Can You Put Latex Flat Paint Over Latex Semigloss Paint?

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Glossy paints are best used in high-traffic areas.
Glossy paints are best used in high-traffic areas. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Painting is one of the most inexpensive home repairs that brings things back to life, be it rooms, furniture, cabinets or other painted objects. Flat latex paint can go over a latex semigloss paint, but you must use a few techniques to prepare a surface for a new paint finish. Tools, such as paint buckets, rolling pans, brushes and rollers, are readily available at home repair supply stores and come in an assortment of sizes to fit your painting needs.

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Flat Paint Uses

Flat paint is best used in areas where there is low traffic. It is less expensive than glossy paint. It is also a low-luster paint and reflects very little light. Flat paints are porous and not washable, making them an easy target for stains such as handprints and dirt. Because of its characteristics, flat paints are best used in closets, on ceilings and any other less traveled area of a home. Flat paints are flexible and can be painted over other finishes as long as any glossy finishes are removed from the surface first.

Semigloss Paint Uses

Semigloss paint does not shine as brightly as a high-gloss finish, but still has sheen and reflects light well. Its semigloss finish is washable, helping to deflect dirt and stains. It is highly recommended for use in kitchens and bathrooms for its resistance to moisture, as well as on door and window trim pieces and walls. Because semigloss paint finishes are made to repel debris from its surface, you must remove its sheen before applying any paint over it.

Remove the Gloss

Removing the gloss from a high sheen finish is a simple process and important for making a flat paint stick to the semigloss surface. Rub sandpaper across the surface until it no longer reflects any light. Flat paint needs a rough surface for it to stick properly. If the area is not sanded and the flat paint is applied directly over the semigloss finish, your risk of paint peeling becomes greater, and you will have to refinish it.

Surface Preparation

To avoid any future problems with paint durability, it is always best to prepare the surface for paint first. When the gloss is removed, dirt is created and sticks to the surface. Wash it with soap and water and wait for it to dry. Repair any damage, such as scratches or holes, because flat paints show more imperfections than semigloss finishes. Use a primer to make the surface even and level and to seal any putty or spackling, then use the flat paint to finish the job.

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