Can You Paint Latex Over Acrylic?

Yes, you can apply latex over acrylic.  Since acrylic and latex are both water-based paints, it’s okay to paint latex over acrylic. You can use both water and oil-based paints over water-based ones.  

However, many facts need to be checked when it comes to using a different type of paint on a painted surface. We know it’s challenging to find a good guide. 

So, here we’re with our detailed guide on “can you paint latex over acrylic.” Keep scrolling down without skipping any part.

Are Latex and Acrylic The Same Paint?

Acrylic and latex aren’t the same even though both are water-based paints. The primary difference between these two would be their chemical composition. 

Acrylic contains chemicals to adjust with weather and temperature while latex doesn’t.

Comparison FactorsLatex PaintAcrylic Paint
Drying time1 hour or less20-30 minutes 
Coatings Up to 3-4 coats according to artist’s preferences 1 or 2 layers would work just fine
Key Ingredient Acrylic polymer or vinylSynthetic resin
Durability & Affordability Latex paint although is affordable and cheaper than acrylic, they aren’t as durable Acrylic paint is known to be very durable, lasts over years and barely fades. It will be a bit more expensive than latex
Best usageDrywall & plaster Very versatile, works on every surface 

As you can see, acrylic paint takes less than half an hour to dry. Still, if you want to hasten the process, you can make acrylic paint dry faster.

Will Latex Paint Stick to Acrylic?

It’s a known fact that every oil-based and water based paint will stick to acrylic. Since latex is a water-based paint, it’ll adhere perfectly to acrylic painted surfaces. 

However, take a look at what other paints can stick to acrylic paint with the initial pro tip.

Different Paints
Can You Directly Use It Over Acrylic Paint?Do You Need to Use a Primer Before Using It Over Acrylic?
Oil-based paintsYes (once the acrylic has completely dried)Yes (it’s not mandatory, go with it if you want good finish) 
House paintsNo (you need to prep the surface first) Yes
Spray paintsYesNo

How to Paint Latex Over Acrylic? 

Painting latex over acrylic would be very effortless if you follow the right method. So, let us walk you through the detailed steps of the process.

Step-1: Prepping the Surface

While working on an acrylic-painted surface, you need to apply primer. But the surface needs to be cleaned thoroughly before you do so. 

You can use a cleaning brush or damp cloth for this. Once you’re done with the clean-up, sand the surface to create a smoother surface. And then, it’s time to apply a primer. Use a water-based (as solvent-based primers are for oil-based paints) primer on the surface.

If you’re going to apply latex paint on a newly acrylic-painted surface, make sure the acrylic paint is completely dry first. It’s crucial to know how long acrylic paint takes to dry so you can take the steps accordingly.

Step- 2: Diluting the Paint

While adding water to the latex paint, you need to be accurate with the water quantity. The amount of water varies depending on particular paint brands. 

However, on average, 1.6 cups of water would be fine for 1 gallon of paint. 

Note: None of the latex paint brands recommends more than 4 cups of water. Be careful about this. 

Excessive water can damage the surface. And make sure you apply the primer on a clean surface.

Step- 3: Time to Add Some Colours

Now you’re all set to beautify the surface you chose. You can apply 2-3 coats of latex. This might not be necessary in some cases as latex comes with excellent coverage. 

However, before applying every layer, make sure the previous coat has dried completely.  Each layer might take 1 hour or so to dry. Otherwise, the underlying acrylic layer might show up.

Step- 4: Results Check! 

Once you’re done with painting, let the surface dry for 4 hours. Lastly, varnish the surface for a better outcome, and you’re done.


Painting latex over acrylic can be really easy if you maintain the steps properly. Prepping the surface and the latex paint is the main challenge.

How to Seal Latex Paint Over Acrylic-Painted Surface? 

It’s not mandatory to seal latex paint over acrylic paint. If you want to be on the safe side, here are the steps:

  1. Sand the surface using fine grit sandpaper.
  2. Wipe the sanded area using a damp cloth to remove any bumpy sanding particle
  3. Now use a paint brush to apply a thin layer of sealer 
  4. The drying time depends on the manufacturer’s manual, it may take 1-2  hours
  5. Lastly, sand the sealed surface once it has dried completely with fine-grit sandpaper and you’re done

What Primer Should I Use for Latex Paint?

Although latex is a water-based paint, it’s best to use oil-based primer on acrylic painted surfaces before using latex. Oil-based primers make the paint versatile enough to sit on every surface. 

You might consider using water-based primer but that would go well with acrylic paint. Latex paint requires oil-based or solvent-based ones to sit appropriately, stay longer and look more sophisticated.

Why Would I Paint Latex over Acrylic?  

You might need to brighten your acrylic-painted surface after a certain period. This is when we choose latex instead of another acrylic paint session. Here’s why:

  1. Latex paint is more pocket-friendly than acrylic.
  2. You can clean off latex using just water and soap.
  3. This paint contains safe components. Thus, it creates fewer fumes.
  4. It’s full-coverage paint. One or two coats will be more than enough for any surface. 
  5. You don’t have to worry about any kind of cracking or peeling in the case of latex.

Drawbacks of Painting Latex over Acrylic

It’s about more than just the great benefits; there are negative traits of painting latex over acrylic as well. So, it’s time to check out the potential issues you might face by:

  1. Latex paint isn’t as durable as acrylic paint
  2. It isn’t 100% water resistant 
  3. Wear and tear can damage the paint easily

Can I Mix Latex & Acrylic Instead? 

Yes, you can mix acrylic and latex since both are water-based. The only difference between these two would be acrylic contains chemicals, but latex doesn’t. 

However, an artist would not consider mixing these paints for durability or texture issues. Mixing acrylic and latex can bring you really pretty shades that are rare.

However, here’s how you can mix latex and acrylic. 

  1. Take a small amount of latex from the can in a container
  2. Put a small chunk of acrylic into the latex paint. (Don’t use large portions of paint, the acrylic amount depends on how dark you want the paint’s shade to be. If you’re covering large areas, consider mixing paint as large as you can use before it dries out.
  3. Use a brush to mix the paints thoroughly and that’s all. 

Type of Latex

Before mixing these different paint types, you have to consider some factors. Most significantly, liquid latex is wall paint. So, mixing it with acrylic and using it for artwork wouldn’t help at all. 

The liquid latex can interrupt the acrylic particles’ blending process, which causes undesired outcomes. Moreover, it can delay the drying time. So, the best option is to use interior latex instead of exterior one. 


Acrylic and latex paint should be mixed in a 4:1 ratio. If you use a cup of latex, use the smallest chunk from the acrylic tube.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you paint latex over acrylic primer? 

Acrylic primer, as in water-based primer, can help any paint stick to the surface. Especially water-based paints, which latex is. The primer makes the surface more durable. 

Will acrylic paint stick to the latex mask? 

Yes, it will, since acrylic and latex are quite similar, and they blend well with each other. Latex doesn’t contain any chemical fumes to interrupt the acrylic layer. So, you’re allowed to paint acrylic over the latex mask.

Can you paint latex over existing acrylic? 

Yes, after prepping the wall. You need to use sandpaper and cleaning brushes for this. Next comes priming the surface, and then you’re good to go. 

Taking Away

An artist never backs off while trying new things. So, it was fair for you to ask, “can you paint latex over acrylic?” 

Now that you know all the significant details, you can use latex over acrylic for your convenience. Make sure you follow all the rules and the guide from us. 

Although mixing the paints is an option, it isn’t certified to go well all the time. Now it’s up to you. Good luck!

Leave a Comment