Tips for painting interior wood surfaces in your home

Today we look at painting interior wood, such as doors, trim, windows and old furniture.

Painting wood requires a different approach to painting walls, and there are various things you should know, and take note of, to ensure the best wood painting job you can do.

Looking around any house, especially if you have lived in the house for some time, there are bound to be wooden surfaces around the house, after all, it is one of the most common construction materials known to man, and has been used for centuries for all manner of things.

The best of all , its sustainable. In theory.  Trees, once cut down, grow again, that is, if the forest is well maintained along ecological principles, so when buying new wood, don’t just think about the price, make sure it is from a sustainable source so you know that you are not harming the planet.

What wood would you like to paint?

Ok, now is the time to focus on your DIY paint project so get all your tools and sundries ready to hand before you start.

You would probably need the following:

  • Paint (yeah right!) including primer, under coat and gloss.
  • Masking tape
  • Dust sheets, drop clothes or old bed sheets.
  • Brushes.
  • Rags
  • Old newspaper
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper

Level of skill needed: Easy to moderate.

Are there any old pieces of furniture for example,  that look like they need to be given to a charity shop, or at worst, chucked away?

You may have inherited furniture from a long gone relative and dont realise, it could be worth something! Saying that though, if it looks REALLY old, take a photo and go to your local antiques dealer, just to be sure, after all, you would not want to cover a genuine Chippendale cabinet, with some green paint from B and Q would you?! Buying some paint for interior wood trim needs to be thought about carefully.

If you look around the house, you could have some still usable good pieces of furniture, such as old chairs or wall units, that even may be good quality too, and even if they have scratches or bits missing, this is something that you can add to the project, as most items of furniture are repairable and reusable if you use your head!

There may  be items of bedroom or lounge furniture that just got put away in the garage and are under a cloth, but have a look, you could uncover a gem that is ripe for doing up.

Have fun whilst restoring and painting wood!

Yes, you can have fun restoring any wood, be it a door frame, or an old bedside table, its all part of the enjoyment, the creativity, and the sense of accomplishment.

Its cool too. There are many ways that you can paint wooden item, and many effects, such as rag rolling, or even the shabby chic antique look. I like to call this the knackered look, although that’s just my opinion!

(A terraced house in Bristol is NOT the same as a French farmhouse, so take note!)

If you are going to change furniture or the look of wooden doors, make sure it fits in with the surroundings and with a bit of thought, you can wow your friends and neighbours into thinking you’ve gone out and bought designer furniture, and got an interior design firm to repaint the doors.

Painting doors.

Painting a door that is new from the shop is very different that one that exists already in the house, the biggest difference being that an old door needs to be sanded down, and maybe any knocks or scrapes filled with a wood filler before starting.

Brand new wood may also need a preparatory primer coat of paint before even the undercoat goes on, or if it has a protective coating on it from the factory, you may be advised to remove that, or it will stain through the new paint.

Door frames and jambs. To paint or not?

When painting a door, remember it is not just the door, but the DOOR FRAMES also and as a rule these should NOT be painted at the same time. Unless you want to seal the doorway up so no one can use it! Your partner will NOT thank you if you do this. (Believe me I KNOW!)

You need to start painting on the side or edge that is closest to the wall, and then work outwards, but always start from the upper part of the door, NOT the bottom.

Be careful about painting the edges of the doors, often these are left unpainted because doors, being made of wood, expand and contract with the seasons and the humidity of your house.

If you cover the whole door with paint, it cant breathe and swells up, meaning that the door will for ever stick, so unless the edges (the thin sides) of the door and scruffy, best leave them alone.

Paint with primer, allow to dry, make sure no wood filler is needed, and if so, fill the gaps or cracks and sand down, and then paint the top coat on. Lovely!

How to paint old items of furniture for a new lease of life.

You can take any old piece of furniture to start with, in fact if you are a new DIY’er, it is best to start with something simple like a chair or table, until you get more experience.

HINT: You can print this page off for reference if you like, the button is at the end of the article.

To start with, it is good practice to clear an area that you can do the painting, without interruptions or causing any obstructions, and then make sure the floor is covered with an old blanket or something as you don’t want to get paint on your carpet or floor tiles.

Be sure to wear old clothes, especially if you plan to use oil based paints.

Some old furniture can be painted straight over the top of whatever is there already, without the need for a primer, although you would need to be using a one coat gloss for that, and remember to fill in, and sand down any knocks etc BEFORE you start with the paint.

On rougher old items, make sure it is well rubbed down, clean the dust away, and then use a good wood primer. Then use an undercoat, and after drying time is allowed for, then use your top coat for a great finish. Make sure that you paint ONE surface at a time and be methodical with how you paint, and what you paint if you see what I mean!

If you are restoring a table, make sure you allow enough time to paint the entire flat surface in one go, dont leave half of it to the next day as you will have a join  between the 2 coats that you will not be able to get rid of and you will have to re-sand it down and do it again.

Knowing Whether the weather is right to paint!

It is also worth noting the weather and relative humidity will make a difference on your paint job.

If you live in a hotter climate, like Spain, for example, don’t decorate in the hottest summer months  between June and September because it will be much harder work and, also the paint will not give you a good effect because it may dry too quickly.

If you live in a colder place, for example, Canada, and its freezing, make sure also you room that you are painting in is ventilated but heated also or the paint will not “work” the way you want it to, and it may become difficult to apply as it thickens with the cold.

And finally, you should be left with a nicely painted door or piece of furniture and if you took the steps above, you should not have had any problems, but remember if you are not a decorator, dont be surprised if your finish is less than perfect, it doesn’t matter, YOU did it, and that what counts!

Happy painting!

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