Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint? A Comprehensive Guide

Bob Thomas
Yes, you can paint over it! But there's a catch: preparation is crucial. Curious about the wax factor? Let's dive deeper to ensure your project shines!

Hello there, Bob Thomas here.

As a seasoned painter and decorator, I've had my fair share of experiences with different types of paints.

One question that I often get asked is, "Can you paint over chalk paint?"

Well, the answer is yes, you can!

But there are a few things you need to know before you start. So, let's dive in.

Quick Summary

Yes, you can paint over chalk paint. However, the process involves several steps: 1) Determine the type of paint to use, 2) Decide whether to sand before painting, 3) Understand the role of chalk paint wax, 4) Gather the necessary supplies, and 5) Follow a step-by-step guide to paint over chalk paint. This article will provide you with all the information you need to successfully paint over chalk paint.

Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is known for its matte finish and its ability to adhere to a variety of surfaces without the need for primer.

However, there may come a time when you want to change the look of a chalk-painted piece.

The good news is, you can indeed paint over chalk paint. But the type of paint you choose to use and the preparation steps you take can significantly affect the outcome.

What Kind of Paint Goes Over Chalk Paint?

Regular Paint

Regular latex paint can go over chalk paint just fine. However, it's essential to prepare the surface properly to ensure the paint adheres well.

This might involve cleaning, sanding, and priming the surface.

Gloss Paint

Gloss paint can also be used over chalk paint.

The high sheen of gloss paint can provide a nice contrast to the matte finish of chalk paint.

But remember, gloss paint tends to highlight imperfections, so thorough preparation is key.

Spray Paint

Spray paint is another option for painting over chalk paint.

It's easy to apply and can provide a smooth, even finish. Just be sure to apply it in a well-ventilated area and protect surrounding surfaces from overspray.

Satin Paint

Satin paint, with its soft sheen, can be a great choice for painting over chalk paint.

It's less shiny than gloss paint but more lustrous than matte paint, providing a nice middle ground.

Do You Need to Sand Before Painting Over Chalk Paint?

One of the benefits of chalk paint is that it typically doesn't require sanding before application.

However, when painting over chalk paint, a light sanding can help the new paint adhere better.

Use a fine-grit sandpaper (around 120 grit) to lightly scuff the surface, then wipe away any dust before painting.

What If You Used Chalk Paint Wax? Can You Still Paint Over It?

If you've applied a wax finish over your chalk paint, you'll need to remove it before painting.

Wax is a water-repellent, which means new paint won't adhere well to it.

You can remove the wax using mineral spirits or a specialized wax remover. Once the wax is removed, you can proceed with painting.

Supplies You Need To Paint Over Chalk Paint

Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand.

These may include:

  • Tarp or drop cloth
  • Protective clothing and gear
  • TSP Cleaner (or another heavy-duty all-purpose cleaner) and Sponges
  • 120 Grit Sandpaper, Sanding Sponges or Blocks
  • Primer (optional but recommended)
  • Paint of your choice
  • Paint applicators

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Paint Over Chalk Paint

Prep Your Work Area

Cover your work area with a tarp or drop cloth to protect it from paint splatters.

Make sure you're working in a well-ventilated area, especially if you're using spray paint or a strong cleaner.

Clean the Surface

Use a TSP cleaner or another heavy-duty all-purpose cleaner to thoroughly clean the surface of the piece.

This will remove any dirt, grease, or oils that could prevent the new paint from adhering properly.

After cleaning, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove any residue.

Sand Old Paint

If the surface of the chalk paint is smooth, a light sanding can help the new paint adhere better.

Use a 120-grit sandpaper, sanding sponge, or block to lightly scuff the surface. Then, wipe away any dust with a damp cloth.

Prime and Perfect

While not always necessary, applying a primer can help create a smooth, even base for your new paint.

This is especially helpful if you're painting over a dark or vibrant chalk paint color with a lighter paint.


Now, it's time to paint! Apply your chosen paint using a brush, roller, or spray can, depending on the paint type.

Remember to apply the paint in thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry fully before applying the next.

Pro Tip: When choosing paint to go over chalk paint, consider the look you're going for and the conditions the piece will be subjected to. For example, if the piece will be heavily used, a more durable paint like gloss or satin might be a good choice.

Safety, Risks, and Considerations

When undertaking a project like painting over chalk paint, it's important to keep safety at the forefront of your mind.

Here are some key considerations:

Safety First

Always work in a well-ventilated area, especially when using products that emit strong fumes such as spray paint or certain types of cleaners.

If you're working indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air in. Consider wearing a mask or respirator for added protection.

Wear protective clothing, including gloves and safety glasses, to protect your skin and eyes from potential splashes or spills.

If you're sanding, a dust mask can help prevent inhalation of dust particles.


One of the main risks involved in painting over chalk paint is the potential for the new paint not to adhere properly.

This can result in peeling or chipping over time. To mitigate this risk, proper surface preparation is key. This includes cleaning the surface thoroughly and, in some cases, lightly sanding or applying a primer.

If you're painting over a waxed chalk paint surface, there's a risk that the wax could repel the new paint. To avoid this, you'll need to remove the wax before painting.


When choosing your paint, consider the final look you want to achieve and the conditions the piece will be subjected to.

For example, if the piece will be heavily used, a more durable paint might be a better choice.

Also, consider the environmental impact of your project.

Choose paints and products that are low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) when possible, and dispose of any waste materials responsibly.

Important: Invest in good-quality safety gear. A well-fitting mask, durable gloves, and safety glasses can make your painting project safer and more comfortable. Remember, safety should always be your top priority when undertaking any DIY project. By taking the right precautions, you can ensure a successful and safe painting experience.


Even with the best preparation, you might encounter a few hiccups when painting over chalk paint.

Here are some common issues and how to troubleshoot them:

Paint Not Adhering Properly

If you notice the new paint isn't sticking to the chalk paint, it could be due to a lack of surface preparation.

Make sure the surface is clean and free of dust or wax before painting.

If necessary, lightly sand the surface or apply a primer to improve adhesion.

Paint Peeling or Chipping

If the paint starts to peel or chip after drying, it could be due to applying the paint too thickly or not allowing enough drying time between coats.

Always apply paint in thin, even coats and allow sufficient drying time as recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Uneven Paint Finish

If the paint finish is uneven or shows brush strokes, it could be due to using the wrong type of paint applicator or not applying the paint evenly.

Consider using a foam roller for a smoother finish, and always ensure you're spreading the paint evenly across the surface.

Paint Color Not as Expected

If the final paint color isn't what you expected, it could be due to the original chalk paint color showing through.

To prevent this, consider applying a primer before painting, especially if you're painting a lighter color over a darker chalk paint.

Personal Experiences

Last year, I decided to revamp an old, chalk-painted dresser that had seen better days.

I chose a vibrant satin paint to give it a fresh, modern look. After cleaning and lightly sanding the piece, I applied a primer to ensure the bright new color would shine through.

The transformation was incredible!

The dresser went from drab and dated to chic and stylish.

It just goes to show, don't be afraid to paint over chalk paint - the results can be stunning!

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs) 

Q. Can I Use Oil-Based Paint Over Chalk Paint?

  A: Yes, you can use oil-based paint over chalk paint. However, keep in mind that oil-based paints have a longer drying time and emit stronger fumes than water-based paints.

Always ensure good ventilation when using oil-based paints.

Q. Can I Use a Paint Sprayer to Paint Over Chalk Paint?

  A: Absolutely! A paint sprayer can be a great tool for achieving a smooth, even finish. Just be sure to clean the surface thoroughly and protect surrounding areas from overspray.

Q. How Long Should I Wait Between Coats When Painting Over Chalk Paint?

  A: The waiting time between coats can vary depending on the type of paint you're using. As a general rule, it's best to wait until the first coat is completely dry before applying the second.

This could take anywhere from a few hours to overnight. Always check the paint manufacturer's instructions for specific drying times.

Q. Can I Distress the Piece After Painting Over Chalk Paint?

  A: Yes, you can distress a piece after painting over chalk paint to give it a vintage or shabby chic look.

This is typically done by lightly sanding the edges and corners of the piece to reveal the chalk paint (or even the original wood) underneath.

Q. How Do I Care for a Piece After Painting Over Chalk Paint?

  A: Caring for a piece after painting over chalk paint is similar to caring for any painted furniture.

Avoid placing hot or wet items directly on the surface, as this can damage the paint.

Regularly dust the piece with a soft cloth, and clean up any spills immediately to prevent staining.

Q. Can I Apply a Clear Coat Over the New Paint for Extra Protection?

  A: Yes, applying a clear coat or sealer over the new paint can provide extra protection, especially for pieces that will see heavy use.

Just be sure to choose a clear coat that is compatible with the type of paint you used.

Q. How Can I Make the New Paint Look More Aged or Antique?

  A: There are several techniques you can use to give the new paint an aged or antique look.

One popular method is to apply a dark wax over the paint, then wipe away the excess, leaving the dark wax in the crevices and corners of the piece.

Another method is to lightly sand the edges and corners to reveal the chalk paint or original wood underneath.


Painting over chalk paint is entirely possible and can give your old pieces a new lease on life.

Just remember to prepare the surface properly, choose the right paint, and take your time with the painting process.

With a bit of effort and creativity, you can transform your chalk-painted pieces into something truly special.

Suggested Products:    

  1. Latex Paint: Behr Premium Plus is a high-quality latex paint that offers excellent coverage and a durable finish. It's perfect for painting over chalk paint, providing a smooth, even finish that will last for years.
  2. Gloss Paint: Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Gloss Paint is a versatile paint that works well over chalk paint. Its glossy finish is durable and easy to clean, making it a great choice for high-traffic pieces.
  3. Spray Paint: Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint provides excellent coverage and a smooth finish. It's easy to use and dries quickly, making it a great option for painting over chalk paint.
  4. Satin Paint: Valspar Signature Satin Paint is a high-quality paint that offers a soft, elegant finish. It's durable and easy to clean, making it a good choice for painting over chalk paint.
  5. TSP Cleaner: Savogran TSP Cleaner is a heavy-duty cleaner that can effectively clean chalk-painted surfaces before painting. It removes grease, dirt, and oils, ensuring the new paint adheres properly.
  6. 120 Grit Sandpaper: 3M General Purpose Sandpaper with a 120-grit is ideal for lightly scuffing the surface of chalk paint. It helps to create a surface that the new paint can adhere to effectively.
  7. Primer: KILZ 2 All Purpose Primer is a versatile primer that works well on a variety of surfaces, including chalk paint. It provides a smooth, even base for the new paint, ensuring a flawless finish.
  8. Paint Applicators: Wooster Brush Paintbrushes are high-quality brushes that provide a smooth, even application of paint. For larger surfaces, the Wooster Brush Roller Frame and Covers are a great choice.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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