Interior House Paint Primers That Will Adhere to Previously Glossy Surfaces

Written by debbie tolle
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Interior House Paint Primers That Will Adhere to Previously Glossy Surfaces
Prepping glossy surfaces for paint. (high definition tv storage cabinet image by James Phelps from

Glossy interior surfaces, such as stained woodwork, must be deglossed or primed before you can apply a topcoat of paint. Another glossy surface is woodwork that has been previously painted with oil-based paint. Latex paint will not adhere to surfaces that have been coated with polyurethane, lacquer or oil-based paint. The proper type of primer will allow latex paint to adhere to these surfaces. Multiple brands of primer are sold for interior projects, exterior projects or both. Choosing the correct primer for your project is important.

Shellac-based Primer

Shellac-based primer is the top choice in primers for use on clean, glossy wood surfaces. It is an interior only primer that dries and forms a bond quickly, which makes it an ideal primer for kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Many brands of primers dry fast but often do not fully cure for several days or even as long as two weeks. Shellac-based primer will not allow stains or wood tannins to bleed through your topcoat of paint and can be cover-coated with latex or oil-based paints in less than an hour. Allow for adequate ventilation when using this primer.

Oil-based Primer

Interior/exterior oil-based primers are also suitable for use on glossy wood surfaces. Your wood surfaces should be cleaned with a solvent-based cleaner before priming. Solvent-based cleaners dissolve oil and grease, providing greater surface adhesion for the primer. Oil-based primer takes up to an hour to dry but does not fully cure for up to 7 days. You can cover-coat it within 2 hours with oil-based or latex paint. You must also allow adequate ventilation when using this primer.

Water-based Primer

Multiple surface water-based primer is designed to adhere to surfaces that have been clear coated with polyurethane or lacquer. This type of primer is also designed to adhere to surfaces that have been cover-coated with oil-based paints. The all-surface primer typically dries within 60 minutes, allowing you to apply a new topcoat of paint the same day. This type of primer allows you to clean your paint tools with water instead of using harsh chemicals.

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