painted planed timber

When a stack of perfectly cut and shaped lumber lies before you, it can be tempting to forgo any kind of finishing for fear you'll ruin it's wooden goodness. Whilst we appreciate the need to ensure your time and money aren't instantly wasted, knowing how to paint and treat your planed timber is essential for getting the finished project you always dreamed of. In this entry of the Woodshop Direct blog, we'll examine the best practices and potential pitfalls when painting and treating planed timber, so that you get a final result that's professional and up to your own personal standards.

Advantages of Painting/Treating Planed Timber


Aside from the obvious aesthetic enhancement, painted wood offers numerous benefits that make the effort undeniably worth it. When you apply a coat of paint properly and skilfully, you have wood which can withstand frequent cleaning without losing its brightness, that possesses more washing capability than even a polished surface, and retains a unique smoothness to the surface.

Whilst the various ways of preserving and treating wood carry with them health hazards to be wary of, it is an effective process for defying the effects of natural ageing on planed timber. Treated wood also resists insects and the terribly expensive damage they can cause, and sometimes treated lumber can even be fire retardent; taking much longer to burn. With obvious environmental benefits (not needing to replace wood = less trees cut down and less fossil fuels to transport it) and continuing low maintenance, whether you do it yourself or buy it, treated wood is ideal for projects you want to last.

Painting Tip #1: Finding the Right Wood Paint


Adding colour to a piece of all round planed timber is a completely different ballpark to painting a room of your house. We're not talking oil painting level difficulty here; it's rather easy, but there are simple guidelines to follow to ensure you get the best results. The first is to ensure you get the right wood paint, and knowing what it will do. If your piece of woodworking is an interior item, like a table or cabinet, then a Satinwood or Whitre Primer Undercoat would be better suited than an aquatech variety, which are more designed to help sheds and gazebos resist the weather.

Drying time is also a factor. More than just convenience, a solvent-based paint provides a high gloss finish, but the the lengthy drying period gives off a strong odour and releases  harmful gasses - something you won't get with water based solutions. Other things to consider is whether your wood requires an undercoat, how easy it is to apply and how prone to dripping it is than other glosses. All brands of wood paint explain this clearly, so take your time whether browsing online or in stores.

painted red timber

Painting Tip #2: Treat Before AND After

If your planed timber has not been factory treated prior to painting, then you'll need to apply a clear preservative treatment yourself. Coating the end-grains of wood (like the underside of doors) stops water soaking in, and making your new paint shop all for not, or rather, rot.

It may also be necessary to apply a sealer or clear topcoat to help preserve your finished paint job. As we mentioned before, many modern paints use special protectants to help it survive weather and moisture-born wear and tear, however some may require that extra guard up, especially those fully exposed in the outdoors. Always make sure your treatment matches your paint; you wouldn't want to mix a latex-paint with an inappropriate sealer, so check with a seasoned professional before applying.

Painting Tip #3: Prepare for a Smooth Paint Job


Getting that last coat of paint to look smooth and crisp after it drives is not down to any special technique; but down to doing the right prep work before you get your brush out. To prepare your woodwork, first use a putty knife to scrape away any old paint.  Don't worry too much about getting every last millimetre of the stuff, since right after you'll be hand-sanding everything (either with clog-resistant sand paper or sanding sponges) to remove any current surface shine.  Testing the adhesion of your timber afterwards using a simple strip of duct tape, and then it's just a case of dusting and cleaning your wood; either with just a simple sweep with a damp cloth, or using a brush vacuum - whichever you feel is necessary.

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Post By Graham Ashton