Can You Paint Eggshell Over Semigloss?

Semigloss is the second glossiest type of paint finish, after a high gloss. This highly durable paint is popular for detailing and in high-traffic areas such as bathrooms, but it can look dated, and it tends to highlight any flaws in your detailing. You may be wondering if you can paint over semigloss with a more matte finish, such as eggshell, which will look better.

The problem with painting over walls with glossier finishes, including semigloss paints, is that paint often has a harder time sticking to that surface. If you do not prep the area, all your work will be for nothing like the old glossy paint peeps through your new coat.

It is possible to paint eggshell over semigloss as long as you are prepared to follow the multi-step routine needed to make the job work.

Why Is it Hard to Paint Over Semigloss?

The same properties that make semigloss paint an attractive paint for high-traffic areas such as bathrooms make it very difficult to paint over. Semigloss paint has a shiny finish, meaning that dirt and moisture roll off the surface instead of damaging the paint and the wall beneath it. 

While this helps protect your home from moisture damage, it also makes it difficult to redecorate because that moisture-resistant surface also repels other paint. By removing some of the glossy finish and creating roughness on the wall, you will make it easier for a fresh coat of paint to stick.

Sanding Versus Deglossing

The first step when painting over semigloss is to clean the walls and repair any holes with spackling. After you wipe off any grime, take off some of the gloss with sandpaper or a paint flattening agent.

Paint flattening agents are liquid or powder solutions that also help to remove glossy finishes and stains from surfaces. Trisodium phosphate is used as a deglosser. Using a paint flattening agent is faster because you apply it to the wall and wait for it to dry. However, deglossers are often more expensive than sandpaper, and the chemicals can be harmful if you are around them without suitable ventilation and protection. 

If you decide to sand down your semigloss paint, be careful to sand in one direction continuously to avoid marring the texture of the paint’s surface. After sanding, wipe down the walls again to get rid of sand and paint particles. Never use sandpaper on paint that contains lead.

Priming the Paint

The next step when painting over semigloss paint is to apply primer. Primer provides a better surface for the next coat of paint to adhere to. It can also help cover up some of the gloss from the old paint, which might otherwise peep through your new paint.

The good news is that you can usually get away with applying only one coat of primer. Apply the primer using a roller (switching to a small brush for the detailing and smaller areas). Wait for the primer to dry completely before applying paint.

Applying the Paint

The final step is to paint over the walls with your eggshell paint. From now on, you can treat this as you would any paint job. Prepare the paint by stirring it and pouring it out into a rolling tray. For large walls, rollers are best because they give you even coverage and help you finish the job faster.

Most experts recommend applying two coats of paint rather than just one. This is particularly true if you are trying to paint over a shinier finish such as semigloss. Applying two coats (plus a base layer of primer) ensures that the gloss does not peek through.


Although painting eggshell over semigloss paint requires a bit more effort than painting over a matte wall, you can still get good results as long as you are willing to put in the work. 

The most important step is to strip the glossy finish to create a rougher surface that the eggshell paint can stick to. You can do this using sandpaper or a deglosser (which one you choose will depend on the type of paint you have and your personal preference). The rest of the procedure will be similar to any painting job.

Leave a Comment