Paint over old poly...


New User
Hey all, I inherited a porch swing from my folks, nothing special. Pine build, rustic. It has had several refinishes from my dad with spar urethane, and other polys he tried over the years. Those finishes are beat up pretty bad from all the UV and rough outdoor elements. He would generally refinish it every year, and I just don't need that regular maintenance (I've got plenty already!) I'm looking to paint over it all (not my first choice, but there was a committee decision made) to seal it up and get many more years out of the swing before I build something myself, or go recycled lumber style.

So the question is what kind of paint would work well over that old existing poly finish? I'll sand it all down of course, but wasn't sure if latex vs acrylic vs something I don't know about... Thanks in advance for your input!


Corporate Member
I used to repaint stuff all the time. Sand it, use a primer, be sure you use outdoor paint. I have also used decorative painting and a decent varnish over top.


Senior User
Before putting latex paint over oil-based finishes (even sanded down there's likely to be some residual poly left, and also sanding poly is no picnic unless you have a whole lot of sandpaper at hand), I'd suggest using a stripper and possibly re-priming. I used Citristrip to do this on some fiberglass doors that had been gel stained and poly'd (multiple coats) -- it was much faster and easier than sanding and I had no issues about adhesion of the latex paint.


Corporate Member
Will the swing be on a covered porch out of the rain and elements?

I'd give it a light sanding and put dewaxed shellac over it. Latex exterior paint can be added but not necessarily needed over the shellac. Too much fretting over an inherited old porch swing. If it gets ratty in a few years, build a new one.

This one is cypress with no finish.

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Stuart Kent

Senior User
strip it. If the remaining poly gets moisture under it (and it probably will at some point), the poly will flake or peel and then you will have two problems to deal with. Citristrip is good stuff and will take about the same amount of time as sanding - but you will have a raw surface to prime and paint to.

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