Can I Paint Over Lacquer Without Sanding? 

Image of a sander. But Can I Paint Over Lacquer Without Sanding? The havoc of destructive elements and daily traffic can be prevented by applying a durable coat of lacquer to your furniture. This wood finish offers superior protection on high-end furniture as it dries fast, maintains its transparency as it ages, and it’s impervious to moisture. Woodworkers favor this finish because it calls for very little maintenance and doesn’t yellow with time. Regardless of its high resilience, daily traffic can make lacquer degrade prematurely. So how do you handle potential damages through traffic? You must be probably asking yourself can I paint over lacquer without sanding? 

Yes, it’s okay to paint over lacquer without sanding, but you need to prepare the surface well for the new paint to stick as expected. There are a few ways to achieve this, but first, ensure that your surface is free from contaminants by wiping it clean with a soapy rag. 

Sanding normally takes time and can be tiring. If you can go about painting over a lacquered surface without going through the sanding stage and still achieve the best finish then why not? Keep reading this article for more information on the subject.

How to Paint Over Lacquer Without Sanding 

The cheapest way to revamp and amplify the style of your furniture is by painting it. Painting furniture saves you from acquiring a new piece. However, the most time-intensive part is sanding. This step is messy and tiring. Luckily, you can paint over your lacquered wood without sanding, and you can achieve this using the following steps. 

Step 1: Preparation

Every painting project requires thorough surface preparation to yield the most demanding outcomes. So it’s best to commence by cleaning the lacquered surface thoroughly with a heavy-duty TSP cleaner while wearing durable gloves.

The TSP cleaner is perfect for bringing down years of grime, grease, dirt, and other surface contaminants. Using it leaves your furniture with a clean finish, meaning your primer won’t have a rough time sticking to the surface. 

After making the first pass over the surface with the TSP cleaner, repeat cleaning the piece with a soft rag damped in clean water. This way, you will collect any residue left behind by the TSP cleaner. 

Step 2: Degloss

The next step is to use a deglosser to degloss the surface. A deglosser is the best alternative to sanding. It peels down the existing lacquer on your surface, making it ready for priming and painting. It’s better to choose a deglosser designed for indoor use as it excels well even if ventilation is restricted. 

Rub the deglosser onto your surface using a clean cloth and ensure you wear protective gloves. After the first pass, wait for about 10 minutes, then rinse the surface with a damp rag. If you notice the existing lacquer is not yet removed, repeat deglossing the surface until the entire finish comes off. 

Step 3: Prime

After deglossing the surface, follow with priming. You should not bypass this integral step as it guarantees superior adhesion between the surface and the new paint. Ensure you purchase the right primer for your project, as some versions don’t excel well on deglossed surfaces.

After choosing the right primer, apply it to your surface using light coats. Follow the user guide to determine how many coats are sufficient. Also, ensure you allow each coat to dry sufficiently before adding extra layers. 

Step 4: Paint

When your primer dries, get ready to paint. Assemble your supplies, including a synthetic paintbrush, a paint dish, wooden stick, and your paint (preferably latex paint). Once you get these supplies, start painting. Use your wooden stick to mix your paint, so it retains its default consistency. Usually, the molecules in an unused paint settle at the bottom of the can, so mixing the paint helps to distribute them evenly. 

After mixing the paint, pour it into a clean paint dish, then cover the remaining paint. Use a soft brush to apply light and even coats of paint across the surface. Don’t paint too thick as the top layer might dry quickly and introduce cracks on your surface.

After applying the first coat, refer to the user’s guide to understand the drying duration for each coat. 

You can use your fingertips to determine if the first coat is dry. If it’s safe to touch, add a second Coat and aim to cover the irregularities left out in the previous coating. It’s always good to pause and check if you are doing a great job.

If you skipped painting some areas, go back and repaint but avoid overlapping as this can elicit visible brush strokes after painting. 

What Kind of Paint Can Go Over Lacquer? 

Lacquer finish is sleek and smooth, meaning it’s poorly suited for new paint bonding. That tells you that proper surface preparation is necessary for your new paint to stick to a lacquer finish. That said, what kind of paint can go over lacquer? 

Not all paint types can bond well to lacquered surfaces. But high-quality paints like latex and enamel are good candidates for a lacquer finish. The two have excellent adherence qualities and can withstand the hot ingredients that cause cracking in a lacquer finish. 

Can I Paint Over Lacquered Wood? 

There exist numerous sheens of lacquer woodwork finishes. The essence of lacquer finish is to offer wood a protective coating for lasting durability. Regardless, if you plan to paint over lacquered wood, this protective finish poses some difficulties. That’s because lacquer finishes are a poor base foundation for new coatings. 

But with proper surface preparation, you can paint over your lacquered wood with ease and attain a professional appearance. 

Is a Deglosser Better Than Sanding? 

DIYers and other professional woodworkers are in constant search of products that make their woodworking projects easy. Painting wooden substrates need a smooth surface for better paint adhesion. And for that, two products can assist you in achieving a fine surface for painting: sander and deglosser. 

The two methods help prepare your surface for painting, but which option is better? These few differences should help you determine which option suits your needs. 

First, sanding is more time-intensive than deglossing. It involves too much effort, and even if you opt for an orbital sander, you’ll still spend all day sanding doors, cabinets, etc. By contrast, deglossing is overly straightforward. It’s applied using a soft rag in manageable sections to hasten the process. 

However, a deglosser integrates harsh chemicals. So using this product requires wearing protective clothing such as durable gloves, eye protection, and a face mask. On the flip side, sanding also encompasses its health issues, as it elicits dust while rubbing it on surfaces. So to avoid respiratory risks and other infections, wear your mask, goggles, and gloves. 

Ideally, deglossing is a better pick over sanding as it saves time and effort, exactly when facilitating adhesion. 

Does Lacquer Need Primer?

Any painting project requires a primer to prevent the colors on your surface from bleeding through. But does lacquer need a primer? Yes, lacquer needs a primer for it to stick to your surface. However, lacquer incorporates aggressive ingredients, so ensure the primer you choose is rated for use on lacquered surfaces. If not, the primer could be ruined. 

What Is Better Lacquer or Polyurethane?

Lacquer and polyurethane are the commonest wood finishes that woodworkers rely on to add durability to their wooden surfaces. The two brag exceptional qualities, but which wood finish is better?

Polyurethane is better as it’s more durable and enduring to high traffic. Lacquer is also durable, but in the exchange, it’s susceptible to scratches and discolors with time. 

Regarding the ease of application, polyurethane has a thicker consistency, and it’s applied with a brush. This makes it hard to evade brush marks on the surface after applying it. So to avoid the marks, you will need a soft synthetic brush.

With lacquer, you will require a low-pressure sprayer to apply it on your target. A sprayer allows you to control the coat’s thickness for an even finish. So, by comparison, lacquer applies more easily than polyurethane. 

Polyurethane is the worst considering the drying duration. Lacquer has quick-drying ingredients and has a thinner consistency, making it easier to do multiple coats than polyurethane. However, water-based polyurethane dries faster than oil-based. 

How Do You Refinish Lacquered Wood? 

The lacquer finish has existed for centuries to offer wood a tough and durable coating. This wood finish applies easily, but it’s very tricky to remove it once you decide to refinish your wood with new lacquer. Luckily, these few steps can make the process effortless. Read on! 

Step 1: Prepare the Formula

Take a clean empty bucket and pour equal parts of denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner inside. Then use a wooden stick to blend the two to attain a uniform solution. After that, dip a clean paintbrush into the mixture, apply a section of your lacquered wood, and let the solution settle for a while. 

Step 2: Scrapping

After one or two minutes, take a scraper or steel wool and remove the existing lacquer. This is done in small sections until a large surface of the lacquer is completely removed. Once you’re done, pull back to examine any left-out spots.

If any, go back to areas where evidence of lacquer traces are and reapply the solution. As usual, let the solution sit for two or three minutes before scraping off the lingering lacquer. 

Step 3: Etch the Surface

Next, let your surface dry, then use fine-grit sandpaper to roughen up the wood’s texture. This keeps the surface ready for a new coating. Ensure you sand the entire surface, so each section of the surface matches.

After sanding, remove the remaining dust with a damp rag. Don’t disregard any sanding particles since you don’t want to interfere with adhesion. 

Step 4: Apply the Formula

Once the surface is free from dirt, use a paintbrush to apply a coat of stain on your wood’s surface. You do this to add definition and color to your wood’s surface. Staining also brings out the hidden grain patterns on your wood.

You then use a clean rag to wipe away the excess stain. After applying sufficient coats, let the surface air dry for six to eight hours. Follow with spraying a new coat of lacquer on the surface using multiple thin coats. Each coat should dry to the touch before bedding in a new one as instructed in the user’s guide. 

How to Remove Odor From Lacquer in Your Room

Lacquer produces an unpleasant smell, especially if combined with a cocktail of other harsh chemicals. As lacquer dries, its chemicals give off a bad smell, posing serious health concerns if left unaddressed. Fortunately, you can mitigate that by employing these few steps: 

Step 1 : Proper Ventilation

Ensure you practice good ventilation by keeping all entries open, including doors and windows. You can also place door stops to promote cross breeze. This helps to drive out the odor quickly. 

Step 2: Vinegar

Take empty bowls, fill them with vinegar, then deposit them in different locations in your room. Next, take another empty bowl and fill it with activated charcoal. You then place the bowl at the center of the room that elicits the most smell. This way, the activated charcoal will eat up the smell and add on the vinegar. 

What’s even better? Take two spoons of cinnamon and pour it into a boiling pot. Add orange peels and water to the cinnamon, then boil the solution for about five minutes. This way, the odor will dissipate fully. 

Is Lacquer the Same as Primer? 

Lacquer and primer are two different formulas meaning they don’t fulfill the same purposes. For instance, primers are preparatory coatings applied to materials to guarantee improved surface adhesion and add durability to new coatings. This formula is not meant to remain the outermost durable finish. Instead, it’s engineered to promote better binding properties with the substrate underneath. 

So if your surface lacks water-resistance qualities or is susceptible to harsh elements, priming will do the trick. By contrast, lacquer is engineered to form a protective coating on surfaces, and you can use it as a final durable finish. But this wood finish encompasses hot ingredients, so be careful when using this finish with other products. 

What Is the Difference Between Lacquer and Clear Coat? 

The key difference between lacquer and clear coat is, lacquer encompasses pigments, whereas clear coat lacks pigments. That means clear coats are not meant to add color or details to surfaces, unlike lacquer finishes. But clear coats can make your painted surfaces seem shiny, deeper, and wetter. They also come off easily without damaging the paint underneath to mend the shallow surface defects. 

How Do You Paint a Car with Lacquer? 

Lacquer paint has a great reputation, but it’s the least suggested paint to use on cars. Even though it’s easy to apply and leaves a glossy finish on cars, it fades and degrades more easily than its prevalent counterparts. Because of that, this paint option is best suited for cars that see not have much drive time. 

Follow these steps to paint your car with lacquer. 

Step 1 Preparation 

First, tape off all borders that you don’t want the paint to spill onto. Use sturdy clothes or towels to cover up all features not being painted. These include windows, side mirrors, torch, etc. After that, take a power sander and strip away the existing paint on your car. This way, you will get the job done with ease, unlike manually sanding the car using typical sandpaper. 


Put on your dust mask and other protective supplies to avoid health risks. 

Step 2: Vacuuming

Next, vacuum up the sanding particles left out after sanding. You can achieve this using a vacuum cleaner. After that, apply a high-quality primer to your car’s body. Use even strokes throughout the surface. But ensure the primer you use is compatible with your lacquer paint. After the first coat dries, sand it to promote inter-coat adhesion. Then add another coat but in the opposite direction to avoid overlapping. 

Step 3 Spray Painting

By now, your surface should be prepared enough to accept paint. Hold your spray can some inches away from the car’s surface and start applying the first coat lightly. This way, you will effectively establish a grip where the second coat will stick effortlessly without running or sagging.

After attaining full coverage, sand your paint to establish a rough texture for multiple coats. Remember to follow the drying times before adding subsequent coats. 

Step 5 : Finishing

After painting, add a coat of clear lacquer coat to make your car paint look deeper. Three coats are enough for a good-looking paint job but ensure you give each coat 30 minutes to dry. 

Is Lacquer or Enamel Better? 

Enamel and lacquer paints are often used interchangeably, but they are different formulas engineered for different applications. The paint components in these two formulas are similar, but the main distinction lies in the solvents used. Lacquer paints use lacquer as thinners, whereas enamels use mineral spirits etc. 

Ideally, enamel paints are commonly used on walls and metallic surfaces that require a glossy finish. They also come in handy on substrates that suffer extreme moisture and other outside forces. However, they take longer to dry, but they prove to be very enduring and durable. 

On the other hand, lacquer paints elicit a glossy and transparent finish. However, lacquer paints are not as durable as enamel paints. They are also prone to cracking and chipping, especially if applied by amateurs. Unlike enamel paints, lacquer dries quickly and has a thinner consistency which is why it’s sprayed on surfaces instead of brushing. 

Ideally, enamel paints are better than lacquer paints because they stay strong for a long time, unlike lacquers that soften, flake, and crack prematurely. 

Can You Brush on Lacquer Paint?

Yes, it’s possible to brush on lacquer paint but never brush on a spray-on lacquer application. The spray version dries quickly, so brushing on it might leave visible imperfections after application. 

Brush-on lacquer also dries quickly, but it will give you a hard time achieving full coverage. Ideally, you should use a soft bristle brush to apply your lacquer, as this brush option won’t leave unsightly marks on your surface. Be certain to start with light coats and even out the finish as instructed on the product label. 

How Long Should Lacquer Dry Before Sanding? 

Lacquer has a thin consistency; that’s why it dries to the touch within 20 minutes of application. Also, it dries fully after 24 hours. That’s when you can introduce impact on the surface, including sanding to roughen up the surface for the other coat of paint to stick. 

How Do You Speed Up Lacquer Drying Time?

As spoken of earlier, lacquer finish dries out faster than other paint finishes. However, when exposed to cold weather, lacquer dries and hardens slowly. Sometimes even this finish fails to cure at all. As such, this heightens the likelihood of sagging on straight surfaces, dust drying in the lacquer, and visible press scars when stacking. 

Ideally, it’s not easy to maintain normal temperatures in rooms where lacquered surfaces are stored. And even if you decide to generate warm air replacement, you’ll have to purchase expensive heating equipment, which adds to the utility cost considerably. Luckily, we have new lacquer formulations with low VOC content that dry quickly, even in cold conditions. However, very few individuals are accustomed to it. 

So apart from using the low VOC content lacquers, here are other alternative methods of speeding up your lacquer drying time. 

  • Acetone

Acetone is a liquid solvent specially formulated to speed up the drying duration of paints and finishes. You can add this liquid solvent to your lacquer, and it won’t cause any curing issues except one: your lacquer will dry quickly, considering acetone evaporates rapidly. 

  • 275 VOC Lacquer

This new lacquer version causes problems when used in warm conditions. That’s because it often dries too fast. So from that standpoint, this 275 VOC lacquer can be used in cold temps to help speed up the drying duration. 

Also, you may want to use a hairdryer to accelerate the drying time of your lacquer. This is achieved by blowing warm air above your lacquered surface. The warm air makes the solvents in the lacquer evaporate quicker than normal.

However, be certain not to set your hair dryer to heat. This is because heat will promote cracking and bubbling on your lacquered surface. But you can only use heat when the type of lacquer you use is designed for baking or UV cured. 

How Do You Smooth Out Lacquer?

Painters mostly favor lacquer because it redissolves when you add another coat of lacquer over it. In the process, it blends into one layer forming a more durable finish than other options. 

But considering its thin consistency, lacquer drips or runs easily, especially on vertical surfaces if you apply thick coats. This not only occurs to amateurs but also professional painters. Luckily, the remedy is relatively simple. Find out below: 

First, let the running or dripping lacquer dry for about 30 minutes. Then use 400 grit sandpaper damped in water to flatten the runs. You can sand in any direction, considering you’re smoothing the finish and not the surface. If you are dealing with many severe runs, you will want to use a palm sander to reduce the time and effort. 

After sanding, clear off the sanding dust with a damp rag, then let the surface dry. Thereafter, apply a fresh coat of lacquer over the entire surface for a uniform appearance. If you still realize some drips on your surface, repeat sanding and reapply the lacquer. 

What are the Different Types of Lacquer? 

Lacquer exists in different versions, and understanding the traits of each can help you settle on the right product for your project. 

  • Nitrocellulose Lacquers

This type of lacquer is among the cheapest versions available and dries very fast. It rubs out well, and because it’s rated an evaporative finish, each fresh coat merges into the initial coats, making repairing an easy task. However, its main downside is that it yellows with time, meaning it can shrink to introduce cracks on the surface. 

  • Acrylic Lacquers

This lacquer type integrates acrylic resins that stay clear for long, meaning your surface won’t yellow as it ages. The functional properties of this finish are similar to nitrocellulose, except this option is more expensive. Even better, it rubs out evenly, especially with spraying equipment to enhance the surface resistance to scratches. 

  • Catalyzed Lacquers

Catalyzed lacquers were introduced to the market due to increased demand from cabinet industries and production furniture. This version of lacquer is an ideal solution to scratches, chemical spills, and moisture. However, it is very toxic, so be warned and wear protective supplies when using it. 

Final Thoughts. 

If you plan to protect your furniture and other substrates from foreign forces, a fresh coat of lacquer will do the trick. This paint finish rubs out easily to form a hard and durable coat on surfaces. It’s also designed to impart the same clarity on surfaces for years to come.

However, its bad reputation of being flammable keeps it out of any user’s top-wish list. You can also paint a lacquer finish to add aesthetic appeal to the substrate. Are you still asking yourself this question? Like…

Can I Paint Over Lacquer Without Sanding? 

Well, Yes, it’s okay to paint over lacquer without sanding, but doing so can be a useless task if you don’t give your surface sufficient preparation. That said, you should ensure your surface is relatively clean by wiping it down with certified chemical cleaners like TSP. 

I hope you found this post helpful. Didn’t you? Do you have any question, opinion or suggestion that you’d love to share? I hope so, please feel free to reach out to me in the comment section below.