I’m not sure if you have noticed, but the plaster cornice throughout the house is covered in gloss paint. Traditionally in a house of our age, it would have been painted with a lime wash, which definitely wouldn’t have been shiny and glossy.
We are also aiming for a more contemporary finish and gloss paint just wouldn’t go with the look we are trying to achieve.
This is what the cornice was like when we moved in.
We tried stripping the cornice with a chemical stripper and in parts also tried to use the heat gun.
Nothing really worked and sometimes we probably made things worse, as when bits of the paint did come off sometimes bits of the plaster would break off with it, too.
As you can see, we accidentally broke off the corner of the coving.
If you paint over gloss paint with normal matt emulsion, it just won’t stick and just slides everywhere. Trust me, we tried. Even if you do manage to cover it, the shininess of the gloss eventually comes through again.
In contrast to the more ornate coving of the Victorian era, our cornice is much more understated and simple, which was preferred by the Edwardians. But, it would still be almost impossible to sand all the grooves, not to mention the hours it would take. Luckily we found an alternative.
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This is what you need to paint over gloss paint:
- Sugar Soap (+ Bucket & Cloth)
- Super Grip Primer
- Paintbrush – We absolutely love these ones and have been using the same set for over 8 years!
- Emulsion to finish off the project
How To Paint Over Gloss
Prepare And Clean The Surface You Want To Paint
It’s important to have clean and grease-free surfaces to paint on. We love cleaning anything that we’re going to paint with sugar soap. Thoroughly scrub the area with sugar soap to wipe down the area and then let it dry completely.
What is sugar soap?
Sugar soap is a detergent that you can use on walls or woodwork to clean in preparation for painting. It has a gritty texture that removes all grime and works particularly well on very dirty surfaces like old paintwork or nicotine-stained walls. Most importantly, it doesn’t leave a residue when you’ve rinsed it away and leaves a perfectly clean surface ready to paint.
Prime The Surface
When you’ve cleaned the surface, prime the area with Super Grip Primer.
Super grip primer is an adhesion-promoting primer that is the secret to being able to paint over smooth and shiny surfaces without having to sand them first.
You only need to apply one coat of primer, as it will adhere to the gloss paint really well.
Paint Your Surface With Emulsion
When the primer has dried, the surface will be completely matt and no longer smooth or shiny. Now you can paint over it with any emulsion and it will stick to the surface perfectly.
We always use the same white emulsion to prime our walls. It’s super affordable, covers well and it’s a very clean white which is why we use it for any surfaces that we want to paint white, too.
PAINTING RULES TO REMEMBER
You CAN paint over water-based paint with oil-based paint
You CAN’T paint over oil-baed paint with water-based paint
Ideally, you’ll use the same kind of paint that the surface is already painted in to paint over the surface you’re again
Get The Tools & Supplies For This Project
Using the primer was really easy and so much quicker than having to sand the area.
This is definitely the easiest way to paint over gloss paint!
Most of the cracks and imperfections that were accentuated because of the glossy finish are now barely visible.
The whole room is so much cleaner and brighter than before.
Can you paint straight over gloss without sanding?
Painting over gloss without sanding is possible but there are a few situations where giving the surface a quick sand is necessary and will result in a better finish.
If you are painting over gloss with emulsion on surfaces like cornices or walls, you can prime them with a super grip primer before painting them with emulsion.
If you are painting things like skirting boards, doors, doorframes or anything else that’s timber and has to stand up to more wear and tear you should sand the surface before painting it.
Just a quick rub with some fine sandpaper (about 240 grit) to roughen up the surface is enough to provide a good key for your next coat of paint to stick to.
What is the best way to paint over gloss paint?
The best paint to use to paint over gloss will depend on the surface you want to paint and what paint finish you are using.
To paint over gloss with emulsion paint, you will have to use a super grip primer to prepare the surface. If you are painting over a glossy surface with another coat of gloss, satin or eggshell paint, you can lightly sand and clean the surface and paint it without having to use a primer.
What paint can you use to paint over gloss paint?
You can use any paint to paint over gloss but it’s important to use a super grip primer if you are painting over gloss with emulsion. If you are painting woodwork like skirting boards, doors or doorframes we recommend using satin or eggshell paint.
If you are painting over gloss woodwork with a satin or eggshell finish, you also won’t need to use this primer. Lightly sanding and cleaning will help the new paint adhere. You can read our guide on how to paint wood here.