Can You Paint Enamel Over Lacquer? [Explained!]

It’s okay for a novice painter to be confused about paint-mixing processes. You might get puzzled about which paint goes over what. So, what about enamel over lacquer? Is it okay to mix the two options?

It’s okay to paint enamel over lacquer only when the lacquer is dried and cured properly. Otherwise, the strong and fast evaporating feature of lacquer might dissolve the enamel paint resulting in cracking or completely ruining the paint finish.

Keep reading the piece to know other crucial factors relating to enamel over lacquer so you don’t make a mess while handling your favorite paint job.

Is Lacquer A Good Undercoat?

Yes. Lacquer paint solvents are very hot and evaporate quickly, meaning that the paint cannot be sprayed on in a thick coat or it won’t work properly. This paint dries onto the surface hard, leaving a very thin film of paint. These properties make lacquer an ideal undercoat for any other paint product you want to use. You can overcoat lacquer with other lacquers, enamels, paints, and acrylics.

Can You Paint Enamel Over Lacquer?

Yes, you can overcoat lacquer with enamels and acrylic enamels once it has dried completely. The dryers and carriers in these paints won’t cause the cured lacquer to soften because they don’t produce as much heat as those found in lacquers. Enamel should be applied in multiple thin coats and allowed some time between each layer so that each can thoroughly dry.

Can You Use Enamel Paint Over Lacquer Primer?

Lacquer primer can be used as a base for enamel paint, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, lacquer primer will need to be sanded before enamel paint can be applied on top. Second, using a lacquer-based primer may make the enamel paint more susceptible to chipping or flaking off over time. If you do decide to use a lacquer primer as a base for your enamel paint job, make sure to apply several thin coats of paint and let each coat dry completely before adding another.

Can You Paint Lacquer Over Enamel? Read Here!

What Paints Can Go Over Lacquer?

Not all paints can be used over lacquer. Let’s take a look at some of the options that you can use as topcoats over lacquer materials.

  • Enamel Paint
  • Chalk Paint
  • Latex Paint
  • Sheen Paint
  • Milk Paint

Enamel paint sets easily on a lacquer surface creating a nice and even finish. It has a strong bond with the substrate because of its oil-based formula. However, before enamel paint can be used over the lacquer surface it needs to be sanded and primed.

Chalk paint is another type of paint that can be easily applied to lacquered surfaces and materials. It is ideal for those who want a long-lasting finish over lacquer. Applying chalk paint over lacquer without sanding is not recommended. This is bad for the matte finish of your furniture.

Latex paint can be applied to lacquer surface and material, but it needs to be sanded first. It also needs a primer for proper adhesion and is not ideal for long-term use. You may need to repaint again soon.

Sheen paint is available in a variety of sheens, including eggshell, satin, matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. If applied correctly, these paints can also be used over lacquer. The correct way to apply sheen paint is the same as for any other paint, though it does depend on the final surface.

Milk Paint can be used on an assortment of surfaces like lacquer and MDF, as well as metal. Milk paints’ natural water-based formula goes well with these materials.

Painting Enamel Over Lacquer: Prep Work

Anyone can get a superior paint performance and a paint job that turns out as expected, by ensuring proper surface preparation. It is the best way to ensure the paint sticks. Make sure that any structural or other defects are corrected first. If you use any repair products such as fiberglass, fillers or Bondo make sure they are thoroughly dry prior to applying the paint. If these products haven’t cured and the primer or finish paint traps any solvents from the repair products, the paint will peel off due to high solvent levels.

Another important thing involved in getting the best results is the compatibility of primer and finish coats. A smooth finish is harder to achieve when the paint is not primed well, or when an incompatible primer is used. For best results, be sure to use a primer designed for use on lacquer surfaces before painting.

And the most important step in painting over a previously cured lacquer is waiting for that coat of primer to completely dry. When painting use even strokes and try not to go over any areas more than once. If everything goes according to plan, your new paint job should last for years without issues.

Can I Paint Over Lacquer Without Sanding?

If you’ve ever wondered if you can paint over lacquer without sanding, the answer is yes! However, there are a few things you need to do first in order to get the best results. Before painting over lacquer, it’s important to clean the surface well.

This will help the new paint adhere better and also prevent any peeling or chipping down the road. Once the surface is clean, be sure to roughen it up a bit with some sandpaper. This will create a “tooth” for the new paint to grip onto.

If you’re using an oil-based paint, you can skip this step. Just be sure to use a primer designed for use on lacquer surfaces before painting. With latex paints, however, it’s always best to use a self-priming formula so you don’t have to worry about two coats of paint (and possible color differences).

Once your primer is dry, you can start painting! Use even strokes and try not to go over any areas more than once. If everything goes according to plan, your new paint job should last for years without any issues.


If you’re wondering whether you can paint enamel over lacquer, the short answer is yes! Enamel paint can be used over lacquer, as long as the surface is properly prepared first. However, it’s important to note that painting enamel over lacquer is a bit more complicated than painting other types of paint over lacquer.

The key is to make sure that the surface is clean and free of any grease or dirt before starting. Once the surface is prepped, you can begin painting with your desired color of enamel paint. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

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