Chalk paint, which is not to be confused with chalkboard paint, is a popular matte paint that was first trademarked by the brand Annie Sloan, although you can find chalk paint made by many different brands these days.
One of the advantages of this type of paint is that it can be used on most clean, dry surfaces, even ones that were already painted, which is why it is beloved by many DIY enthusiasts.
But can you paint over chalk paint? Yes, you can paint over chalk paint as long as it hasn’t been sealed with wax or other finishing products. Otherwise, the paint won’t stick to the surface.
Read on to learn more about chalk paint, including whether you can paint over chalk paint, including the best way to paint over it and the factors you’ll need to consider before you begin.
What Is Chalk Paint?
Chalk paint is a type of surface paint that has a chalky, matte appearance. This is, of course, different from chalkboard paint, which creates a chalkboard surface that you can write on using chalk. Chalk paint is named that way mainly because of its textured and matte appearance, which is very popular in minimalist or farmhouse-style interior design.
Although there are many ways to DIY chalk paint nowadays (like mixing baking soda with paint to create a matte and textured look), we will mainly be talking about chalk paint as it is sold in the store.
Compared to traditional paint, chalk paint is popular mainly because of how convenient it is to use. It is easy to paint on most surfaces, even ones that are already painted. This type of paint is also very beginner-friendly, mainly because it has a thicker consistency compared to other types of paint, which prevents it from dripping.
My favorite chalk paint is the matte version from Rust-Oleum.
Since it’s water-based, chalk paint can be painted smoothly on almost every surface, even ones that have cracks or other details. Chalk paint is also more durable than other types of paint, lasting for years without discoloring.
Since this is a water-based paint, it is very friendly to beginner DIYers because you can easily remove mistakes or clean your brushes with soap and water. Once dry, the chalk paint is very durable, and the painted surface will stay new for a long time.
This paint is commonly used to give a matte, classic look to furniture, but it can also be painted on an entire wall for a striking accent to the room. It has the power to transform a bedroom or dining room hand-me-down into a statement piece.
Although chalk paint can be used on every surface, if you want a really smooth finish, covering cracks and sanding down the surface first is highly recommended. After your surface is properly prepped, you can paint over it with chalk paint, which will help create a nice and even look.
This paint is known for being incredibly thick and opaque, so depending on the original color, it may be possible to apply only one coat of paint. If needed, you can apply an additional coat of paint, but the final result will look more textured.
How To Paint Over Chalk Paint
Chalk paint is surely wonderful, but can you paint over chalk paint when you change your mind? The short answer is yes. However, you will need to consider whether the chalk paint has been finished with wax or other finishing products.
Sometimes, after painting a piece of furniture with chalk paint, people opt for a top coat to protect this layer of paint. Poly-acrylic sealants or other topcoats may be used to seal the layer of chalk paint.
This is pretty easy to tell by just looking at the finish of the chalk paint. If you see a slightly glossy film over the surface, then there is a finish on top of it.
Another way to tell whether the chalk paint has been finished with a sealant is with water since these types of sealants are waterproof. If you pour some water on the surface and the water drops stay intact, then there is a finish on top of the chalk paint.
If your piece has been finished with these types of topcoats, then the paint will not be able to stick. In other words, you won’t be able to paint over the topcoats, even if you use more chalk paint. Even if you can paint over the finish at this stage, the paint may be easily scraped off when it is dry. Even worse, it may flake off from the surface after some use.
You will need to remove the finish first before you can apply paint over the layer.
Sanding is an easy way to remove the finish before painting. Make sure to sand evenly across the piece, removing the topcoat entirely before you paint so that the paint has a better chance of adhering to the surface.
After sanding down the finish, make sure to remove any dust that the sanding has created. The surface will need to be completely clean before you can paint over it. Then, you should be able to paint over the chalk paint with any type of paint you want.
If your chalk paint has not been finished with any topcoat, then great, you can paint on it directly without any additional steps.
In this case, you only need to make sure that the surface you want to paint over is completely clean and free of dust and grease. This step is especially important since it will decide how well the paint will stay on the surface later on.
If there is a build-up of candle soot, grease, or dust, you will need to clean your piece thoroughly before painting it. That means dusting or scrubbing with a degreasing agent and water to remove anything on the surface of the chalk paint.
After this step, make sure that the surface is completely dry before you paint over the layer of chalk paint. Then, your paint should stick to the surface just fine, no matter what type of chalk paint you use.
Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint That Has Been Waxed?
Wax is another popular type of topcoat that is commonly sold with chalk paint. A paste wax adds another layer of protection to the chalk paint, preserving its colors and overall look long after the piece is painted. This step is commonly used when chalk paint is used on wooden furniture since wood is very prone to cracking and twisting if it hasn’t been sealed.
If you are unsure about whether your piece has been waxed, it is actually pretty easy to tell. With a thin, sharp object like a spoon or even your fingernails, lightly scrape the surface of the piece. If you see some wax build-up on the spoon, then there is a wax layer on your piece.
You won’t be able to paint over chalk paint if it has been finished with a layer of wax – the paint simply won’t stick. In this case, you will need to get rid of the wax layer completely before you can paint over it.
This is actually a simple process, as long as you have the time and the right materials: a sponge and some mineral spirits. This method works best if you have a slightly abrasive sponge, but the mineral spirits will help with breaking down the wax regardless.
Scrub your piece thoroughly with the sponge and the mineral spirits, making sure that the wax layer is completely gone throughout the surface. Then, you can use a wet cloth to wipe down the surface of the piece.
There may still be some mineral spirits and wax residue on your piece after this step, which can happen to everyone. In this case, it may be useful to wash your piece with a degreaser to make sure the surface is completely clean before painting.
When your surface is completely dry, and any wax residue has been removed, you can paint over this surface easily, and the paint will be able to stick easily to the paint without any issues. This is true regardless of the type of paint you use in this step.
There are some exceptions to this rule, of course. Sometimes, chalk paint is finished with an accompanying paste wax that is sold along with the chalk paint. This type of finish can be painted over, as long as you use chalk paint to paint over it.
If you are unsure about whether you can paint over the finish, you can always test it with a small swatch. Brush the paint over a small area on your piece and allow it to dry completely.
Once it is completely dry, test whether you can scrape the paint off of the surface. If the paint scrapes off, then, unfortunately, you will have to sand down the finish. However, if the paint stays intact, you can feel confident that you can paint over the finish without any problems.
Then, you can use chalk paint to cover the surface of your piece. As long as the surface is completely clean and free of grease and dust, the chalk paint should be able to stick to the surface.
Up Next: Best Homemade Paint Removers