Is Latex Paint Better Than Oil Based Primer?

It’s not always clear which paint and primer go together while you’re out shopping. Know what you’re receiving so that your wood finishing investment isn’t wasted on the incorrect supplies.

The question of whether or not latex paint may be applied over an oil-based primer is addressed here, along with other helpful information.

How to Use Latex Paint Properly?

One of the most common choices for both amateur and professional painters is latex paint. Coloured pigments and synthetic polymers are bonded together in a water-based medium during production.

Sap from the Brazilian rubber tree (sometimes called “latex rubber”) was formerly used as a binder in the creation of these paints, thus the term “latex.”

three silver paint brushes on white textile

Rubberized paint; latex

Common polymeric polymers used as binders nowadays include acrylic resin and Vinyl Styrene. As a result, you could see products labelled both as “Acrylic latex paint” and “latex paint.”

What About Primers That Are Oil-Based? Plus, Why Make Use of Them?

Primers made of oil may be used with both latex and oil paints. Oil-based primers’ compatibility with latex paints is boosted by the fact that they may be applied over latex.

Moreover, oil-based primers may be an efficient stain remover. This means that new coats of oil paint will not absorb the colours from older coats.

These types of primers are great for using on bare wood both inside and outdoors since they prevent the fresh paint from soaking into the wood’s pores. They also work well for:

Fixing Blemishes and Tears

It’s possible that the wood grains and deep stains on the item you’re painting will remain visible no matter how hard you try to cover them up. A foul stench emanating from it can also fill the space.

Oil priming prior to painting is strongly suggested in this case. Oil primers have excellent concealing power, so stains and smells don’t penetrate the paint for a longer time.

Repairing Water Damage and Other Discolorations

Useful as a coating for metals and wood

Water may do greater harm to unfinished surfaces since there is nothing to act as a barrier, like paint. A latex primer’s greater moisture content makes it particularly damaging to wood and metal.

white and blue plastic pack lot

Therefore, the most reliable primers are those made with oil. After that, you may apply a final layer using whatever Color you choose.

Cleaning and Priming for Oil Paint

When using oil-based paints, it is recommended to start with oil-based primers. Primers and paints made from the same oil can be used successfully together. If you use oil paint with a different primer, the finish will wear off faster.

Priming oil-based

Primer Shellacs

Primers made with shellac are known for curing in less than an hour, making them a popular choice. They are quicker to apply than latex primer and may be used for priming surfaces. To dilute the primer and sanitize the tools, you’ll need denatured alcohol, which is a downside.

Those with very sensitive noses may not like breathing in the odorless fumes generated by the denatured alcohol. When cutting or sealing wood, shellac-based primers are the most effective; nevertheless, you should still wear protective gear to avoid inhaling the fumes.

Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Mix Oil Paints?

Since oil paints take so long to dry, they can’t be used concurrently. Unlike acrylic and latex paints, they need a lot of time to dry. They don’t mix well with other paints; therefore you shouldn’t use them over others.

Since oil and latex paints dry at different speeds, combining them might cause harm to the paint job.

independent paintings

Even while it might be difficult to paint with latex over oil-based primers, the results are definitely worth it if you take the time to do it well.

Reasons Why Oil-Primer Can’t Be Used Instead of Latex

There are advantages to using latex paint versus oil-based primer. However, preparing the whole surface reduces the risk of paint breaking and not adhering properly.

As a result, prior to applying latex paint, the surface has to be adequately prepared. If you follow these steps, you’ll end up with a painted surface that will endure for years.

The oil primer must be gently sanded to provide a smooth surface for the top coat of latex paint to adhere to.

Here are some additional benefits of combining them:

red blue and yellow abstract painting-Latex Paint

  1. Reduces Painting Time

Oil-based paints and primers take a very long time to dry. Therefore, applying them together will increase the duration of your job due to the drying time required for the coats.

  1. Applying Latex Paint to Furniture

High-quality latex paint used over oil-based primer, on the other hand, may cut down on painting time without sacrificing durability.

  1. Superior in Strength and Finish

Latex painters are aware that their medium isn’t as durable as oil paints, so they are continually looking for methods to make their products endure longer. Because primers influence adherence, longevity, and strength, a high-quality primer combined with a lower-quality topcoat will provide excellent results.

Oil primers allow the latex paint to stay on the surface for longer and protect against surface flaws since they are long-lasting and provide greater adherence.

  1. Sustainable practices

Products derived from petroleum are renowned for the high quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released into the environment. Environmentally hazardous paint fumes are produced when oil paint is applied over an oil primer.

Trying out the Cabot Australian Timber Oil paint

The lower levels of toxic vapours released by latex paints make them an attractive alternative to oil paints.

Learn the Telltale Signs of Oil-Based and Latex Paint Coatings

Don’t try to cover over an existing hue with a different paint without knowing what you’re working with. The surface preparation methods are specifically tailored to the sort of paint you’ll be using.

It’s important to check the paint’s label to see what kind it is before beginning a new painting job. However, if you plan on painting over an existing color, you need first do an alcohol test to determine the paint’s composition.

Follow these instructions carefully for the alcohol test:


Supplies For Cleaning

Use a mild detergent diluted in warm water to wipe out the freshly painted surface. After that, dry it off with a fresh towel.

After that, use cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the area.

If the cotton ball remains unaffected by the paint after being rubbed, you have latex paint. You know you have oil-based paint if it peels off.

How to Paint Over an Oil Primer with Latex: 9 Easy Steps

  • Step1: Set Up Shop

Before priming, you must first thoroughly clean and organize your work space. To prime your surface, you’ll need a well-ventilated environment, protective clothes to keep fumes at bay, and open windows and doors.

Wearing protective gear such as a face mask, gloves, and an apron is essential when working with potentially hazardous materials such as latex paint over an oil-based primer.

Mask Respirator “Breathing Buddies”

If you want a smooth and long-lasting finish after priming, you’ll need a large, flat surface, such an underused section of wall or ceiling that you can cover with plastic.

Additionally, please refer to: Ceiling Painting.

  • Step2: clean the area with a damp cloth.

It’s important to thoroughly clean the surface before painting. Surfaces free of filth, grease, pollution, and grime will allow primers to adhere effectively.

The sticky area should be soaked in soapy water for 30 minutes. If you need to perform a lot of cleaning before painting, use a good grade degreasing pre-paint cleaner.

Cleaning the outside of your house or huge pieces of furniture may be sped up with the help of a pressure washer. Before proceeding, let the area dry off.

  • Step3: Remove the Old Paint

Remove the previous oil-based paint by scraping it off. Make use of the electric drill’s wire brush attachment to get rid of paint, dirt, dust, and grime chips. When dealing with chemicals or dust, always use protective eyewear and a face mask.

  • Step 4: Add Sand

Sand the top layer of latex paint to get rid of brush markings after scraping off any loose paint with a putty knife. Sandpaper should be rubbed in a circular manner over the whole region. Sand the wood with enough power for the sandpaper to penetrate the grooves without damaging the wood.

Keep continuing; you’ll need to get rid of any leftover bright spots in the wood if you locate any. Wet a tack cloth and wipe away the dust left by the sanding process, then let it dry.

Once the first layer has dried, you may prime it with fine grit sandpaper and apply a second coat of paint.

  • Step5: Distribute The Primer Generally

Follow the primer’s bottle instructions for best results. Since the latex has a priming layer, it will stick to the oil.

Priming should be done in two rapids, even coats, with drying time in between. You may use whatever shade of primer you desire.

  • Step6: Sand the area once more.

After priming, the wood must be sanded down to a smooth finish. Sandpaper with a 100-grit grit should be used to remove any rough spots in the wood. It is crucial that the latex sticks well to the priming.

  • Step 7: Paint Should Be Applied

Then, using an airless sprayer, roller, or brush, apply one layer of your preferred latex topcoat. Don’t scrimp on the layers; it’s impossible to have too many. It might take as many as five light coats of paint on top of an oil primer to complete the paint.

  • Step 8: Use a Sealant

Finally, to seal porous surfaces and prolong the life of your paint work, use a professional clear coat for wood. After the latex has cured, it may be sealed by rolling or brushing on a sealant. Don’t skimp on paint; the more layers you apply, the longer your project will endure.

  • Step9: Let It Dry

You must wait four hours between coats of latex paint, even if the first coat is dry to the touch after an hour. Your completed product should dry without being touched for at least 48 hours.

Oil paint could dry faster if applied in thinner layers. Reduce the paint’s thickness to speed up the drying process. A fan, space heater, or hair dryer might also be useful in this situation.

Wood stain that dries in the air

Advice & Reminders for Applying Latex Paint Over Oil Primers

Oil-based primers may need up to eight hours to fully dry. Light sanding before applying primer is recommended.

After sanding, make sure the surface is dust-free and allow it to cure completely before painting.

Applying two coats of latex paint over an oil-based primer after allowing the primer to cure for two to four hours is the general rule of thumb.

Primer: Oil-Based Or Water-Based?

Time Required for Drying

Primers made with water-based ingredients should only dry for 30-60 minutes before being reapplied. Because oils don’t evaporate as rapidly as water, oil-based versions take at least four hours to dry.


Primers that are oil-based dry to a harder, more scratch-resistant coating than their water-based counterparts. Water-based primer is just as durable as oil primer, but it breaks down more rapidly in the same environments.

Holding Power

Both types of primers help paint stick better, but oil-based primers are better when applied with the right paint. In terms of versatility, water-based primers are unparalleled.

Consistency and a Proven Method

Since water-based primers are thinner than oil primers, they are less difficult to mix and apply. Also, compared to water-based primers, oil-based primers are more robust, covering surfaces in fewer coats, and reducing bleed-throughs.

When will oil-based primers be dry to the touch?


Applying a primer on a thin layer allows you to go on to the next coat more rapidly since the primer’s solvent evaporates more quickly.

Thick coatings take longer to dry because the solvent has to travel further before it reaches the surface

Priming with oil


Primers stay sticky for a long period because oil cannot evaporate in damp environments. Priming is best done at a humidity of roughly 50%; however, you should verify the brand’s advice to be sure.

Conditions of Heat and Airflow

High temperatures hasten the drying time of oil primers. The primer will stay wet for longer if the temperature decreases since the oils won’t evaporate. If you want optimal results, be sure to adhere to the product’s temperature specifications.

Methods to Quicken the Drying Time

  • Use a quicker-drying oil primer.
  • The chemicals in today’s oil-based primers hasten the drying process. Focus on “Fast-Drying” primers first.
  • Dry in an area with good air circulation and low humidity.
  • humidifier expert
  • Use a dehumidifier in your painting space if the air humidity is too high. Dehumidifiers should be primed during periods of lower humidity.

Recommended Latex Paint: Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 1992502

Paint Sprayer by Rustoleum

Exterior and interior surfaces, as well as metal, stone, wood, and plaster, may all benefit from Painter’s Touch Semi-gloss Acrylic Latex Paint.

It contains little or no volatile organic compounds, making it the ideal latex paint option. It’s dry to the touch after 30 minutes, and completely dry after 1 hour. It takes two to four hours for each layer to dry.

It’s simple to use and produces a smooth finish free of brush marks. You can treat up to 20 square feet with only one quart of this stuff. Unless you’re painting outside in really hot and dry conditions, you won’t need to thin this paint.

Our Top Pick for an Oil Priming Oil:

Zinsser High Hide Cover Stain Primer and Sealer, Rust-Oleum 3554

Primers by Zinsser

When used as a primer or sealer before painting, Zinsser Cover-Stain oil primer-sealer is very effective in hiding even the most stubborn stains.

It’s perfect for cedar and redwood since the tannins in those woods would otherwise leach into paint finishes, leaving them useless. Concrete and metal are also suitable surfaces for this.

The manufacturer recommends waiting up to 24 hours between applications, despite the product drying in an hour between coats.

one quart of this primer is enough to cover 100 square feet, so a little goes a long way.


What kind of paint may I use over an oil-based primer?

Covering an oil-based primer with latex paint is ideal. Remember that oil-based paint won’t stick to latex paint. If you want to apply latex paint over an oil-based primer, you need to make sure the surface is properly prepared.

Can You Help Me Decide Between Water-Based and Oil-Based Primers?

Each one is best suited for a different purpose. Oil-based primers may stink, but they do a good job of covering up any unpleasant aromas the water may bring along with them. Water-based primers, on the other hand, are non-oily and straightforward to use.

Can an oil-based primer be painted over with acrylic paint?

Indeed, an oil-based primer may be used with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is the better option for covering an oil-based primer, although latex paint may be used if necessary. If you want to use latex paint as a basecoat, you may apply a bonding primer first.

What about using an oil-based primer on top of a latex paint job?

Oil-based primers may be used with latex paint. Before applying the oil-based primer, carefully sand and clean the outside. You may now switch between oil-based and latex primers, provided the surface has been adequately prepared.

Are Primers that Use Oil Safe?

It is okay to use oil-based paints. Nothing about them is dangerous to one’s health. However, it’s possible that VOCs might cause health problems if you’re exposed to them for too long. Therefore, if you use a lot of oil-based paint, you should definitely use a respirator.

In other words, can I use water-based paint over an oil-based primer?

Water-based paint is compatible with oil-based primer. Oil-based primers may be used with any sort of finish paint, including water-based paints.


We hope this instruction was useful to you as a whole for your painting endeavours. Keep in mind that you may still use latex paint over an oil-based primer if the surface is properly prepared.

Dust is created after sanding, so clean the surface and let it dry before painting. The next step is to uniformly apply several coats of latex paint over the oil primer.


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