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Can You Paint Over Thompson’s Water Seal

Thompson’s water seal is a popular product that protects outdoor wood from moisture and UV damage. It creates a water-resistant barrier that prevents water beads from forming on the wood grain. However, some people may want to change their wood’s solid color or appearance by applying paint over it. Is this possible with Thompson’s water seal?

The answer is yes, but it requires some prep work and careful steps. You cannot simply apply paint over the sealed surface, as it will not adhere well and may peel off. This is because of the hydrophobic properties of the sealer, which repels water-based paints.

So, because of this, you’ll want to know, “how long does Thompson water seal take to dry?” You also need a waiting period of at least 45 days after applying the sealer, as it takes time to cure completely. 

To successfully paint over Thompson’s water seal, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Prep the finish by wiping off dirt or dust with a damp cloth.
  2. Sand the finish lightly with a power sander or sandpaper to create roughness for better adhesion.
  3. Prime the finish with an oil-based primer that binds latex and oil-based paints.
  4. Prep the paint according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Paint over the sealer with your desired solid color and type of paint.
  6. Seal the paint with a top coat for extra protection.

Following these steps, you can achieve a beautiful, durable painted surface over Thompson’s water seal. However, you could find the surface peeling, cracking, or flaking quickly. Besides this, you may lose the waterproofing stain abilities to repel water.

In our guide, you can learn more about applying Thompson’s water seal and how to prepare the surface properly. By the end, you’ll better understand the Thompson water seal dry time and whether it is worth trying to paint over Thompson’s waterseal. (Read Can You Mix Oil And Acrylic Paint)

plastic container

Can You Paint Over Thompson’s Water Seal?

Though you might not want to try it, it looks possible. According to Thompson’s website, painting over any of their water seals is not recommended. The manufacturer warns that the product’s hydrophobic properties may cause paint to bead or even fail to “catch” on wood.

Although the official website strongly advises against it, using a power washer and a thick coat of primer, some have been able to paint over previous Water Seal.

Ensure you use the right paint for the job if you decide to paint over the water seal. According to anecdotal information, this procedure doesn’t work well with latex-based paint. Latex paint dries off the surface and cracks.

Note: If you try and use latex, these modern latex primers, when you apply Thompson’s water seal, offer nothing like oil-based primers, yet you can apply them to wet wood if it hasn’t been treated.

Should I Try To Paint Over Thompson’s Water Seal?

Most Thompson’s Water Seal projects involve waterproofing wood stains or cement stains on a patio or deck. As a result, your deck or cement may already have a stain included in the Water Seal. Just painting it over is unnecessary.

Also, painting a deck that has received TWS treatment can be too much work. The prep work takes a lot of time, and the paint cannot last very long. Expect to give the area touch-ups and frequent repainting sessions throughout its existence if you want to paint it and keep it looking brilliant.

You shouldn’t attempt to paint over the entire surface if you follow the manufacturer’s guidance.

How Do I Paint Over Thompson’s Water Seal?

painting materials

While some argue there should be a waiting time, others say the water sealant could be removed.

Look at how well the Thompson’s Water Seal deflects water as an excellent place to start and work your way up from there. This is what you must do for proper preparation to prepare and paint your deck space.

  1. In a sizable bucket, combine water and a paint stripper to create a solution. 
  2. Look for a wood stripper that uses chemical solvents to break through the hydrophobic materials. Apply the solution to your deck after mixing it as instructed on the packet.
  3. Use a pressure washer and thoroughly clean the surface you intend to paint. Remove the remover and any remaining materials by rinsing them.
  4. Dry off the area. Even though the hydrophobic substance may still appear stained on your deck, it should essentially be gone.
  5. Get a sandblasting kit if you plan on painting over concrete to remove the water seal. While this might seem a little “extra,” it frequently works.
  6. Every wooden surface you intend to paint should be sanded down using a power sander.
  7. You must sand down the area to altogether remove Thompson Water Seal. That could take some time, but you’ll understand it was worth the wait once you see the painted results.
  8. Put on a few coats of primer. Make sure that the primer you chose matches the paint you chose.
  9. We advise staying away from latex-based paints unless you are sure that you have entirely removed Thompson’s Water Seal. As directed on the can, allow the primer to cure.
  10. Do a spot test with your paint in a corner. Finish painting the rest of your deck if the spot test is successful.

Note: One thing you may not be aware of this the type of water sealers used. You will discover several products, some of which are only used on bare and uncoated brick. Besides this, depending on the type of primer you use will affect the drying time. Latex primers can dry in a few hours, while oil-based primers need to dry overnight, like oil-based paint.

Besides this, this isn’t recommended if you ever think of using Thompson’s water seal indoors. (Read Painting Enamel Over Acrylic)

How Would I Know It’s OK To Paint Over The Water Seal?

If you recently neglected to seal your deck, you might get away with simply adding primer and painting it. Most of Thompson’s products discontinue providing water protection after four to six years. Unless you used Thompson’s Water Seal Advanced clear, you could generally have paint applied to concrete 45 days after exposure to the product.

Check whether water beads form on the surface or if the Water Seal can stay dry for a hint that you shouldn’t paint over it. If so, you might have to wait a little longer or scrape off the sealant. If you have a deck covered in solid stain and are unsure how it will coat, or you want to avoid the cleaning hassle.

First, find if it contains paraffin wax, as nothing will stick at all, and you’ll need to follow the proper steps for sanding.

How Do You Know Which Paint Isn’t Compatible With Thompson’s Seal?

buckets of paint

Removing the sealant entirely is the easiest way to ensure you won’t experience compatibility problems.

Avoid latex-based paints if you wish to bypass this step because they are infamous for not “taking” to any surfaces that have been sealed with water sealant. So you can decide what could work best, run a spot test first.

Officially, Thompson’s Water Sealant is not compatible with any paints. According to our advice, the most significant thing you can do for your deck (or asphalt) is remove any existing sealant before painting.

Can Thompson’s Water Seal Advanced Clear Go On Painted Surfaces?

The website for Thompson claims that the response is a resounding no. This is because the paint will run, or the Thompson’s water sealer will not adhere to it because of the hydrophobic nature, which they design to keep water drops from soaking your pressure-treated lumber.

How To Paint Over Thompson’s Water Seal?

It takes a lot of time to paint over Thompson’s water sealer, and the result will be subpar if you don’t know what to do. 

What You Need:

    • Sandpaper (180-320 grit)
    • Chemical-based paint stripper/ or mineral spirits
    • Paint
    • High-Quality Primer
    • Rubber Gloves
    • Power sander
    • Rags
    • Paint Mixer
    • Paintbrushes or Paint Sprayer
    • A shop vac or broom
    • Polyurethane

1. Complete Surface Preparation

Prepare the finish first. To achieve this, use a rag to wipe and clean the sealed surface to remove dust. Sand the surface using 180-grit sandpaper after wiping it. As a result, the finish develops ridges that the primer can stick to.

Use sandpaper with a grit of 220-320 to polish the surface. After sanding, clean or dust the surface. You must first remove the water sealer if you want a perfect finish. Use a chemical-based paint stripper or coarse sandpaper to do this and ensure it’s dry before your first coat of primer. (Learn How Long Does It Take Spray Paint To Dry)

2. Prime The Finish.

The sealant and paint adhere to each other more firmly, thanks to the priming. In this manner, the paint will adhere to the primer rather than the sealer. Use a paintbrush to apply one coat of primer.

3. Paint Preparation

The sort of paint you intend to use will determine the preparation process. Most water-based paints need to be shaken or stirred before use. Some call for mixing the paint with an additional component before using it. Hence, to know how to prepare it, check and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Paint the sealer.

Apply the paint when the priming has dried. To do use, use a paintbrush or sprayer. To use a sprayer, the paint must be thinned (especially for oil-based types). For adequate coverage and a sound surface, three coats are required. Apply the subsequent coat once the initial one has dried, and follow the grain pattern.

man painting a wall

5. Paint Sealing

Finish by sealing the surface. This guarantees that the surface won’t stop being waterproof. Polyurethane or varnish are options for sealing it. There is a drawback to doing this, and you may ask, how long does Thompson water seal last?

The finish won’t last very long because the sealer isn’t intended to be painted, which is a drawback. When applied over sealer, a coat will usually last a couple of years and vary depending on how often you use the area. When appropriately applied, the same coating will last over eight years, so remove Thompson’s water seal first if you want a long-lasting finish. 

Note: Ensure you are in a ventilated area, as concentrated vapors can be easily breathed in and negatively affect your health.

Do You Need to Remove The Sealer?

If a sealant is painted over without being removed, the paint won’t adhere and will eventually peel off the surface. This is because Thompson’s water layer has a hydrophobic layer that is made to repel many liquids, including paints.

Hence, you must either remove the sealer or sand and prepare it before putting paint. You may remove the waterproof top layer by sanding and making tiny ridges that primer can penetrate. Also, the primer coat helps the paint stick to the sealed surface more effectively.

It will crack and fall off if you paint over it without removing it or modifying its state with primer in a matter of days.

How Long Does It Take Thompson Water Seal To Dry

Before painting can start, the concrete must receive the proper preparation and have enough time to dry. On concrete that has been cured for at least 30 days, apply Thompson’s Water Seal. Apply sealant only when the surface has been dry for at least 24 hours and the temperature has surpassed 40 degrees. (Learn How Much Does 5 Gallons Of Paint Weigh)

Likewise, a sealer should never be painted on damp wood. Check whether a second coat is necessary after allowing a drying time of around 48 hours before applying your finishing coat.

Sprinkle some water on the concrete. Seal the concrete if water beads start to appear on it. A second application is necessary if the water absorbs and leaves a dark spot on the concrete. You can then paint over it after that.

Can You Paint Over Thompson's Water Seal