How to Paint Woodwork


Painting in general can be a messy situation, especially if you have no idea what you are doing!  Painting woodwork is one of those things really better left to the professionals to be honest.  But, if you don’t want to hire a house painting contractor in Morristown it’s still a good idea to educate yourself and get a little knowledge before taking on this job.  One of the most important things you need to ask yourself before painting wood work is if it really needs it.  Some of the painters out there that do this for a living will even tell you that if the paint is good, clean and visible – you might want to not even bother with the woodwork to begin with.  In fact, some painters might tell you that leaving it the way it is can add personality and character to a room.  On the other hand, if it’s really nicked up, chipped, peeling or you are trying to sell your home – you might consider taking the painting route or like I mentioned before, hiring a house painting contractor and then you can do the walls yourself.  It’s totally up to you, but if you want some information on painting wood work, some tips and a little inspiration along the way, continue reading below for more information!

What to Do:

There are of course things you should do and things you shouldn’t do.  Let’s start with the DOs and then end with the don’ts!

Do Scrape Wood and Sand Wood In Bad Condition!

If you have wood work that is less than stellar, before painting it, you absolutely need to scrape off the bad paint and sand the wood.  Scraping will be a good option for paint that is bubbling, peeling, blistering or even flaking.  It does take some extra time and work – as well as a little elbow grease, but the rewards are endless.  One of the biggest reasons you need to scrape old paint away and then sand the wood is because you want a good adhesive chain to be created.  Paint won’t stick to old dirty paint, wood or anything else.  So if you choose to repaint the wood work, this step is a necessary evil.  If you have paint that is peeling – you might be able to just use your fingers.  If not, then it’s time to invest in a paint scraper to get all the paint off.  You will also need to use a paint sander or individual pieces to get in between the crevices on the wood.

Do Fill In Holes

Over time, wood can become cracked – you might also have holes in wood from nails, or because of things like hinges.  Do not use paint as a wood filler.  Instead, use caulk and wood putty to fill up any holes, cracks, crevices that are unnatural, etc.  Once you add the wood filler to the holes, wait for as long as the package says to wait.  Once it’s done drying completely, you can then take your sandpaper and smooth the surface once or twice over to create a smooth working area.

Use Painter Tape

Painter tape was created for a reason, folks!  You would be amazed at just how many people either forget this step or just don’t do it.  Painter tape tends to be blue in color and it can be used to put on surfaces where you do not want tape.  In this instance, you wouldn’t put it on your wood because you are painting your wood.  However, you “wood” put it on the corners and edges of your walls where the frame of the wood work meets the walls.  This will allow you to create even brush strokes while hitting the wall without actually getting paint on the wall.  If you have wood floors, you can also place painters tape on the wood floors and then place painter’s tarps on top of that to make sure you do not get any paint on your beautiful wood flooring!

Don’t Sand Wood Work in Excellent Condition

Sanding wood work that is already in good condition, sort of defeats the purpose.  If you have good looking wood work, keep it as is, and don’t even bother sanding it with anything – no matter how soft or how fine.  Not only can this take away from the natural beauty of the wood, but sanding also reactivated the tannins in the wood – essentially these are pigments and they WILL bleed through the paint.  Leave it alone and move on to the next step.

Clean the Wood Surface

As with walls or anything else you paint, it’s important you clean the surface before painting.  Get yourself a damp white cloth with some warm water and remove any dust from your home or dust from the sanding.  Remember earlier we spoke about how important it is to have a good adhesive base to put the paint on.  Dirt, dust and granules or powder from sanding is not a good adhesive so get rid of all that before painting!  If you are having really bad issues with removing dirt or dust, grab yourself a scrub brush like the one you use in the sink for dishes and some household cleaner and scrub it down.  It’s not painted yet, so you don’t have to worry about being TOO gentle with it!

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