How To Clear Coat Over Old Paint!

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Although clear coat is an excellent product on the market that is seeing a huge surge in its popularity right now, it is not a miricle worker and come jobs that involved clear coat do need a considerable amount of preparation prior to actually applying your clear coat. We have noticed a large number of people reaching out to ask about using clear coat over old paint recently and this is a perfect example of this.

With so many people reaching out about using clear coat over a surface that has old paint on it, we have decided to publish this article. Not only does it give us a great way to show people how you may need to prepare a surface prior to applying your clear coat but it should be able to help anyone who is looking to paint over old paint.

As you can probably imagine, there are a huge number of states that old paint may be in depending on its condition. Although some times you may be able to apply your clear coat right away, a large number of times some preparation will be required to ensure that you get the best results possible from your clear coat and paint.

Should You Clear Coat Over Old Paint?

You can clear coat over old paint to reinvigorate the surface and help give the old paint a new look. This is relatively common trick that people do with old cars and in some arts and crafts niches to make the paint job of a product look much better than it used to with minimal time, effort, and expense being required.

A fresh coat of clear coat can be an easy way for you to drastically improve the look of an old coat of paint that has seen better days. Depending on the type of paint that you are using and the specific clear coat formula that you are using, it can also be used to help re-apply protective sealant properties to protect the paint from the weather too.

There are a number of stories that you can find online where people tried to clear coat over old paint and the results we poor. Almost all of these are down to user error as they failed to prepare the surface as required prior to applying their clear coat. We go over how you can avoid this common mistake in the next section of our article to help increase the chances of your old paint looking as good as possible after the clear coat is applied.

How To Clear Coat Over Old Paint!

To apply clear coat over old paint, check the paint for any potential damage such as rusk or other types of corrosion and do your best to remove them from the surface. Clean any dirt, oil, or grease off the surface, touch up any parts of your oil paint than need it and then once the touch up paint is dry, apply your clear coat.

The majority of modern clear coat formulas use a spray based application system so it is even easier than it used to be when you had to use a brush to apply the products to your old paint. This makes it much easier and very beginner friendly provided that you have actually prepared the surface with your old paint on correctly as covered above.

So many people new to using clear coat seem to accidentally leave dirt, oil and grease on the surface that they are trying to paint. This drastically determinate from your end result and its not even close to comparable when the surface has been correctly cleaned ready to have the clear coat applied to your oil paint before hand so it is well worth doing.

Potential Problems Of Clear Coating Over Old Paint!

The most common problem when clear coating over old paint is that dirt, oil, and grease can be difficult to see with a visual inspection and still be on the old paint when you apply your clear coat to it. Our recommendation its to run your finger over parts of the surface as you can usually feel oil and grease with your finger with ease.

Another common problem that is usually much easier to see and avoid is corrosion on the surface that has the oil paint on it. Problems such as rust tend to be much easier to see and you can usually treat them correctly with cheaper products to prevent them from causing any problems when applying your new layer of clear coat.

The final common problem that we see is that people apply the new layer of clear coat while any touch up pint is still wet. Although this one is not guaranteed to cause you problems, it can make the clear coat cloudy due to the paint used to touch up the old paint still being wet when it was applied.

Is It Easier To Just Re-Do The Paint Job?

In some situations, it can be easier to re-do the full paint job on the surface from scratch. This will require you to strip all of the current paint on the surface off, treat any issues with the surface that you are painting and then re-apply your new paint and then clear coat over the top of it.

This takes much more time, effort, and money than just adding a layer of clear coat over the old paint so we can definitely see why people try to avoid having to re-do the paint job. Depending on the condition of the old paint, in some cases, it may actually be a better option to just re-do the paint job but in many cases this can be avoided.

The majority of the time, you will know the correct path to take when moving forward and if you are in any doubt between the two, chances are, you should be looking to re-do the paint job. Depending on your specific situation though, many of our readers will be able to get away with just applying a fresh layer of clear coat over their old paint.


That brings our article going over how you can use clear coat over old paint to an end. The actual process of using clear coat on a surface that has old paint on it is actually much easier than most people think and can produce excellent results for you once you know what you should be doing and what you should be avoiding.