Can You Paint Over Stained Wood?

Updated May 26th, 2022

Yes, you can paint over stained wood, but it’s not as simple as just slapping on a coat of paint. You need to use the right primer to make sure the new paint will stick and not be affected by the old stain. Take a look at the steps below to learn how to paint over stained wood.

List of Supplies You Need to Paint Over Stained Wood

The Steps for Painting Over Stained Wood

1. Start by cleaning the stained surface of the wood with a degreaser or detergent. This will remove any dirt or oils that may be on the surface.

2. Next, sand the surface of the wood to rough it up. This will help the paint to adhere better. Alternatively, you can use liquid sandpaper.

3. Remove the sanding dust with a tack cloth. Once the surface is clean, you’ll need to prime it. Use a stain-blocking primer specifically designed for surfaces that will be painted. This primer will help to prevent the stain from bleeding through the paint.

4. Once the primer is dry, choose a paint color that you love and start painting the wood with a latex or oil-based paint. Allow the paint to dry completely before adding any additional coats of paint.

5. Enjoy your newly painted surface!

paint over dark stained wood

What Primer Should I Use?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best primer for painting over stained wood will vary depending on the type of stain that has been applied.

You can use spray paint primer, a water-based latex primer, or an oil-based primer. A water-based latex primer is recommended if you use water-based latex paint. Either way, you will need to use a stain-blocking primer to prevent the new paint from being stained by the old paint.

Some good options for paint primers include shellac-based primers, oil-based primers, and latex primers. Always be sure to carefully follow the instructions on your specific primer in order to get the best results.

Your paint store might also sell paint that already includes a primer. Chalk paint works well without priming. Make sure to follow the instruction for the paint you are using.

What Type of Paint to Use?

The type of paint you use will also depend on the type of wood you are painting. Softwoods, such as pine, are more likely to bleed through paint than hardwoods. If you are painting over softwood, it is important to use a stain-blocking primer to prevent the wood tannins from coming through.

For best results, it is also generally recommended that you use latex paint when painting stained wood, as these paints tend to be more durable and easier to work with than oil-based paints.

Some other factors to consider when choosing paint for stained wood include color, sheen level, and durability.


So, if you’re looking to give your old stained wood a fresh new look, don’t panic! You can definitely paint over it – you just need to take a few extra steps to make sure the paint sticks and the stain doesn’t bleed through.

Follow our simple guide on how to do it, and in no time at all, you’ll have a beautiful new paint job. Just make sure to use the right primer and paint, and you’ll be good to go!

Do you have any other tips on painting over stained wood? Share them with us in the comments below.

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