Can I Paint Over Stained Wood Without Sanding?

Image of a stained wood, but Can I Paint Over Stained Wood Without Sanding

There are so many ways that you can use to give your wooden structures or home a new look. Painting is one such way that you can use to achieve a lustrous ambiance within your home. Sometimes, it becomes so complicated, especially when the surface you are looking to paint was previously coated with a stain, varnish or polyurethane; you should, therefore, ask yourself, can I paint over stained wood without sanding?

Yes, you can paint over stained wood without sanding, as paint can adhere to stain. However, for the best results, you should use the primer or Oil Bond method to clean the area you want to paint using a rag. Then, apply a layer of Oil Bond on to the cleaned surface. This process prepares the surface for maximum adhesion.

If you are working on a short timeline and might not have enough time to go through sanding and similar processes, you can use it.

How to Paint Without Sanding

As stated initially, painting wood furniture presents one of the best ways of transforming it into a thing of beauty. Sanding is demanding and can be a real pain, especially when the surface is too big, and you have to hold a wood sander for an extended duration, or you have no sander. If you have no sander, don’t worry as there are a few sure ways of painting wooden furniture without having to sand it first.

As it should be with any painting job, you must first clean the surface before you beginning.

There are a few steps that you can use to paint your surface without sanding. They are:

Step One: Remove Hardware

If the stained wood surface that you are looking to paint has hardware, such as a furniture pull, or a doorknob, you need to remove it before proceeding to the next step for the best results.

Step Two: Clean the Surface

Cleaning your stained wood surface helps in the removal of any dust, dirt, and other yucky stuff that must not mix with your paint.

You can choose to use plain soap and water to clean. In case your surface has oil or grease, you should clean the surface using TSP cleaner

Step Three: Remove the Gloss

Considering that most stained wood might have a gloss finish of polyurethane or varnish, you need to remove the gloss because the paint does not grip properly on a glossy surface. Painting without removing the gloss would lead to the peeling, cracking, and chipping of the surface.

So that your paint grips properly to the surface of your wooden structure, it would be best if you sanded away the gloss. You don’t have to sand away the stain, only rough up the glossy surface.

One way of removing the gloss without sanding the stain is by using a deglosser or liquid sandpaper. 

Step Four: Clean the Surface

Yes, you should clean your surface again after the above process. In case you opted for sanding the glossy finish, it will be appropriate that you remove the sanding dust because if it gets into your paint, it will make the final finish on your surface bumpy. 

You could choose to use a shop vac for dust collection or wipe with a piece of clothing if you used a deglosser.

Step Five: Repair the Surface

Check your stained surface if there are nicks, dings, scratches, or other problems and repair them using a wood filler

You can lightly sand the surface and clean again before moving to the next step.

Step Six: Prime the Surface

Here you need to apply a paint primer to your stained surface. You can choose between oil based or water based latex primer.

In any case, you intend to use an oil based paint, ensure that you use an oil based primer as well. 

If you bought a water based latex paint for the process, use a water based latex primer. 

In the application of the primer, use a brush or roller. 

You can choose to use a roller for the application of the primer so that it is evenly applied afterward, use a brush to remove all the roller marks. 

In case you have the intention of painting your stained wood with a color that is not white, you should consider having the paint store tint your wood primer in a color that’s similar to your ultimate paint color. 

Follow the manufacturer’s directives even as you allow the primer time to dry.

Step Seven: Paint the Surface

With the use of a top-quality paint of your choosing water based latex, oil based, or spray paint, paint over your wooden surface that was previously stained wood. 

For the best results possible, you may need up to 2 coats of paint. Even as you apply your paint, ensure that the first coat dries before you apply the next layer.

Step Eight: Apply the Top Coat

You can use the top coat that is appealing to your eyes; you can use polyurethane if that is what you need. This process might not be necessary, mainly if you used a high-quality paint. 

Alternatively, you can use a wood wax to give your surface a bit of shine.

Watch the video below on how to paint stained wood without sanding:


Painting is an excellent step towards beautifying your wooden surfaces as well as protecting them. There are many colors of paints on the market, and if you can get the right match for your different structures, you will end up with the most lustrous finish. 

Can I Paint Over Stained Wood Without Sanding?

Well, I believe that at this point, you have this question answered, you can have your previously stained surface painted without sanding. All you need to do is follow the steps that I have provided in this blog.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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