Can You Paint Satinwood Over Gloss

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 26, 2023 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 1 comment

Peoples’ taste in paint has changed dramatically over the years. Before 2010, interior trim such as windowsills and doors were usually painted with oil-based gloss. It stood loud and proud in a room. Nowadays it’s all about satinwood, which begs the question; can you paint satinwood over gloss? Well, I thought I’d take the time to sit down and answer it.

The short answer is, ‘yes’, but there are a few caveats. Gloss, particularly oil-based, goes very hard over time, and develops a sort of film. This can make it difficult to get other paint products, including satinwood, to adhere to it.

There are two main types of satinwood paints – oil-based and water-based. Each takes a slightly different approach. Therefore, I think it’s probably helpful if I talk you through each in turn. I’ll then take you through the best satinwood products on the market.


Painting Over Gloss With Oil-Based Satinwood


Painting over gloss with oil-based satinwood is quite easy, providing you choose a good quality trade paint. Dulux, Crown, and Johnstone’s all have a trade satinwood which is “self-undercoating” and can be applied directly to aged gloss.

Simply sand your glossy surface before you paint, carry out any filling or calking as required, and then paint your satinwood straight on. No issues at all, happy painting!


Painting Over Gloss With Water-Based Satinwood

Painting over gloss with water-based satinwood can be more difficult. After all, your existing gloss is probably oil-based, and everyone knows that water and oil do not mix. That said, there are a lot of advantages to opting for water-based paint. It’s easier to use, better for the environment, and unlike oil-based, will never discolour.

you can paint satinwood over gloss

There are certain water-based satinwood paints that are self-undercoating. WRX Satin and Benjamin Moore Scuff X come to mind straight away. However, most other water-based satinwoods require a coat of adhesion primer before you can apply it. Click here to see the best adhesion primers.

Regardless of whether you use oil, or water-based satinwood, it still doesn’t hurt to aid adhesion the best you can. Always sand your gloss before painting it, and dust it down properly. If the gloss is greasy, then you will also need to give it a clean down too.


The Best Satinwood Products


I thought I’d wrap up by giving you my recommendations on the best satinwood paints. Providing you use something that is good quality, you shouldn’t have an issue painting over gloss. I’m not going to over-complicate things. I’ll just give you three recommendations: an oil-based satinwood, a high-end water-based satinwood, and a reasonably priced, but good quality water-based option.

This section is based on my personal preference, but I have been in the trade over two decades. Choose one of these products and you won’t go far wrong.


Dulux Trade Satinwood

Let’s start with the oil-based option. Dulux Trade Satinwood is available in white, or just about any tinted colour. Flow is good, as is opacity and finish. It is easy to get a great finish with this paint, and unlike some other oil-based paints, it takes many years before it starts to discolour. This is probably the best trade oil-based satinwood on the market.

You can buy this paint directly from Dulux Decorating Centre, but unless you’re entitled to a trade discount with favourable terms, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy this satinwood online. Click here to see online prices.


WRX Satinwood

This is the reasonably priced, but good quality water-based option. You can buy it online from Amazon by clicking here. It is indeed fully water-based, and it has fantastic adhesion, so you can use it to paint over gloss without issue.

WRX Satinwood is only available in brilliant white, but it looks very crisp on your woodwork and dries rock solid, so it will stay looking good for years! This is a paint I love!! Click here to see a full review.


Benjamin Moore Scuff X

This is the high-end water-based satinwood. It comes with a premium price tag, and you can’t even buy it in Brilliant White. However, it does come in 5 different shades of soft white, and the finish is luxurious and deep. Adhesion is great too, so no problem painting over gloss.

I know it’s expensive, and as a decorator I tend to use WRX Satinwood on most jobs, but Scuff X is a different level. This is the paint I have started using in my own house and you can really notice the difference in quality when you see it. It’s easy to use and really does look awesome.

Click here to see online prices.



Do I need to undercoat before satinwood?

Most satinwood paint products are described as “self-undercoating”. This doesn’t mean you can paint them onto bare wood, but it does mean you can use them on previously painted surfaces without an undercoat.

The best advice I can give you is to check the tin. Each product is different.


Can I paint over gloss paint without sanding?

Gloss paint becomes very hard as it cures, which makes it difficult for new paint to stick to. Some paint (like Zinsser BIN) can be used on gloss without sanding, but I’d still be weary. Sanding creates a “key” (thousands of tiny scratches) that new paint can grip to.


Can you paint water-based satinwood over oil-based undercoat?

You can use oil-based undercoat as a base, but you need to leave the undercoat long enough to fully cure (at least 24 hours, maybe longer). But there are so many good water-based primers on the market nowadays, it’s hard to see why you’d opt for oil.

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 26, 2023 | 1 comment

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.

1 Comment

  1. David Crossman

    Should you choose to use it, WRX Satinwood is available in White, Black and Gray.
    Having said that pricing is all over the place and product specs on their website are poorly written and confusing.


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