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Can You Paint Over Polycrylic? (All You Need to Know)

We often use polycrylic on our wooden furniture to protect it from damages caused by the penetration of solvents, air, etc. Using polycrlylic also has a side benefit which is, it gives the furniture a nice, glossy, and shiny finish.

However, after some time we might get an urge to repaint the wooden piece in order to bring a change. But, there rises a question. After already using a protective finishing layer is it possible to paint over it?  

With correct preparation, you might be able to bring that soothing change to your wooden piece by following the tips given here.

Can you paint over polycrylic? 

It is possible to paint over polycrylic using water-based paint since polycrylic itself is water-based. However, oil-based paint cannot be applied over polycrylic. If the protective layer of polycrylic has been shrugged off from the wooden piece it is possible to use oil-based paint.

It might be confusing to comprehend which paint is water-based and which is oil-based. Hence, below provided are some detailed explanations to help you regarding which paint is appropriate to paint over polycrylic.

Latex paint:

Latex paint is water-based. So, after following few appropriate steps it is possible to use latex paint to paint over polycrylic.

As latex is water-based, it will properly get adhered to on the surface of the wooden piece. 

KILZ Interior/Exterior Enamel Porch & Patio Latex Floor Paint, Low-Lustre, Slate Gray, 1 gallon

Spray paint:

Spray paint is predominately oil-based. Using spray paint over polycrylic will result in the paint getting peeled off.

In order to use spray paint over that piece of wood, any residue of polycrylic needs to be completely removed, or else the paint will not stay on the surface. 

Montana BLACK 400ml Popular Colors Set of 12 Graffiti Street Art Mural Spray Paint

Chalk paint:

Chalk paint is water-based. So, it is safe to say we can use chalk paint rather smoothly to paint over polycrylic.

Rust-Oleum 285140 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint 30 oz, 30 Fl Oz (Pack of 1), Linen White

Can you paint over polycrylic without sanding?

No, you strictly cannot paint over polycrylic without sanding. Sanding is essential as it will remove polycrylic and any dust or other sort of particles from the surface which will assist the paint to stick smoothly and evenly.

If you apply the paint directly without sanding, chances are high that the paint will peel off. This is because polycrylic or any sort of excessive particles adhered to the surface creates a barrier.

The barrier will stop the paint from sticking to the surface of the wooden piece. Whereas, sanding the wooden piece with 200 or 300 grit sandpaper will generate a smooth surface.

Sanding is one of the main components which makes it possible for you to paint over polycrylic. Let’s not forget to sand properly before repainting.

How to paint over polycrylic? 

To paint over polycrylic certain steps need to be followed. Each step makes it possible for you to paint over polycrylic. Therefore, to make sure the paint does not peel one must follow these steps correctly.

Start with sanding:

The very first and important step would be to sand the piece of wood properly using 200 or 300 grit sandpaper.

It is essential to remove as much polycrylic as possible so that the surface becomes smooth and available for the paint to adhere to.

Even though it gets messy but sanding plays a vital role. Without sanding it is not possible to paint over polycrylic.

Wipe of the wood:

The next step would be to wipe down the piece of wood with a cloth absorbed in alcohol or water.

This step makes sure the excess particles are completely removed from the surface.

Prime the surface:

In this step, the wooden piece needs to be coated properly with a primer. Two primer coats are recommended as some part of the first coat might get absorbed. 

The second coat will replenish the primer that has been absorbed. The primer will prevent the paint from getting absorbed by the material.

Any sort of moisture gets absorbed so the primer creates a base for the paint which makes it possible for the paint to get applied evenly without getting absorbed.

Leave the primer to dry:

This step includes keeping the primer coat on the wooden piece overnight so that the primer dries accurately. 

It is very important for the primer to dry or else the paint will result in a disaster.

Coat with water based color:

The final step includes using a layer of acrylic or latex paint over the wooden surface. It needs to be kept overnight for the paint to dry.

The next day, the second layer of paint needs to be used over the first coat of paint. Two layers of paint create better durability as some part of the first layer might get absorbed.

How to prepare polycrylic for paint?

If not prepared and applied correctly, polycrylic will leave a bumpy finish. Follow these tricks to get your desired smooth finish.

Stirring and using the correct brush:

After opening the can, the polycrylic needs to be stirred gently using a synthetic bristle brush.

Shaking or doing otherwise will create air bubbles, leading to a bumpy finish. Stirring the polycrylic gently is essential.

Clean work area and surface:

The surface needs to be present in an area that is remotely dust-free. Having dust around will only slow down the entire process as it will be needed to be repeated.

Applying polycrylic:

After preparing the polycrylic and the surface, it should be applied gently with thin, long, and even strokes to get the perfect finish.

How long should polycrylic dry before applying paint? 

It takes approximately two hours for polycrylic to dry. However, it is advised to wait 24 hours for the polycrylic to dry properly.

In these 24 hours, the polycrylic is delicate even though it is allowed to lightly handle the surface after 3 hours.

Painting over polycrylic requires sanding so it definitely requires a minimum of 24 hours to dry properly before it can go through the process of harsh sanding. 

What can you not paint over polycrylic?  

Any oil-based paint such as spray paint cannot be used to paint over polycrylic. The paint will result in getting peeled off as polycrylic is water-based and it does not allow oil-based paint to get adhered on its surface. 

It is possible to paint over the surface which has already been protected by polycrylic, using oil-based paint under certain circumstances. Such as sanding. 

How to apply polycrylic over paint? 

The polycrylic needs to be applied gently using long, thin, and even strokes. It is advised to use a synthetic bristle brush for the process.

The polycrylic needs to be gently stirred first before applying it to the surface, to avoid any unnecessary bubbles causing a bumpy finish.

It is advised to use long strokes in one direction because doing it otherwise might leave a messy pattern on the surface.

Applying 2-3 coats is wise because it creates a stronger protective layer. Between each coat, the surface needs gentle sanding. Sanding makes the surface smoother.

Final thoughts

To sum it up, it is possible to paint over polycrylic using water-based paint such as acrylic and latex. Using oil-based paint will result in the paint getting peeled. Certain steps need to be followed to get a nice and fine layer of paint over a surface that has been protected using polycrylic.