How To Paint Over Clear Coat? Step by Step Guide

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A clear coat is normally known for being transparent and can be used as a finisher to cover a colored coat. They are not always required but have great benefits if used such as increased protection and durability of the paint. Clearcoat is basically used to enhance and add sparkle to any color. They tend to last 10 to 15 years unless scratched or dull, and then it is recommended to replace it or do a makeover.

When a clear coat is applied it creates a bond with the sometimes-wet paint and locks it in, this makes it difficult to only replace the clear coat once redoing the application, meaning that sometimes it will be necessary to repaint and recoat the entire surface, but it won’t be always the case. The clear coat may peel in certain areas and may be difficult to peel or remove in other areas. Let’s check some proper ways to paint or replace a clear coat.


Most people say you cannot paint over a clear coat, otherwise, the new paint may peel or bubble. Some people say a clear coat cannot be repaired without sanding. If the area is peeling, cracking the best thing to do will be to replace the entire painting or just the damaged area otherwise it won’t look proper or might peel again.

To make painting over clear coat budget-friendly you can use non-expensive tools and still achieve great results.

You will need the following supplies:

  • Sandpaper 320 grit for large areas and 1000 grit for small areas
  • Polishing product to be used after sanding
  • A primer if painting is needed
  • Paint, color of your choice
  • Clear coat


  • Prep the surface by cleaning the affected area to remove any contaminants with water or with a soft cloth
  • To diminish or remove the clear coat, a wet sanded 1000 grit sandpaper can be used until surface is smooth while checking progress in between. A 2000 wet sandpaper can also be used as a final touch to ensure a smoother surface. Avoid adding too much pressure when sanding, it must be done lightly so the sandpaper may do all the work. 
  • Some people may lean in adding pressure to the sanding creating additional scratches, to avoid increasing sanding time, definitely keep this in mind. Wet sanding is recommended to even out the surface and may take some time depending on the size of the area so it is definitely recommended to plan ahead.
  • For larger areas, you can use 400 grit sandpaper wet or dry, to remove clear coat


Step 1                 

After the sanding process is over, a new colored paint coat may be required depending on how much you had to sand the area, either partially or completely. Sometimes sanding the color of the surface won’t be necessary if the scratch was minor but if experiencing large scratches or peeling then removing the entire clear coat and paint may be necessary to add a new clear coat.

In this case, ticker sandpaper of about 320 grit can be used to sand the area, this will be great to remove the painting, you can also add a bit of pressure to remove the painting and clear coat, this will quicken the sanding process also.

Step 2                

The next step is to clean off the area after sanding and choosing the color of your choice, to prep for the painting process. Use a polishing product to clean off an area from the sanding which will also apply some shine. This is done by applying a compound then buffing the area which can be done by hand with a microfiber towel or using a machine.

You can also use a paper towel. You can then apply a primer which will help the paint adhere to the area. Wait a couple of hours once the primer is applied before painting the area so the primer may dry. Once the paint is added, you should wait at least 30 minutes before applying a clear coat, this is normally to create a bond between the paint and the clear coat to create adhesion.

Step 3                 

It is recommended to add 3 to 5 layers of coat, it should be added lightly or somewhat thin each time to avoid dripping while focusing on painting differences if any between the new paint and the old paint. A 1k clear coat can be used. Wait up to 10 minutes in between coats depending on weather conditions and the thickness of the paint. Also keep in mind that you can choose to either paint with a brush or with a spray can, whichever you find to be comfortable and affordable if you are on a budget.

Once your clear coat is dry, you would have successfully replaced your clear coat. Clear coats are different from primers and sealants in that their main purpose is to apply durability and gloss to your painting while providing it with a great finish.

Clearcoat is also applied depending on the type of surface you’re working on and steps may vary a little since clear coats can be added to walls, woods, cars, and other different types of surface.

When using sandpaper, wet sanding is known for being the safest method for clear coat correction, normally takes 2 to 3 sanding to remove small scratches, and for larger areas, you can sand until the clear coat is completely removed.

If painting wood and you really want to avoid sanding at all cost, there’s a method known as oil bond latex agent which doesn’t require sanding. Many people prefer this option as it saves lots of time. Primers and paint create adhesion which allows paints to last longer and if you’re going to skip the primer step then you may need to create adhesion using other methods, one of them known as oil bond


  • Apply directly to the surface with a clean rag.
  • Mix with paint as directed on the bottle.
  • Stir well and then paint.

Oil Bond is available at an affordable price. We hope these tips are helpful.