Can You Paint Emulsion Over Gloss?

Today’s topic is going to be a nice, short, and sweet little article. The question of the day is whether or not you can paint emulsion over gloss. We actually covered the inverse of this earlier in our article, “Can You Gloss Over Emulsion Paint?” so we’re going to skip a few of the big bits. If you haven’t already, you should go on over and read that article as it gives a good amount of important background information that we’re going to assume you know in this one.

Can you paint emulsion over gloss? The short answer is yes, but you shouldn’t.

Let’s talk about why, shall we?

Emulsion Over Gloss: Why or Why Not?

Okay, so in this one’s sister article, we discussed the actual foundation of emulsion and gloss paints. The long and the short of it is that emulsion paints are water-based, while gloss is oil-based. In case you didn’t know, water and oil don’t exactly mix very well! We also talked about the importance of primer and undercoat, specifically when painting your home.

For those who didn’t read the sister article, primer and undercoats allow your top paint layer to go on smoothly and stick properly. A good primer and undercoat results in a drastically better looking final coat that’s smoother and less prone to damage and failure over time. That means that we’ve got one answer for the question above – no, you should not paint emulsion over gloss.

In other words, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Painting emulsion over gloss will result in one of two things without proper preparation:

  1. The emulsion paint won’t stick and will drip. That’s not good.
  2. The emulsion paint will stick, but not very well. This will result in odd textures and weird patches that don’t match the rest of the paintjob.

I Need to Paint Now

If you’re absolutely dead-set on painting right now, there is a solution that doesn’t require stripping your wall and redoing the entire job.

You can sand your walls! This will rough up the gloss finish and give it a place to stick. Before we wrap for the day, though, I have to clarify something once more.

Painting emulsion over gloss is not the way that professionals do it for one reason – it doesn’t really look as good as if it was done right.

If you care about the appearance of your final paint job (which I hope you do), please – redo the paint job. I know it’s a pain, but it will look drastically better than if you didn’t.

Final Thoughts

That was a nice, short one, wasn’t it!? The short answer to whether or not you can paint emulsion over gloss is yes, you can. However, you really shouldn’t. It can result in several less-than-ideal final looks that are, well, not great. If you have the time and money to remove the original paint layer, resand, reprime, and repaint, it’s highly recommended that you do so.

You don’t have to, but you also don’t have to use a primer to paint. But once again, professionals do that for a reason – because it works better than if you don’t.