How to Prepare New Wood for Final Painting With Eggshell or Gloss Paint

Painting wood is perhaps one of the easiest things to do in the DIY list, and if you do your preparation well, you will achieve a great finish much quicker and without spending a fortune on expensive finishing paints.

While there is a tendency to simply ‘slap on’ the final finishing paint, ultimately, you will end up spending more money because you will be using the expensive paint to do the priming job.

To prepare wood you will need the following

  • Small tin of knotting solution (for new wood)
  • Small tube of generic wood filler (colour does not matter much here as you are going to paint over it)
  • Water based primer (acrylic type paint will do)
  • Small Paintbrush (3” or 5” depending on the size of the area to be prepared)
  • Selection of sandpaper (rough – fine grade)
  • Sanding block (usually cork)
  • Small flat filling knife
  • Small pot for pouring the primer paint into
  • Damp cloth for any paint drips/spatters
  • Disposable painting gloves

1. Put on your gloves and make sure you are working in a well ventilated & well lit area.

2. Clean the wood and surrounding areas with a vacuum cleaner and wipe down with a wet cloth.

3. Check the wood for any deep holes or cracks and fill them with the wood filler. Fill so that the filler is slightly higher than the surrounding wood as when you sand it down later, you will be able to sand to the same level as the surrounding wood using first the course grade sand paper, finishing with fine grade.

Prepare wood for painting with eggshell or gloss paint4. While the filler is drying, take the knotting solution and paint over any knots in new wood. Paint over knots lightly and wipe off any excess solution. Knotting solution stops the sap from seeping out of the wood and discolouring the paint you will apply later.

5. Once everything is dry, take some more fine grade sandpaper, cut it to size and wrap it round your sanding block. Use the block to lightly sand over any knots. This will remove any small bumps or build up of knotting solution.

6. Take your damp cloth and wipe down the whole area again so it is dust free. If you have sanded a lot of wood, you might want to vacuum the surrounding area again.

7. Now take care and open the water-based wood primer. Pour a small amount into the small pot. Secure the lid and move the tin out of the way. (Using a pot ensures that any excess paint you wipe off your brush, does not dry on the rim of the paint tin. In time, the dried paint will fall into the tin and will end up as lumps in your paintwork.)

8. Dip the brush into the paint and use the side of the pot to remove any excess and begin to paint the wood. Paint just one coat on the wood and do not try to achieve a complete covering – that’s not the goal here. Finish the coat and allow it to dry completely (usually not very long in a warm room).

9. When the fist coat is dry, examine your work and look out for any other holes that might still need filling – now is the time to fill them again. Repeat the filling/drying/sanding process again until they are all gone. You will be able to see any holes better once you have painted one coat of primer.

10. When the first coat is completely dry and any further sanding has been done, apply the second coat. You should now be covering the wood with this second coat. Allow it to dry completely.

11. If you are satisfied that the wood has been covered completely, take your sanding block and some fine grade sandpaper and lightly sand the area. Wipe down afterwards with a clean damp cloth. This light sanding provides better adhesion for the finishing coat you have chosen.

To prolong the life of your paint brushes, see our article, “How to clean paintbrushes