Can you paint emulsion over gloss?

UK Home Improvement

Can You Paint Emulsion Over Gloss?

As matte colours continue to gain popularity across the globe, more people opt to paint their walls with emulsion rather than the once-popular gloss when looking to upgrade their house’s look. When looking to repaint your walls, you might ask if you can paint over gloss with emulsion paint. The answer is yes, but there are factors to consider before undertaking this DIY project.

The water-based nature of emulsion does not mix well with oily gloss finishes. If done incorrectly, you run the risk of the gloss shining through your paint job as time passes, or of your paint job looking texturally inconsistent. You could even end up damaging your walls or ceiling mouldings if you try stripping the gloss paint off under it.

However, with the right materials, a little bit of creativity, and some work, you can paint emulsion over gloss successfully.

Materials for Painting over Gloss

To ensure a smooth finish, you will need to gather materials to clean the surfaces you intend to paint, such as sugar soap, as well as the proper brushes, a super-grip or a similarly-strong primer, and masking tape for clean edges and to avoid mess.

If appropriate, you also might want to consider sanding the surface you plan to paint. Not only does it help remove some of the gloss, but it also makes it easier for your primer to stick and give your surface a smooth finish. If you don’t want to sand, a super-grip primer is a must to create a barrier between the glossy surface and emulsion paint.

Steps to Paint Emulsion Over Gloss

Clean the Area and the Surfaces you Intend to Paint

Make sure your work area is clean and clear of any furniture. Lay down plastic to cover your floors and any surfaces that you want to protect from paint spills or droplets. Use masking or decorator’s tape to protect surfaces around light switches, below cornices, and above the skirting board. You can also use tape to add any clean lines to walls.

Once your area is protected, use your sugar soap and a clean sponge or rag to wash the surface. Apply the soap directly to your walls and thoroughly scrub. Let the walls dry completely.

If Sanding, Sand the Surfaces

Sanding creates fine scratches that give paint and primer a rough surface to stick on. Single-sheet sandpaper should be used at tight corners. Wipe all dust away with a damp cloth and let dry completely.

Add Primer

Primer promotes paint adhesion, making it easier to apply while needing to use less in the long run with top-coat touchups. Most brands of super-grip primer need only one coat, but make sure to read the instructions for the best results.


After letting the primer dry, you can now easily apply the paint of your choice. Although you can use a variety of paints once you apply primer, make sure that you are using the right kind of paint for the surface you’re painting over–you don’t want to use wood paint for drywall. Ensure that the paint is well-mixed before applying, and apply more than one coat if needed.


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