wood painting

Painting wood – how to do it? What and why to paint wood?

Wood is a noble raw material that ages beautifully. Painting wood ensures its longevity, but check how and with what to do it best so that it looks great even after many years of use.

Painting wood – why do it?

Painting wood is a way of protecting it from the effects of time, dirt or weatherand. Painting wood furniture is also a way to refresh and renew it.

Lacquer, oil or paint – what is the best way to paint wood?

What method of painting you choose depends on the purpose of the wood. Painting wood with varnish will work well when you want to preserve the visible structure of the wood, but give it the desired shade while protecting it with a layer of varnish.

Oil will work well for kitchen countertops and exotic wood furniture. On the other hand, wood paints, whether acrylic, chalk or oil, leave a covering coating. With acrylic paint mixers, you have the ability to get any shade you want. So you can easily match the color of the paint with other interior elements, such as wallpaper or fabrics.

Painting wood with impregnation

Paint or varnish?

Wood varnish usually gives transparent coating with a glossy, semi-matte or matte finish. Varnishes vary in hardness when dry. The hardest ones are suitable for wooden floors and stairs. Varnishes used to protect wooden surfaces of yachts and boats, thanks to special chemical additives, show high water resistance. Varnishes for kitchen countertops are ecological, mostly odorless and safe in contact with food.

Wood varnish, in addition to the properties of varnish, also has a pigment that penetrates deep into the wood.You will stain the wood with it, preserving the grain structure.


Painting wood with oil is the best way to preserve exotic woods like teak, mahogany, wenge. Wood oil soaks into the structure of exotic wood and protects it from moisture, which means that you can use such wood in the garden without additional protection.

This is a type of impregnation that also works well for kitchen countertops. Both oil and varnish painting of wood need to be repeated once in a while if the surface is frequently used. How often? Once every few months or when discoloration and stains make the countertop look unsightly.

Related: How to use linseed oil for wood?

Paint – just what kind?

Acrylic emulsions are the most popular paints for wood. They are convenient because of their water-solubility, that is, there is no need for solvents to wash tools. They have a glossy, satin or matte finish. Painting wood with acrylic paints is fun and not difficult even for those without experience. The paint is usually applied with a roller or brush.

Another extremely popular type of paint is chalk paints. These are wood paints based on water, chalk and pigment whose great advantage is high adhesion to the substrate,they do not require prior removal of layers of old paint. Such furniture paints are therefore ideal for restoration, and you can also use them to achieve visually interesting effects, such as paintings.

Painting wood at home

Painting wood with impregnation – what is wood impregnation?

Wood impregnation involves applying a preparation to the material that protects it from moisture but also from attack by woodworm or other insects or fungi. The products form a protective layer on the surface of the wood. Painting wood with wood preservatives from the technical side is no different from painting with paint. You can use a roller, brush or sponge for this purpose. After using the impregnant, you can paint the wood. Use a clear impregnator, and after it dries, cover the material with the paint or varnish of your choice. This will give you a durable, weather- and insect-resistant surface.

What is the best way to paint wood?

There is no one-size-fits-all method of painting wood,because everything depends, after all, on what you want to paint, the purpose of the painted surface, and what species of wood you are dealing with.

European wood species behave differently from exotic woods, which are naturally saturated with essential oils. You can paint wood using a brush, roller, spray gun, and if you want to achieve a perfect, perfectly smooth result with help comes powder painting of wood. For this, however, a visit to a professional powder coating shop will be necessary.

Painting wood at home – furniture, stairs, ceilings

Optimal means for painting wood at home are acrylic paints. They are water-based and often odorless, so the activity itself is pleasant and free of chemical fumes, and you wash your tools with water.

Remember that painting wood white requires first covering the knots with a special paint to prevent discoloration. Otherwise, unsightly yellow stains will appear in the place of knots.

If you intend to cover a large area with paint, such as the stairs, the best solution will be spray painting. The paint gun covers the wood with a mist of paint. It does not cause streaks and it is a fast way of painting.

Painting wood with a spray gun also has a disadvantage – the splashing mist settles on everything within a few tens of centimeters. So if you want to paint only part of the surface in this way, such as the wooden trim, it will be necessary to protect the remaining elements before painting with, for example. with paper or glued foil.

Painting wood outdoors

Painting wood outdoors

Wood that will be used outdoors requires special paints. On the market, there are covering paints for outdoor woodin many colors. After drying, the coating is durable and waterproof, so you can paint with them, for example, the wooden facade of a garden gazebo.

An outdoor wood preservative or varnish is also suitable for outdoor use. Painting wood outdoors is no different in principle from painting wood that will be used indoors. Make sure that the preparation you choose is appropriate for garden wood. You will find information about this, as well as the method of use, the tools needed and the drying time, on the package. Follow the instructions and the time needed between coats for best results.

Related: Painting furniture – a guide

Painting wood step by step

First, make sure the surface of the wood is clean, dry and dust-free. Then, according to the instructions on the paint package, coat the wood with a thin layer of paint using a roller or brush. When in contact with the paint, the bristles of the wood will rise, creating a rough surface. This is normal.

After the drying time specified in the instructions sand the surface with fine sandpaper to remove the roughness. This is the most important part of the wood painting process. If you skip it, you will not get the effect of a smooth, uniform surface.

Repeat the above steps until you get a satisfactory result, usually 2-3 coats of paint are necessary.

Painting wood is a great way to give your favorite furniture a fresh look. If you’re bored with your apartment’s décor and want to bring some novelty to it, reach for paint or stain and change the color of your wooden accessories. Don’t forget to waterproof and make sure the product is designed for the type of wood and environmental conditions. Good luck!

Interior decorator with 6 years of experience. She loves Scandinavian and Boho style. She loves to spend her evenings on the couch, under a blanket, reading a book with her cat Theodore.

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