Painting over wood is a popular project – and one that can easily go wrong. If you don’t get it right, you can find yourself with a mess and wasted wood. Sometimes, painting is a project best left to the pros. Use this guide to help you decide whether you’ll DIY or hire a guy.

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Materials Required:

  • Wood to paint
  • Fine-grained sandpaper
  • Rag or cloth
  • Primer
  • Sander
  • Paint
  • Coarse-grained sandpaper
  • Paint brush and mix stick

Most anything that is made of wood can be transformed with a can of paint and some step-by-step instructions. It is important to realize that countless factors influence the best method or series of steps to follow when painting wood, such as whether the surface has been previously painted or stained, proper priming of the wood you will be painting, and which materials provide the best results.

What Are You Painting?

Painting is a quick and economical way to transform old pieces of furniture or other wood projects into something beautiful that looks brand new. However, depending on what you are painting, different steps will need to be taken to ensure the best results. Common wood painting projects include the following:

  • Garden and indoor furniture
  • Molding and paneling
  • Window and door frames
  • Outdoor projects
  • Cabinets
  • Banister rails

The good news is that painting wood, whether furniture or crafts, is something that can be stripped away and changed down the road.

How To Prepare To Paint

The fundamental and essential first step to painting is preparation. You’ll need to do this to achieve superior results. It’s tempting to jump in and start painting, but spending a few extra minutes of prep work will produce a much better outcome and help you avoid any problems during the process. The basic preparation steps include:

  • Covering and protecting furniture and other items with plastic or canvas drop cloths
  • Ensuring good ventilation, such as opening windows, for latex and oil-based paint
  • Protecting switches with tape and shut off circuit breakers if necessary
  • Using a face mask, plastic safety glasses and gloves to protect your hand
  • Taping rosin paper over interior doorways to protect the rest of the house from fumes
  • Masking off the areas or items to be painted

Careful preparation before you begin painting will ensure that the wood will grab the color and that the surface will remain smooth for years.

Is Your Wood Stained or Painted?

Determine whether your wood project is already stained or previously painted. It is possible to paint over stained wood. In fact, there are several correct methods for painting stained wood. The approach you use depends on the type of stain that was used, the condition of the wood and what you are painting, such as furniture or a deck. For previously painted wood, you will need to scrape the old paint entirely off before applying new paint.

Tips for Wood Sanding

Sanding wood is a tedious task, but you can finish this boring chore in less than half the time and with much better results if you learn a few simple tricks. First, use two sanders and you can double your productivity. Next, connect your sander to a vacuum to increase the dust removal process and keep your surfaces dust-free. Also, you can use every other grit as you sand your way from coarse to fine. Additionally, don’t press on the sander or you will end up with swirls in the wood. Finally, know when to stop sanding. This will depend on whether the wood is open or closed grain, and the type of finish you will be applying.

How To Prepare Wood For Paint

The most critical and overlooked step of painting wood is taking your time to prime it for painting. Paint does not fill in or hide holes, dents, cracks or any other blemishes. In fact, those flaws will likely become even more obvious. Here are a few tips to properly prepare wood for painting:

  • Remove all old paint from the wood. This is a crucial step to take before adding a new coat of paint. The best method is scrape away as much paint as possible using a putty knife.
  • Fill all deep gouges and dings with high-quality wood putty. Use a flexible putty knife and fill in all the areas with imperfections. Wait until it is thoroughly dry before sanding.
  • Caulk areas with deep or long cracks. To fill cracks, apply a tiny bead of caulk and smooth it out completely. Wait to dry completely before sanding.

Priming is vital to a lasting finish because it eliminates flaws or discolorations from bleeding through. Remember that painting over flaws is a guarantee that your first coat of paint will not last.

If this is your first project, make sure to following the prep and priming steps. You will understand the importance when you see the final results.

HomeAdvisor Tip:

Adding a few drops of paint to your primer will tint the primer to better match your paint color.

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