Can You Paint over Polycrylic [A Definitive Guide]

Protective coating helps seal the finished paint of woodworks and preserves their beauty for a long time. But gradually the paint will get old and you will get bored of it. Then to bring the furniture back to its beautiful look, a solution will come in handy; repainting.

can you paint over polycrylic
Image via Piqsels

Polycrylic finish is a common coating for protecting paint in woods. If your furniture or woodwork was previously finished with polycrylic and you want to repaint it, I think a common question should come to mind first: can you paint over polycrylic?

Painting over polycrylic is possible. But to get better results, first, you need to determine the type of the existing polycrylic on the surface, and then prepare the surface accordingly, and finally, you will be able to apply the paint.

Also Read: How to Make Navy Blue Paint

Can You Paint over Polycrylic?

Yes, you can surely paint over polycrylic. However, you need to make sure there is the right type of polycrylic existing on the surface. This is important because you can not apply any type of paint over any type of polycrylic finish.

For example, if you have Minwax polycrylic on the surface, you can not apply oil-based paints. It will peel off eventually. So, first, let’s understand what type of paint is polycrylic.

Polycrylic is water-based. And being water-based means if you want to apply paint over it, the paint needs to be water-based as well. One good example of water-based paint would be acrylic paint.

Does Paint Stick to Polycrylic?

Of course, it will. But you need to make sure you apply it over the proper type of polycrylic and you use proper methods of painting. The proper method of painting includes a good prep phase. A good preparation phase will increase the chance of achieving better results.

What Paint Will Stick to Polycrylic?

Generally speaking, you can choose water-based paints to paint over polycrylic. It will stick to polycrylic properly. However, another good option would be to use acrylic paints. The reason behind this is that both acrylic and polycrylic have polyacrylate resins. And the polyacrylate resin helps bind paint particles.

Are you wondering why acrylic will be a great choice? You see, all types of paints have four things in common; solvent, binder, pigments, and additives. All of these elements have their specific task like pigments are the reason behind the color of the paint, the solvent is used to help the paint particles get dissolved, the binder will help hold the paints together, and finally, additives will work to ensure you a better finish.

From these four elements, only two are going to decide whether you will be able to paint over another paint type or not. This is because whether a paint will adhere to another painted surface or not depends on these elements.

Since acrylic and polycrylic paints contain the matching type of paint binders and solvents, you will get better paint adhesion between paint coats. Hence, acrylics can be considered the best option to apply over a polycrylic finish.

Can You Paint over Polycrylic with Acrylic Paint?

Yes, we have said earlier that acrylic paints can be applied over polycrylic paints. Both acrylic and polycrylic paints are water-based. So, water works as the solvent for both types. And for paint binder, this is the thing that ensures better paint adhesion.

In the case of both polycrylic and acrylic, usually, you will find the binder to be polyacrylate resins. So, having the same solvents and binder makes acrylic paint easily stick to polycrylic paints.

Can You Paint over Polycrylic with Chalk Paint?

You can use chalk paint over polycrylic. Chalk paint is great for wooden furniture, your interior walls, or even fabrics. Chalk paint is water-based. So, it can be used over polycrylic. However, chalk paint is not very durable so this is not the best option to apply over polycrylic.

Polycrylic has a wide range of finishes, from matte to high gloss. Generally speaking, chalk paint will adhere to a polycrylic surface with a satin, semi-gloss, or matte finish. However, if you are thinking of applying it over a polycrylic surface with a high-gloss finish, it’s not quite a good idea. It’s not going to stick to the surface properly.

I would advise you to prepare the surface well before applying the chalk paint over any finish. Remove dust and dirt, clean up the area properly and after ensuring the proper prep phase, move on to applying the chalk paint over a polycrylic surface.

Can You Paint over Polycrylic with Latex Paint?

You can use latex paint over polycrylic. There are two reasons why latex paint is suitable for polycrylic. One is the solvent type and the other is the flexibility. Firstly, latex paint and polycrylic both have the same solvent type; both are water-based. Since they have the same solvents, latex paint sticks to polycrylic.

The second thing I mentioned was flexibility. Depending on the temperature, polycrylic expands and contracts to protect the underlying wooden surface. When the temperature is high, it expands, and when it’s cold, it shrinks. This is how the paint protects the underlying wood from getting damaged by moisture.

But this can be a fact of concern with polycrylic finish when you think of applying a non-flexible paint over it. However, this is not stopping latex paints because latex can also expand and contract depending on the temperature. So, it is compatible with the underlying flexible polycrylic paint.

How Long to Wait before Painting over Polycrylic?

If you want to apply paint over a polycrylic finish, first you need to make sure the finish is properly cured. If you apply paint before allowing the polycrylic to cure properly, moisture can hamper the overall beauty of your finished project. This may result in unclear paint or other problems.

So, giving the polycrylic finish enough time to cure is important. However, the time for proper curing may vary from brand to brand. But generally speaking, you will find polycrylic finishes are drying to touch in about 2 hours.

To be on the safe side, let the polycrylic cure for a day (24 hours) or more. If the weather is humid, you need to give more time; like at least 3 days (72 hours) before thinking of applying any paint.

How Do You Paint over Polycrylic Finish?

If the surface was previously finished with a Minwax Polycrylic, this is the method of painting over it. Before getting started, you need to collect these things first.

  • Acrylic paint
  • Water-based primer
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Wet cloth

Step 1: Sanding the Item

First, go to an open area or select outdoor for sanding because this can result in a complete mess and you don’t want your room to look dusty. You need to thoroughly sand the item. You can use good quality 300-grit sandpaper for this.

Step 2: Cleaning the Item

Now, you need to remove the dust particle left after sanding. Dust and debris will hamper the beauty of the finished item. Use a wet cloth to wipe down the dust.

Step 3: Applying the Primer

You need to use a primer before applying the paint. Apply even coats and cover the entire item with primer. Applying the primer directly from the container may not be a good idea so you can pour it into a paint tray to make your work easier. Finally, after completing, allow it to sit on the surface overnight.

Step 4: Applying the Paint

Evenly apply the first coat of paint. After completing you need to let it rest for a sufficient amount of time. That’s why let it dry overnight. After it’s properly dry, apply further coats.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t know the proper techniques and proper paint types to apply over a polycrylic surface, things can get a little bit tricky. In our article, we made things easier for you. We have discussed the paint types and techniques to apply over polycrylic. So, if you want to paint over an item with existing polycrylic, go ahead, follow our guide, and turn it into a masterpiece.