How to Paint Over Bleeding Paint

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Water

  • Soap

  • Stiff brush

  • Primer

  • Sealer

  • Paintbrush

Treat bleeding or stained paintwork with a primer or sealer before redecorating.

Old stains bleeding through new paint can ruin the look of an otherwise perfect redecoration job. Damp patches, nicotine stains and old oil-based or metallic paint can bleed through fresh paint, leading to unattractive blotches and stains. Take time to prepare surfaces properly before you apply new coats of paint. Always use a specialist primer or sealer when painting over old stains and bleeding paint to prevent the fresh paint from staining. Treat new woodwork and metalwork with sealer to prevent paint bleed.


Step 1

Clean dust, dirt and grease from the surface you wish to paint. Use hot, soapy water and a stiff brush or a specialist paintwork cleaner.

Step 2

Paint over old stains with an aluminum-spirit-based sealer, which is formulated to get rid of materials that might bleed into fresh paint. Use a standard paintbrush to apply a generous coat of sealer.

Step 3

Use an acrylic wood primer to treat new woodwork. This prevents sap from leaking into the new paint. For oily hardwood surfaces, such as teak, use an aluminum wood primer. Apply one or two layers of the sealer with a regular paint brush.


Step 4

Paint all metal surfaces with a specialist metal primer. This prevents rust and corrosion. Some primers will also treat existing rust and prevent the problem from getting worse.

Step 5

Wait for the sealer or primer to dry. Drying times vary, depending on the type of primer or sealer used. Check the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 6

Paint the treated areas with an undercoat, then apply two to three layers of regular paint using standard painting techniques.


Wear protective equipment, such as a face mask and gloves, when applying sealers and some primers. Check the manufacturer’s safety instructions before use.


references & resources