How to Paint Over Enamel Paint on Your Walls

wall painted purple with enamel paint
What You'll Need
Latex primer
Masking tape
Drop cloths
Protective clothing
Eye protection

Over time, an enamel-painted wall will grow worn and old-looking. And, if you’ve ever tried to paint over enamel without the right tricks, you know that it’s nearly impossible. Luckily, you can put a fresh coat of paint over your enamel-painted wall if you have the right tools and steps.

Preparing the Wall

Begin by placing drop cloths at the base of the wall. Then, clean the wall that you will be painting over with soap and water. Lightly rinse the soap off the wall with clean water, and then let it dry completely.

Roughening up the Wall

Regular latex paint won’t stick to enamel paint. Therefore, you have to roughen up the wall’s surface before painting over it. You can choose from one of the two following methods: using a de-glosser, or using sandpaper.

Using a De-Glosser

De-glosser, also known as liquid sandpaper, should be used over the enamel paint to remove the gloss from the enamel. Simply brush the de-glosser onto the wall and follow the directions on the product’s packaging. Make sure you cover the entire wall.

Using Sandpaper

As an alternative to using a de-glosser, you can use sandpaper on the enamel wall. Sanding down the wall will take longer and be messier, but it’s doable. Sand over the entire wall. You may need a stepladder to reach ceiling corners. When finished, clean the wall with a damp cloth and let it dry.

Priming the Wall

Warning: When working with primer or paint, always wear protective gear, like gloves and a face mask. Work in a well-ventilated area.

Once the wall is dry, you can apply a latex primer to the enamel wall.

Priming Edges and Cut-In Areas

To begin, start at the edges with a brush and some primer. Begin at one top corner, and work along the edge of the ceiling in long strokes. For walls, cut-in from the edge with horizontal strokes. Also cut-in around window frames and door frames.

Priming the Rest of the Wall

For the remainder of the wall, use a roller to paint the primer onto the wall. Make sure the roller isn’t too wet; you don’t want it to drip down the wall or on the floor. Work the roller along the edges, so the paint seamlessly blends with the paint you already applied. Allow the primer to dry completely.

Painting the Walls

Now, you can paint over the primed enamel wall with latex paint. Paint the wall according to the product’s directions and let dry completely.