Can You Paint Over Stained Wood Without Sanding?

Have you ever wondered if painting over stained wood is possible without sanding? Yes, definitely! But first things first.

What’s sanding?

Sanding is an action of making wood smoother by abrading wood fibers to render them thoroughly rough. The tools needed to enable sanding are sandpaper and an orbit sander. Popular to a misconception, there’s no actual sand involved.

Instead, the abrasive works as a cutting tool which can then be used to shape, cut, finalize raw wood either entirely or to a junction where the material is then ready to accept any kind of finish.

There’s also the option of sanding by hand, which gives you complete control over the wooden surface. You can reach out to any corner which a machine would not be able to. Even though it’s a tedious process, the end-product is near-perfect.

Can you skip sanding for all types of furniture?

So, which kind of furniture are you looking at in the painting? If you’re worrying that you won’t be able to skip sanding over stained wood over intricate furniture, you’re wrong.

a man painting over stained wood using a paint brush

Whether it’s a mirror with intricate detailing in the frame or a broken bentwood chair, even if it’s a slatted bench, you can miss sanding and paint wooden furniture.

All you have to do at the start is to clean the surface thoroughly before beginning. Moving on to the next part, we’ll be looking at the various processes through which you can bypass sanding and paint over stained wood.

5 Methods to paint furniture by skipping sanding

  1. Using Chalk Paint

One of the easiest and common ways of painting without sanding is to use chalk paint. It’s the luscious matte finish that chalks paint promises and attracts everyone to this method. There are many popular brands available that frequently hit the market. The advantage of chalk paint is that there’s no prep required, and it works miraculously well on many surfaces. For example, it sits perfectly well on the chalkboard and on your table where kids can sit for breakfast.

  1. Using Mineral Paint

Working pretty much similar to chalk paint, mineral paint also requires no prep work that needs to be done. It sticks to most of the surfaces, and also, as an addition, many brands are waterproof, stainproof, dustproof, and don’t need topcoats. These many advantages give mineral paint a cutting edge over others. But even though it’s durable and waterproof, it comes with a good cost. So, it needs to fit in your budget.

  1. Using milk paint plus bonding agent

The grip you get with the mix of milk paint and bonding agent is pretty much perfect. If you mix equal parts of your agent with your pre-mixed milk paint, you can apply it to whichever wood furniture you wish to without sanding.

Milk Paint can be bought either as a pre-mix or powder. Alternatively, you can even make it yourself at home, and since it’s non-toxic and bio-degradable, it’s a viable option. Do note that the bonding agent is only needed for the 1st coat post, which just the milk paint should suffice.

  1. Using a bonding primer

In case if you have a particular paint in mind, we’ll recommend going for a bonding primer. The best quality primers in the market come with a statement ‘no sanding is required.’ Bonding primer primarily sticks to most gloss-based surfaces like metal, tiles, glass, etc.

Check for some high-quality bonding primers in the market that can act as a base coat. There are specific bonding primers for specific surfaces. Additionally, for the future, this will also help you prep vinyl, glass, and other similar surfaces, so in case you have leftovers, don’t fret about it. The best part is that it dries before an hour as well.

  1. Using a liquid sandpaper/deglosser

One of the least recognized methods to avoid sanding is using liquid sandpaper or/and deglosser. In this process, the liquid is first directly applied to the surface. A chemical reaction happens, and it sticks to the new paint. There’s a pungent smell when this occurs, so for best results, keep the area well-ventilated. You can apply by brushing/wiping and then directly painting within the given allocated time. Read the instructions carefully as it may differ for each surface.

Even though the methods mentioned above will work 9 out of 10 times, you may still find that one piece of stubborn furniture may not agree with it. What works on one piece of furniture may not work on another due to the intricacy of the furniture itself. In that situation, you might give your furniture a light coat of sanding in the first place.

Key points to note

We’ll help you with some special points to remember while you go about your painting stained wood for oil-based wood. These are just suggestions along with the methods mentioned above while skipping sanding.

– When painting over oil-based wood, there’s a special preparation that’s necessary. You can cover the oil finish with either oil-based paint or latex paint, but additional surface preparation is required.

– Firstly, use safety goggles and latex gloves. If there’s a fan in your room, use it to keep the room well-ventilated or if you’re outdoors, try and keep yourself warm and comfortable.

– Dissolve one/quarter cup of Trisodium Phosphate in one gallon of water. Use a soft sponge and plunge it into the mixture. Wiggle it out and wipe the surface, taking in all the dirt and grease that may exist earlier.

– Repeat the above process and give the surface some time to dry. Sand all the rough areas and use a damp cloth to wipe it down clean. Now, use a bonding primer that is water-based and made to use on glossy and difficult-to-paint surfaces such as varnish. Follow the instructions of the product correctly.

– Finally, use two coats of pain. If you’re working indoors, use indoor paints and outdoor projects, choose between interior/exterior, which can resist dramatic weather.


The suggestions mentioned above are for you, if you want to paint your kitchen, old furniture, redo your kids’ furniture and don’t want any sanding. Sanding does involve a bit of inhaling it, and a cloud of carcinogens is formed around you in the process. It’s best to avoid it and use any of your preferred choices from the lot above.


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