How to Paint on Polished & Painted Wood

Floors, furniture, paneling … your home is full of wooden surfaces that give your decor flair. Once wood is polished and painted, it will be ready to serve your home for years. However, there may come a time when you want to refresh a wooden surface with new paint. When that occasion arises, following the proper methods and using the best products can save you a lot of time and trouble.

Things You'll Need

  • Primer
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush Or Roller
  • Sponge
  • Paint
  • Putty Knife
  • Washrag Or Cloth
  • Putty

Sand the wooden surface with fine-grit sandpaper. Wrap the sandpaper around a sponge or apply directly by hand. Sand in the direction of the grain of the wood. Sanding will remove any loose polish or paint, dirt and grime, and will make the surface more accepting of new paint.

Clean up all sanding dust with a vacuum. Wipe the wood surface with a cloth dampened in warm water to remove any remaining surface dust.

Fill in any cracks or holes with wood repair putty, available at wood specialty stores or hardware stores. Smooth over with a putty knife, then sand to make the repaired area flush with the rest of the wood surface.

Apply a coat of wood primer, moving with the grain of the wood. Use a paintbrush for smaller surfaces, or a roller for larger ones.

Allow the first coat of wood primer to dry (drying time will vary by product) and apply a second coat of primer. Be sure the primer is completely dry before painting.

Apply at least two coats of paint, always moving with the grain of the wood. Follow product instructions regarding drying time and number of coats required.


  • Wood primer and paint are available at paint or hardware stores.

    You can choose to sand the wooden surface between each coat of primer and paint to make the surface more accepting of the new paint, but you don't have to. If you do, clean the sanding dust off the surface before applying the next coat.