Painting over Chalkboard or Chalk Paint with Latex

United Soybean Board/flickrIt was great fun chalk painting and chalkboarding just about everything in sight (watch out, Rover -- just kidding!) … for a while. But now there's a movement toward sleeker, more streamlined home decoration. If you still love your write-on-'em chalkboard walls or the shabby chic style of chalk paint, fine. Just keep on keeping on and enjoy them in good health.

OTOH, if you feel that these house painting styles are starting to rub you the wrong way like ... well ... fingernails on a chalkboard, here's how to successfully make the switch to latex.

Chalkboard Paint vs. Chalk Paint

True, their names are similar and both types of paint came into fashion at more or less the same time. However, you will find some important differences between the two.

Chalkboard paint is manufactured to produce a smooth, durable, matt finish. Available in a whole rainbow of colors in addition to the traditional black, it's been used to transform anything -- walls, doors, plant pots, or even refrigerators -- into chalkboards that can be written or drawn on with regular chalk, and then easily erased.

Chalk paint was developed to give furniture a variety of interesting distressed effects, although aficionados have since experimented with it on all kinds of surfaces, such as kitchen cabinets. Its matt finish is often enhanced by the use of waxes.

The Importance of Pre-Painting Prep

The old saying "Well begun is half done" still holds true when it comes to just about every painting job. Begin your prep work by removing any chalk dust and thoroughly cleaning the surface, wielding a soft cloth moistened with warm soapy water. Repair any cracks or gouges using filler.

Sand with a fine- to medium-grit sandpaper in order to help the new paint to adhere; then wipe off the sanding residue and make sure the wall or other item to be painted is completely dry. At this point, you'll be ready to apply primer.

Covering Chalkboard Paint

Once you've taken the time to prep carefully, painting over your old chalkboard paint will be relatively straightforward. The main issue is getting good coverage over black or another dark shade -- as anyone who has "inherited" a home with deep purple or midnight blue walls can tell you.

Priming is key. If you plan to paint a pale hue, applying 2 coats of primer will be extremely helpful, as will using primer tinted with a color similar to your top coat. Be sure to allow plenty of time and good ventilation, if possible, for drying between coats.

Choose high quality latex paint, brushes, and rollers for the best coverage. Mix your paint very well and apply it undiluted. Should you feel the need, you can purchase one of the specially formulated "extreme hide" paints on the market.

Covering Chalk Paint

Covering chalk paint with latex can be as simple as pie … or an incredible headache. It all depends on what the painted texture is like and whether the piece has been waxed. A rough texture will need painstaking sanding work to prepare it for repainting; an electric sander might be your best bet here.

Wax requires even more labor-intensive removal. Rub the coated, painted wood with mineral spirits to dissolve the wax. Then gently scrub with oil-free steel wool or a non-woven pad, followed by sandpaper to remove all traces. You will now be ready to clean, prime, and repaint.

For high quality prep work and repainting, hire a professional painting contractor.

Laura Firszt writes for

Updated December 30, 2018.

Get Free Quotes

Looking for a Pro? Call us at (866) 441-6648

Get Free Quotes
  • Service Needed
  • Zip Code
Get quotes from qualified local contractors