based primer will have no issues whatsoever to adhere to the varnished wood, despite the glossy and slick coating on top. And the primer will then provide an ideal surface for the paint to adhere to so that you can paint over the varnished wood successfully.

Do you need to prime varnished wood before painting?

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to primer varnished wood before painting. This is because varnished wood has a glossy and slick coating on top, that prevents the paint from properly adhering, meaning it would just start to peel or come off.

So if you want to paint over varnished wood, you absolutely need to use a suitable primer. The primer will be able to adhere to the varnished wood a lot easier, without causing complications, and the paint will then adhere to the ideal surface provided by the primer.

Alternatively, you could also sand down the coating of varnish, until you reach a surface that the paint can adhere to easily. But again, this would require conditioning and preparing the varnished wood, so you can’t simply paint over it!

How do you paint over varnished banisters?

Varnished banisters need some preparation work, and a good primer in order to be painted over successfully. Here are the main steps on how to do it:

  1. Start by preparing the area around the banisters. They’re a little more awkward to paint than a floor or a wall, so a little more prep is needed! Make sure to clear the stairs and any nearby carpets or pieces of furniture. Then cover the floor and stairs with protective sheets, and mask off anything that you don’t want to be painted with painter’s tape.
  2. As the banisters are varnished, you will first have to sand down the coating of varnish, as the paint will be unable to adhere to it. You should also fill in or repair any damage, to ensure you’re working with a smooth and even surface. Once you’re done, clean the banisters thoroughly and leave them to dry completely.
  3. Next, it’s time to add the primer! This is vital to ensure the paint has a good surface to adhere to, and it will also further help protect the wood. It’s important to use a primer that matches the paint you will use, but we also recommend the use of a specialist wood primer.
  4. Once the primer has completely dried, you can start applying the paint. It should now be able to adhere perfectly, without any issues.

How do you paint over varnished cabinets?

You paint over varnished cabinets in the same way you would paint over varnished banisters. You first need to sand down the surface to remove the coating of varnish, as the paint is unable to adhere to this.

Then you repair and clean, before leaving it to dry and applying a suitable primer. After the primer has been applied and left to dry, you can paint over it, and you can rest assured that the paint will adhere properly.

How do you paint over varnished skirting boards?

Sand down the skirting boards to remove the coating of varnish. Then clean and dry the skirting boards, before you apply a suitable primer that will allow the paint to adhere properly.

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