Gloss Clear Coat Over Matte Paint

Yes, you can apply a gloss clear coat over matte paint. This will give the paint a more reflective and shiny finish.

Guide: Applying Gloss Clear Coat Over Matte Paint

Can you put gloss clear over matte paint?
Yes, it is possible to apply a clear gloss coat over matte paint. I frequently use gloss coats over various matte paints, whether they are acrylics, lacquer-based like Tamiya, or water-based options like Andrea, Vallejo Model Color, and craft-store brands. The matte colors do not diminish the glossy finish of the top coat.
Applying a gloss clear coat over matte paint can transform the appearance of your vehicle or any matte-painted surface. The glossy finish adds depth, protection, and a unique visual appeal. In this guide, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of this process, how to do it, and provide some essential tips to ensure a successful outcome.

Pros and Cons:


  1. Enhanced Appearance: The gloss clear coat can make matte surfaces look shinier and more visually appealing.
  2. Protection: The clear coat acts as a protective barrier against UV rays, scratches, and environmental contaminants.
  3. Easier Maintenance: Gloss clear coats are generally easier to clean and maintain than matte surfaces.
  4. Customization: You can add a personalized touch to your vehicle or project by choosing the level of gloss you prefer.


  1. Irreversible: Once applied, removing the gloss clear coat can be challenging and may damage the underlying matte paint.
  2. Additional Time and Effort: Applying a clear coat requires extra steps and careful preparation.
  3. Cost: You’ll need to invest in clear coat materials and tools, increasing the overall cost of the project.

Can you spray gloss over matte spray paint?
Yes, you can spray gloss over matte spray paint. However, it’s essential to consider the type of paint you are using. Some paints may not adhere to the gloss properly, particularly if they are nitrocellulose lacquer-based.

How to Apply Gloss Clear Coat Over Matte Paint:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Gloss clear coat
  2. Matte painted surface
  3. Sandpaper (800-1000 grit)
  4. Tack cloth
  5. Paint sprayer or brush
  6. Masking tape and paper/plastic sheeting
  7. Respirator mask and safety glasses


  • Surface Preparation:
  • Ensure the matte paint is clean and dry.
  • If necessary, wash and dry the surface thoroughly.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper (800-1000 grit) to scuff the matte paint lightly. This helps the clear coat adhere better.
  • Clean the surface with a tack cloth to remove any sanding residue.
  • Masking:
  • Mask off areas you do not want to clear coat, such as windows, trim, or other non-paint surfaces, using masking tape and plastic or paper sheeting.

Can you polish a matte finish?
No, you should never polish or compound matte paint as traditional waxes, sealants, and coatings will alter its appearance. Instead, use chemical methods to decontaminate the paint, and avoid using a clay bar.

  • Application:
  • In a well-ventilated area, preferably a paint booth, wear a respirator mask and safety glasses.
  • Using a paint sprayer or brush, apply the gloss clear coat evenly in thin, overlapping passes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and application.
  • Drying Time:
  • Allow the clear coat to dry as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, typically between 24 to 48 hours.
  • Additional Coats (Optional):

Why is my clear coat not shiny?
If your clear coat is not shiny, it could be due to improper application. To achieve a glossy finish, ensure that you spray the clear coat with the right technique, using proper strokes that are neither too fast nor too far apart. Practicing on a test card or another body panel can help you achieve the desired glossy result.

  • Depending on the level of gloss you desire, you may apply additional coats, allowing each coat to dry properly.
  • Final Curing:
  • Allow the clear coat to fully cure, which may take several days or weeks, depending on environmental conditions.
  • Buff and Polish (Optional):
  • After curing, you can choose to buff and polish the clear coat for a smoother and shinier finish.

Can you put gloss clear over flat paint?
If you apply clear gloss over flat paint, it will transform the finish into a glossy one. To maintain a matte finish, you should use satin clear or only spray it with flat black paint.


  1. Choose the Right Clear Coat: Select a high-quality gloss clear coat that is compatible with your matte paint type.
  2. Environmental Conditions: Apply the clear coat in a controlled environment with minimal dust, humidity, or extreme temperatures.
  3. Even Application: Ensure even and consistent coverage to prevent streaks and blotches.
  4. Patience: Don’t rush the process. Proper drying and curing times are crucial for a successful outcome.
  5. Safety First: Use protective gear and work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  6. Practice: If you’re new to clear coating, practice on a small test surface before applying it to the entire vehicle or project.

Applying a gloss clear coat over matte paint requires attention to detail and patience, but the results can be stunning. Be sure to follow these steps and tips to achieve a glossy, durable finish while preserving the integrity of your matte paint.

What is the difference between matte clear and gloss clear?
The primary difference between matte clear and gloss clear finishes lies in their appearance. Matte clear materials absorb and disperse ink, creating a muted and softer look with less reflectivity compared to glossy finishes. While matte finishes don’t showcase colors as vividly as gloss finishes, they are preferred for various applications.

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