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Can You Lacquer Over Paint? (Read This First!)

Usage of lacquer is very valuable. It provides an very gloss finish to whichever thing that it is applied to. Most of the time we can see the lacquer is used on many different Asian-inspired furnishings or even the ultra-modern ones.

People love to use lacquer on such surfaces because it is very durable and resistant to damage. There are some drawbacks to it although, for example, it becoming discolor and scratched over time.

Lacquers can even come in different colors. Let us, however, go over the surfaces we might be able to not use and the contradictions there might come to applying them over other painted surfaces. By the end, we will be able to apply lacquer without worry.

Can you lacquer over paint?

This is rather difficult to just give a direct answer like yes or no. If we were to lacquer over latex-based paints, then it will be somewhat okay. However, if we are looking to lacquer over oil-based paints, then it will not adhere properly and we should not go on with such a project.

Lacquer is so much more flexible and adaptive to different unique surfaces, such as wood that expands and contracts. Lacquer unlike paint is thinner and does not absorb moisture as paint does. This is a big plus point when compared with paint.

Lacquers can be applied to a variety of surfaces and thus it is greatly valued and sought for. Surfaces like wood and metal are easily one of the best options to use lacquer on.

Therefore, many people want to use lacquer on top of the paint. They want this to counter products like wood that become soft over time due to the thick layer of paint which absorbs moisture.

But lacquer is not usable on all types of paints and can be applied on particular paints and surfaces. If we do have the ideal surface to use lacquer, let us look at the best way to use lacquer.

Spray lacquer:

Apparently, the best and the most efficient way to apply lacquer is to use a high-quality lacquer. Then take a simple spray machine and air compressor system.

There are many aftermarkets product of air compressor systems for spray machines available. We can use those to make ourselves a perfect spray lacquer and use that to put a lacquer coat over the paint.

Can you lacquer over cellulose paint? Can you lacquer paint over urethane primer?

Cellulose paint is rather famous in classic and vintage cars. This paint is made up of petroleum-based material and has not been used by car manufacturers in the last few decades. In the case of lacquering over cellulose paint, it is doable. But keep in mind, it is necessarily not needed.

Urethane primers are normally used to promote the adhesion and bond of urethanes to the surface. To get the best results, we should first prepare a primed surface and then finally apply the urethanes.

Regarding the topic of using lacquer paint over urethane primer, it is okay to use lacquer paint. However, we should make sure to use lacquer that is clear and then polish it with 600 grit.

Can you put lacquer over all types of paint?

No, we can not put lacquer over all types of paint. There are too many different aspects to such a project that we need to pay attention to first. While there are some points that we can put lacquer over there are still many we cannot do so.

We will discuss briefly below some of the most common types of paints and see if we can apply lacquer on top of them or not.

Water-based paint:

This paint is commonly known as latex paint and sometimes called water-based paint. We can use lacquer over water-based paint. But make sure to check if the paint is flat.

Lastly, always remember to lightly sand the already paint coat in preparation for the lacquering process.

Oil-based paint:

We usually use these types of paint when we want it to last a long time. We cannot use lacquer over oil-based paints.

Due to how the material is made up of, the lacquer does not properly adhere to it. This will ruin the already painted surface.

Gloss paint:

Typically gloss paints are easier to clean than the other variations of paints. Thus, they are mostly used in kitchens and bathrooms.

In regards to gloss paint, we can use the lacquer to our liking. Although we must practice the precautionary step of using the appropriate varnish for the paint.

When can I apply lacquer after painting?

Fresh paint requires proper attention and we never should soap down or scuff as some people say to do. But rather we should simply give it a rinse with cold water gently. After that, we wipe dry off the surface.

In an ideal scenario, we apply lacquer over the base color just as the original color has begun to flash off. We have to do this because the adhesion is created when the solvent in the lacquer will reanimate the curing color of the original paint.

Allow a 30-minute break for the surface before applying the lacquer also. We additionally need to wait 10 minutes each time we apply 4 to 5 coats. Each coat should be dry to the touch and not tacky.

What lacquer to use over paint?

There are a multitude number of different lacquers in the market that can be used over paint. Considering you have gone through the above and understand which types of paints you are not supposed to use lacquer on.

Then we can go ahead and tell you about the different types of lacquers you may find on the market to use over paint.

Nitrocellulose Lacquer:

This is a very common type of lacquer. It dries fast and is commonly used on musical instruments and wooden products. However, it becomes yellow as it ages.

Acrylic Lacquer:

Acrylic was developed in the 1950s. It was used for automobiles. This was because it dries relatively fast.

It had one upper side to it, since was made from a non-yellowing formula people were able to use it on light-colored surfaces.

Catalyzed Lacquer:

There are two subcategories in this section, one is the pre-catalyzed and the other is post-catalyzed. The first one, in particular, is premixed by the manufacturer.

On the other hand, the second one is a two-part system that we the purchaser must mix. The main reason why homeowners and professionals like this type of lacquer are because the bond was very durable.

Water-based Lacquer:

These are becoming the most common lacquers to use in the kitchen. It is an ecofriendly option than the other ones as it does not contain any toxic.

How to apply lacquer over painted wood?

After understanding all the different types of paint material and the lacquer we need to use or not use regarding the surface we are painting.

We can proceed to apply lacquer on a particular type of surface, in this case, a “wood” surface. The steps for which we need to follow in order to attain good results are given below.

  • We need to use a brush that is ideally designed for lacquer used. As the lacquer brushes, we need most of these brushes will be equipped with synthetic bristles. That is important for the lacquering procedure.
  • Then we proceed to apply lacquer in even strokes slowly. This is because when the lacquer is applied in even strokes it ensures a uniform coating. When there is no uniform coating the result of the product will be dissatisfying.
  • While we apply the lacquer we try not to stop midway. This is because if we stop midway while the applying process then there will be lap marks on the surface visible when it dries.
  • Let the surface of the wood at least sit for 24 hours before handling them again. Because most of the wood items always require that after a single coat.

Final Thoughts

Lacquering over paint is doable. But it is critical to point out that it is not doable on every type of paint. Paints like oil-based are not compatible with lacquer and will break down. However, paints like latex-based ones will be able to take in lacquer but that also depends on certain things.