Painting wood appears to be such a simple task that many people assume it is foolproof. This can mean poor results when people rush the job or cut corners. Professional painters and decorators, such as Scott Anson Painters and Decorators Ltd., are available for bigger projects or those wary of DIY. However, practice and preparation can help amateur painters to master the techniques needed when painting wood.

The type of wood being painted will determine the strength and appearance of the finished piece. Different species of wood have different characteristics, so when constructing from scratch, consider what properties are important for the project. One of the first decisions is choosing between softwoods and hardwoods. The way the wood has been cut at the sawmill can also have a huge effect on the final product. Different milling processes include Rift, Quarter and Plain sawn.

Once the wood is ready, a trip to any good hardware store should be enough to get all of the necessary materials for painting wood. The tools and equipment on the shopping list should include plastic sheeting and a canvas drop cloth to cover floors and furnishings; this will prevent the need for a lengthy clean-up. Eye and hearing protection are also essential, particularly if using an oscillating saw or orbital sander. Basic provisions include a paint tray, paint brushes, a bucket and clean cloths.

To achieve smooth results, a clean wood surface is essential. TSP is a strong degreaser, cleaner and deglosser which is an established tool of the painting trade. Excess dirt, grime and oils must be removed from the wood before it is rinsed with warm water and a clean cloth. The wood must be carefully sanded to smooth out the surface and help the paint to bond.  A random orbital sander works well for larger surfaces, but hand-sanding is more precise for corners and details. Treat the wood with primer applied with a brush or roller. It might need a second coat before achieving the chalky finish required before painting.

For irregular wood surfaces paint with a brush. Large, flat areas can be painted with a roller to get the job finished more quickly. Paint the wood by moving the brush in short strokes that are parallel to the wood grain. To prevent lap marks, keep a wet edge at all times. Before applying a second coat, it is important to sand the first one. This reduces bumps and other inconsistencies introduced by the brush or roller. After painting the second coat, allow the wood to dry overnight before using it.