Can You Paint Flat over Semi Gloss?

Painting anything surely is a fun job but what is more fun when you try different experiments with several paints. As we all know there are several types of amazing paints, and there is an immense scope for you to try paints over another particular paint.

Flat paint is a kind of paint that comes with great charms. But can you paint flat over semi gloss? Will this experiment will fail you or amaze you? A lot of people want solid answers to these questions too. Remember that some paints are legit forgiving and flat paint is one of them.

So, the answer is “Yes”. You can definitely paint flat on semi gloss. But you also need to fulfill some requirements at the same time to get a satisfying result. Once you consider all the measures and steps, only then you can save yourself from an unpleasant finish.

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Can You Paint Flat over Semi Gloss?

If you are a DIYer and love to play with paints, you would definitely know what flat paint seems like. People also recognize it as “matte paint”. This paint carries highly advantageous pigmentation. It does not give you a much reflective finish except in some cases.

The perfect additive of this paint helps to hide imperfect areas, patches, unevenness of the surface, and other many textural issues with professionalism. And that is the very advantageous reason that you can paint flat on shinny semi gloss. Its pigmentation will hide everything.

Because semi-gloss paint is not as glossy as high gloss paint, the reflective glossy finish and sheen of the former one is easy to remove. And before applying flat paint, make sure that you efface the sheen of semi-gloss adopting the proper step.

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What Happens if You Paint over Semi Gloss?

A lot of incidents might occur if you make attempt to paint directly over the semi-gloss painting. Semi gloss paints are very convenient. They are washable and more importantly, they have great adhesion and stick to the wall pretty strongly.

Besides enhancing the beauty of the wall, semi-gloss finish can stand heavy traffic and natural disaster like heavy rainfall too. But painting over the shiny reflection of the paint will not bring you a good result. Instead, you will face these problems later –

  • Adhesion Problem

When you try to apply any kind of paint over glossy paint without removing the shiny texture of the paint, then the paint will not adhere to the surface. The sheen of the semi glossy finish lowers the adhesion power of the surface.

And that’s why it cannot embody the adhesion of the paint that is intended to apply over semi-gloss. As a result, the paint does not stick to the glossy surface properly.

  • Spreads Unevenness

A surface with semi-gloss finishing is cool but with time it can get uneven texture. In this circumstance, if you apply any paint over it, then the finishing will not be even. The imperfections, little gauges, and crevices of the surface might pop up immediately after the surface once dries.

  • Strip off Easily

Even though you manage to paint over your semi-gloss color without any preparations, you will not have a long-term result. The paint will start to strip off soon after it gets dried from different spots on the surface. And that will surely make the surface look disgusting and ugly.

  • Dries Slowly

Painting directly on semi-gloss finish is a very bad idea. Because the surface loses its adhesive power, the paint takes a hell of a time to dry. On top of that, if you apply an oil-based paint over water-based semi-gloss paint, then a lot of things might go wrong including the slow-drying problem.

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How Do You Prepare Semi Gloss Walls for Flat Paint?

We have already mentioned above the negative results that happen if you paint directly over gloss paint. To avoid these unwanted results, you need to adopt the right ways of painting over semi-gloss. And for that, you require to start by preparing the semi gloss wall at first. Follow the steps below to prepare the wall perfectly.

Step 1: Remove the Stuff

First thing first, remove or replace stuff like photo frames, hangers, paintings, or mirrors hanging on the wall. Place them in a safe space and then pull out the nails, and curtain hardware. That might create little gauges or holes on the wall but we will take care of it later.

Step 2: Clean the Wall with Warm Water

Now is the time to wash the wall. To do it, bring a rag and a bucket of warm water. Add a little bit of mild dish detergent to it and mix them properly. After that, dip the rag into the water and squish away the excess water. Then with the dampened rag, wipe the wall and clean it from dust and debris.

Step 3: Prepare Yourself

After the wall is dried, be prepared for the next step. Put your safety suit on and wear the goggles too. Don’t forget to wear hand gloves too. As the next step is sanding the wall, it is going to affect your eyes and lungs if you don’t wear a safety suit.

Step 4: Sand the Wall

To fulfill this job, make sure to bring sandpaper. Buy 80-150 grit coarse sandpaper. Then start sanding from the top of the wall but make sure the wall has dried off by now. And then make the sanding happen till the bottom of the wall. Make sure you don’t affect the bottom surface of the wall.

Do the sanding with a back and forth motion and don’t press hard or overdo the sanding. It should remove the sheen of semi-gloss to a great extent.

Step 5: Sand again and Wash the Wall

The first round of sanding might not be enough. So go for the second or third round and sand out all the shiny and reflective texture of the semi-gloss paint. After that, wash the wall again in the same manner as we described before.

Clean the floor with a vacuum cleaner too so no speck of dust is there to make the dirty wall again. And that’s how your semi-gloss wall is all ready for flat painting.

How Do You Paint Flat over Semi Gloss Paint?

We have already described how you should prepare the wall to paint flat over any semi-gloss finish. Now we will describe how you should paint flat on a semi-gloss surface step by step. So, if you are keen, make sure you have all the equipment ready for the job.

Step 1: Get Your Materials   

Before jumping into the primal job of painting, you should gather all the materials that you’re going to need for the job. It will save you from unnecessary trouble later on. Materials we will need for the job are –

  • Quality primer
  • Rolling brush
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Paint tray
  • Improved air passage

Step 2: Fill the Gauges and Sand the Wall

This step is not necessary if you don’t have gauges or nail holes on the wall. If you have any, then fill those holes with caulk or spackling paste. Let the holes dry and then sand the areas with sandpaper to make them even. Also, wipe out the extra dirt from the wall.

Step 3: Tape the Trims and Apply Primer

Now, to protect your baseboard trim and other attached hanging stuff on your wall, you require taping them. Use painter’s blue tape and tape all the delicate and sensitive areas properly. Then, apply the good primer using a rolling brush. Give it 24 hours to dry properly.

One coat of primer is not going to hide the surface properly. So, a second or third application is a must. This will ensure the sticking together of the surface as well. Ensure it gets air and the 24-hour time gap between each coat.

Step 4: Sand the Wall and Apply Flat Paint

After the final coat of primer is dried, you can sand the wall with fine-grit sandpaper. It will enhance the bond of the primer too. You can also skip this part if you don’t want that much perfection. And then apply flat paint with a paintbrush or paint roller.

A single coat will not make the real color pop of the paint. So, after the first coat dries in a day or two, apply a second or third coat of paint on the wall in the same manner. And then the flat color will pop and your job ends here.

Here is a helpful guide:

How to Paint Flat over Semi Gloss without Sanding?

You can follow the same process of painting flat over the semi gloss that we have described above just avoiding the sanding part. But you require considering some things about painting too.

1. Instead of sanding, think of etching the wall with a bristled brush. This will make the edges even of the wall.

2. Use satin flat paint. If the semi glossy finishing was oil-based then use oil-based satin flat paint. And if it was water-based, use water-based satin flat paint.

3. Also, be careful with the color you are choosing. To hide the shiny texture, adopt a deeper or darker color than the color of semi-gloss paint.

4. As you are avoiding sanding, you need a lot of coats of paint to hide the reflective texture of the semi-gloss paint. And as a result, the whole process will take a long time to be done perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Semi gloss paints are amazing; no paint can perfectly hide the imperfection as these paints are shiny and stronger. On the other hand, flat paints are not so pro at hiding imperfections. Yet these paints can be overlapped with other types of paints and the whole process is legit artistic.

About the Author

Ivan McCloud