Can You Paint Matt Over Silk?

If you attempt to paint matt over silk, you may encounter some problems, but our guide shows you how to overcome those issues.
Written By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
can you paint matt over silk
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Silk paint is often used on woodwork, metal, walls, ceilings, and other surfaces, but if you want a less reflective finish, you may be wondering if you can paint over it with matt paint.

To give you an idea of whether it’s possible and the best method to paint matt over silk, we’ve written the guide below based on our own experience.

What Is The Difference Between Matt & Silk Paint?

To begin our answer, it’s important that you understand that matt and silk paint are used for different purposes and have very different properties.

For example, matt paint provides a flat, non-reflective finish and is often used for walls and ceilings because it doesn’t reflect light. Therefore, this makes it the ideal paint to use for rooms that receive a lot of natural light. The most common paint that provides a matt finish is emulsion, but others include chalk paint and cupboard paint.

Silk paint, on the other hand, has a slight sheen to it and is often used for woodwork (such as skirting board paint) and other surfaces that need to be protected from wear and tear. It also benefits from being able to withstand high moisture levels, making it a great paint to use in a bathroom.

For further information regarding the differences, we wrote a detailed guide on matt vs silk paint.

Why Painting Matt Over Silk Is A Problem

Painting over silk with matt paint can be an issue because silk paint is designed to have a slight sheen, whereas matt paint has a flat finish. Therefore, the finish may appear uneven and patchy if you paint over silk with matt paint.

The reason why this happens is because the matt paint won’t be able to adhere to the silk paint properly, and this is what causes it to flake or peel. Additionally, the different properties of the two paints may cause the colours to appear different on the painted surface, making it difficult to achieve a consistent finish.

painting matt over silk

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Is It Possible To Achieve A Quality Finish?

To paint over silk with matt paint without the above problems, there are a few things that you can do.

First, it’s important to clean the surface that you’ll be painting thoroughly. This will help remove any dirt or grime that would otherwise make it difficult for the paint to adhere properly. If possible, using a suitable primer beforehand could also help to produce a smooth, even surface for the matt paint to adhere to.

Another thing to consider is the paint colour because the silk paint that’s currently on the surface will be glossier, which makes finding a colour match for matt paint quite difficult. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use a paint colour that’s similar to the existing silk paint colour to achieve a more consistent finish.

When you apply matt paint over silk, you’ll want to use a paint roller or paint brushes that are designed to be used with matt paint. Along with the correct painting equipment, applying multiple thin coats and avoiding over-brushing or rolling will also help to create a smooth, even finish.


To conclude, painting over silk with matt paint can be a problem because of the different properties of the two paints. However, by following our tips to obtain a quality finish, you can achieve a smooth, even finish without any mishaps.

For further information with regards to painting matt over silk paint, feel free to get in touch, and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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