By Manasa Reddigari and Bob Vila | Updated Feb 8, 2021 3:47 PM

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Painting Over Oil-Based Paint? Rules to Remember - Bob Vila

Q: I’d like to repaint my kitchen cabinets, which had been done with oil-based paint. Must I use oil-based paint for the project, or can I use up some water-based paint I have left over from another job?

A: You’re correct to assume that it’s generally best to use more oil-based paint—in either an alkyd (made with a synthetic resin binder) or natural oil (such as linseed) formula—to refresh surfaces already coated with oil-based paint. Using water-based or acrylic paint when painting over oil-based paint is likely to cause peeling or chipping because those formulas don’t bond well with the naturally glossy surface of oil-based paint.

Yet it’s easy to understand why you’d want to go with water-based paint—it boasts lower volatile organic compound content (and less smelly fumes), faster drying time, and better resistance to discoloration from sunlight. Fortunately, with the proper approach, you can successfully use water-based paint over oil-based paint. Ahead, you’ll find pointers for using whatever paint products you like over oil-based paint.

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Painting Over Oil-Based Paint? Rules to Remember - Bob Vila

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