Can You Paint Over Varnish? – The In-Depth Guide

November 26, 2020


Ready to start your painting project? Have a read through this article to find out if you can paint over varnish, as well as some top tips to keep in mind when painting over varnish!

Varnish is a thick, transparent coat that is used to protect and give shine to surfaces. Varnishes are usually made of three components: a resin, a drying oil and a solvent or thinner. Different varnishes are a mixture of the same three components but can have slight variations in them.

Painter and decorators commonly use varnish on wooden surfaces, like those that are part of tables, doors, staircases, and flooring. Now you may want to re-paint your wooden furniture to give it a new look, and the question thus arises - can you paint over varnish?


Painter and Decorator Price Guide

Thousands of people ask Bidvine for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.
Price Range
£
££
£££
££££


Can You Paint Over Varnish?

The quick answer to that question is – yes, you can paint over varnish. That is, given that both the varnish and wood are in good condition. Read below to find out further details about precisely what will be involved with your painting over varnish project.


Fix Damaged Wood First

If you are planning a painting project that involves coating varnish it’s important to take a look at the condition of the varnish and wood first. Does the varnish have damages or cracks? If so, a professional may need to strip the varnish completely before beginning the project.

Next look to the wood. Does the wood have splinters or damages? Has it begun to rot? If any of these issues appear then a carpenter will need to fix this first.


Image Credit


If you would like to preserve the piece and keep it in its best condition then it is essential to fix the wooden structure of your furniture first. This will provide the painter and decorator with a solid structure and protect your furniture from becoming further damaged in the long run.


Cleaning is a Must

In addition to ensuring that the furniture itself is in top shape, you’ll need to clean it as well. If you don’t have a need to repair your furniture then you may choose to clean it on your own before your painting professional arrives. Don’t have time? Simply let your expert know ahead of time so they can bring the proper cleaning supplies.

No matter whether you DIY the cleaning step or a professional tackles it, cleaning is nonetheless a must. Cleaning your wooden furniture ensures that no dust bunnies or cobwebs are left clinging to the piece, which could get trapped in the paint.

In many cases, some dishwashing liquid mixed with water and lightly used with a soft cloth to remove dust should be sufficient. In other cases, if the furniture is especially stained a professional may choose to use a stronger cleaning agent to ensure your piece is pristine before they begin the painting process.


Painter and Decorators near you
Thousands of people across the U.K. ask Bidvine for help with their projects every year. Tell us what you need so we can bring you the right local professionals for your project.


Before Painting, Sand First

Paint does not generally stick well to varnish without treating the varnish ahead of time. So to get a smooth professional look if you plan to paint over varnish it will need to be expertly sanded first. This should be done by a furniture refinishing professional.


Image Credit


It is important that the varnish is sanded well enough to create a surface which the paint will stick to, yet isn’t sanded so firmly that it ruins the furniture itself. So, it is best to let a professional take care of this job.


Or, De-Gloss it

If you have a large surface to work with, your professional may choose to use a de-glosser instead of sanding. Then again, depending on the project it may need a combination of both!

A de-glosser is essentially a chemical that will remove the finishing. Similar to paint, you can apply de-glosser with a paint-brush. After painting the de-glosser on then leave it to set for the allotted period of time. After the de-glosser has set for the right amount of time, then a professional will wipe your piece clean so they can then apply the paint.


Prime The Surface

Once the surface has been prepped then your professional will next prime the surface. Similar to de-glosser and paint, the primer will be applied to the surface with a paint brush. This ensures a smooth application in all areas of the piece, even around corners.


Image Credit


Priming is a critical step as it will help to ensure that the paint sticks completely and evenly to the surface. Keep in mind that after your painter has applied the primer that they will need to let it dry before they begin painting, so be sure to account for this when considering the length of the project.


Now, You Can Paint Over Varnish

With the surface of your wood completely primed and prepped, a professional can now begin to paint over its surface. You can choose from a wide variety of options for your paint colours. If you aren’t sure which option to choose, look to the rest of your decor for inspiration. To create a cohesive look, match your paint to the colour of your other furniture. Alternatively, for something a bit bolder opt for a bright colour to really make your piece stand out!


Summary

Overall in response to your question – can you paint over varnish, the answer is yes! It’s simply important that when you do, you approach it in the right way. By following the steps above, your professional will be able to smoothly paint over varnish to create an ideal piece for your home.

Ready to hire a painter and decorator and get your project underway? Simply submit a free request and get bids from local painter and decorators in your area! 



Featured Image Credit



Related Articles
Painting New Plaster - Everything You Need to Know
Painting new plaster is often a key step to transforming the walls and ceilings in your home. Creating smooth, freshly painted walls and ceilings is an easy and cost-effective way of giving your home a makeover. However, there is a lot of conflicting advice online on what the best methods and practices for painting new plaster are.

There are so many things that you need to consider before painting new plaster. Should you seal your fresh plaster with PVA? What type of paint should you use on new plaster? Should you treat skimmed plaster differently to a surface that has been fully plastered? In this article, we will answer all of those questions and more. We will take you through every aspect of plastering and painting so that you can confidently redecorate your home.

How Long Does It Take for the Plaster to Set?

The length of time it takes for the plaster to set will entirely depend on the type of plaster that you use. Below, we have a list of common types of plaster, what you can use them for, and how long you will have to wait for it to set. Once the plaster has set, you should still make sure that you wait for it to totally dry before attempting to paint it.


Type
Use
Setting Time
BrowningBasecoat for walls, brickwork, blockwork, breeze block, plasterboard 2 hours
BondingBasecoat for walls, brickwork, blockwork, breeze block2 hours
Multi-FinishTopcoat for browning and bonding1-1.5 hours
Board FinishTopcoat for plasterboard1-1.5 hours
One CoatSmall DIY jobs2-2.5 hours

How Long Should You Wait Before Painting New Plaster?

One of the most common questions that arise about plastering and painting is how long you have to wait before painting new plaster. Above all, recently plastered walls should be left to dry thoroughly before any painting begins. The time you should wait before painting new plaster depends on several factors. Firstly, have you used plasterboard, or backing plaster?

Plasterboard takes on average 2-3 days to dry when plastered, whereas backing plaster takes 4-6 days.

No matter what material you have used, it is advisable to wait at least a week before painting new plaster. Sometimes it may even take up to a month for the fresh plaster to be completely dry. You should ensure that there are no dark patches on your freshly plastered surface before you attempt to paint it. Uniform light colour is a key sign that your plaster has dried thoroughly. We have included images below of to show you what the drying process looks like so that you will know what to look out for. Even if your plaster is only showing a couple of small, dark patches, you should only start painting when they disappear.

But… Isn’t a Week a Long Time to Wait?

A week may seem like a long time to wait, and it’s understandable that you may get frustrated with the delay. But, if you want to achieve the perfect finish, the wait time will be worth it. The time fresh plaster takes to completely dry will differ in every case. Factors such as the time of year, central heating, and how many layers of plaster there are will affect the time that it takes.

You should make sure that the room that has been plastered is well ventilated. Opening windows and doors to let natural ventilation flow through the room will gently dry your new plaster. This will also help you to avoid the risks associated with rapidly drying new plaster, such as cracking.


Wet-Plaster-1-1



Dry-Plaster-1

...read more
10 Inspiring Hallway Paint Ideas That Will Elevate Your Home


The first area anyone sees when they enter your home is the hallway, so it’s important to get your hallway paint colour right. It sets the tone for your decorating style! It also gives people an impression of your home as a whole. 

The right decisions can make your home seem welcoming, fresh, and trendy. A coat of paint is a cost-effective and simple way to update your look. Plus, a good hallway design complements the rest of your home. 

We’ve collected 10 of the most inspiring hallway paint ideas to help you get started with your transformation. So read on to find the idea that sounds great for your space!

Already have an idea in mind for your interior painting project? Get free painting costs from a top interior painter and start planning out your project today!

 

10 Inspiring Hallway Paint Ideas


10 Inspiring Hallway Paint Ideas


1. Make It Inviting

With the right paint colour, your hallway can be the perfect welcome to you after a long day. Indulge in a colour for all seasons so this space will be inviting throughout the year. A pale or buttery yellow can be just the thing to see when you walk in the door.


Yellow Hallway Paint


Pastel shades of yellow can also brighten any hallway, creating a more spacious look by allowing natural light to reflect easily off of the walls.

 

2. Bright and Bold

If you love a bold look then, you may want your hallway to reflect your warm and inviting personality. Choosing a bright shade of red, green, or blue is the perfect way to add a bright modern burst of colour to your hall.


Bold Paint Colours


Energetic and fun these colours will make anyone happy to come over for a visit. It also creates a fun statement an adds a bold stylish look to your home.


...read more
Removing Paint From Plaster in 7 Simple Steps


Are you updating one or more of the rooms in your home? Is it time for a new coat of paint? It’s always exciting to pick a new colour for your room, but it’s vital to prep your walls before you start to paint so that everything looks superb! 

If your current paint is in good condition, and it is lighter than the colour you want to paint your walls, you might be lucky and be able to paint over the existing paint. Check the walls for chips, cracks, or bubbles to decide whether you do need to remove the paint from the plaster. 

More often than not, the existing paint will need stripping from the walls, either because it is in poor condition, or it is too dark to paint over. This blog post is the ultimate guide for removing the existing paint from the plaster on your walls.

 

...read more

Why Bidvine is the best place to hire experts

Answer a few questions and we match you to the right pros.

Get custom bids from pros who match your needs.

Compare bids, send messages and hire the right pro for you.