How to Prepare Wood for Painting

Are you planning to repaint your wooden furniture soon? Do you wish you can paint wood without dealing with chipping, bubbling and uneven paint? Don’t just paint wood; prepare it so you won’t have to deal with these hassles!

A good woodworker takes special attention to prepping wooden pieces before painting and finishing it. This way, the paint will last for a long, long time.

Wood preparation for painting

To preserve your wood furniture and to make it stand out, you have to prep it in order for the paint to adhere better. The process of prepping wood is easy and you don’t need to be an expert to do it. Here are the steps.

Things you will need

  • Wood you will be working on
  • Plastic sheet and painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper 60 and 100 grit
  • Primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Wood Filler
  • Caulk
  • Detergent
  • Water
  • Clean rags
  • Scrapper
  • Scrubber brush


1) Preparing your working area


Cover doors, windows or other openings with plastic. Before you start scrubbing, scraping, and sanding makes sure your work area is protected. Cut plastic to fit each opening and secure the edges with painters tape. This will also protect more delicate fixtures from damage.

Clean the wood surface with a long-handled scrubber brush and mild detergent with water to gently remove deep-seated dirt, grime, mold, and residue. Rinse completely and let this dry for at least a day before proceeding.

2) Fix large holes


Deal with large holes and gouges with wood filler. Use the tip of a putty knife or hand trowel to apply filler material and then use the flat edge of the tool to spread and smooth it. Give the wood filler enough time to dry.

3) Preparing the wood surface for a new coat of paint


Remove all flaking paint with the use of a scrapper. Make sure you scrape wood towards the grain otherwise you might only cause splintering and damaging the grains. Continue scraping until the surface is free from any protrusions.

4) Sanding your work


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Use sandpaper to sand down the edges of bare spots. Begin with low-grit sandpaper with 60-grit or so to reduce sharp edges. When you are done, switch to a high-grit paper, 100-grit or more, and smooth the paint down.

If you encounter exposed knots, treat these separately using a preliminary primer. These spots should be treated with a special resin-blocking primer to prevent discoloration. Use a paintbrush and apply the primer to any areas of the wood where the grain looks wet or dark.

Sand the entire surface for proper paint adhesion. Wipe the surface clean to remove dust and residue. Use a soft brush to remove dust even in small cracks and holes.

5) Applying primer


Use a latex-based primer for exterior use. This paint will hold up to heat, moisture, friction, and swelling and this also has the ability to flex making this paintless likely to crack. Apply the primer using a brush or a roller. Apply the primer in an even layer thick enough to conceal the wood grain underneath.

Work into dips and divots on wood with the tip of the brush. You must start at the top of the structure going down. This way, any drips will be covered as you move back. Inspect the surface for any spots, seams or bare patches you may have overlooked. Apply a coat of paint over these imperfections to make these disappear.

Let the primer dry completely. Usually, primers can take from 2 to 6 hours to dry. Leave the primer to dry overnight before applying the initial coat of paint to make sure that it is absorbed into the wood.

6) Use caulk


Caulk can be used to fill any visible openings. Once the primer is dry, use caulk to seal gaps or cracks that might affect the overall appearance of your project. Caulk will harden within an hour. Caulk will also protect the wood further by preventing mold and pests from eating wood.


You must prepare your wood for painting starting from cleaning the wood’s surface and removing imperfections before the final coat is applied. Following this procedure will protect the wood and keep wood looking lovely through and through.

  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY