Painting Over Stained Wood: Tips And Techniques

painting over stained woodEach homeowner has his or her own tastes and preferences for color and styles. Now, you no longer have to tolerate having dark wood when you want it to be just a little lighter so that your room looks airy and bright. With the use of the right paint and painting techniques, you can have that dream sunny room. Here are a few techniques to help you painting over stained wood:

Prep the area for painting: Take down any tarpaulin and move furniture so that you have room to work. Put all your paints and other materials on the tarpaulin so that you don’t need to stretch too far for them. Now that you’re ready, this is the way ahead:

Remove dust and dirt from the wood: Use a dry cloth to remove any traces of dust or spider webs. Your paint surface needs to be scrupulously clean because if it is dirty, you’d be including the dirt which will show up eventually. Scrub all dirt with soap and water, rinse and dry thoroughly. If there are stubborn marks of grease, combine vinegar or ammonia in water, dip and scrub. Rinse and pat dry. If you find mildew on your furniture, dilute chlorine bleach in a liter of warm water. Soak the stain in this solution and let it remain there for about 15 minutes. Rinse and see the effect.

Sand the wood: Use 150 grit sandpaper to sand the wood, depending on its condition. You might have come across several kinds of stains that are waterproof and give the wood a glossy look. By sanding your stained furniture, the finish will get a rough texture and the paint will stick to the wood surface. However, take care not to strip off the stain, but just damage the surface.

Close up all holes: If you find holes, dents and scratches on the wood surface, close them up now. Address holes, scratches and other surface imperfections. Use wood putty to close up all flaws in the wood before you begin to paint over it. If you find scratches, sand the area with really fine sandpaper so that you get a rough surface that can take the paint. Take off any resultant dust from sanding and tape areas that don’t require painting.

Get the wood ready: Smoothen the area by removing all nails and creating a smooth surface. If your furniture has drawers, remove its handles. For doors, remove all knobs.

Paint the surface with primer: Ask the paint professional at the store about the kind of stain-removing primers you can choose from. Tell him the kind of stain you’d be painting over– water-based or oil-based–and the kind of paint you want to use. Based on this, you can decide the kind of primer to use. Your primer should also blend with the stain formulation.

Once you’ve used primer to paint the wooden furniture, you need to wait till it dries. How long you wait depends on the kind of primer you use, the humidity in the environment and your room’s temperature. However, it doesn’t usually exceed an hour.

Paint your furniture:  If your furniture is light-colored and you’re ready to paint over it, ensure that this new color matches the primer. Use an angular brush to paint around the borders. Ensure that you paint evenly over the wood surface using a paint roller. Give it at least three coats of paint.

To paint over your stained furniture, do the following:

  • Use angular brushes so that the cracks and corners are also painted.
  • Paint several coats so that all parts of the furniture are well coated.
  • Keep painted drawers or other knobs away until the furniture is completely dry, for at least a couple of hours. If it feels tacky, wait a while longer.

Use sealant: If the wood you’re painting is in a highly trafficked part of your home, like the living room or kitchen, it’s good to seal it. This will give it an additional protective layer. Before you apply it, check with the store assistant for its compatibility with the topcoat.


  • Sand and paint the borders of the doors so that you know when it is open.
  • If you plan to paint a light-colored paint over a dark stain, ensure you have two coats of primer.
  • Have one set of brushes for oil based primers and another for latex topcoats.
  • If you’re painting doors, use a pressure sprayer that comes with a painting tool.
  • Hang the door flat on a table so that you’re comfortable while working.
  • Give yourself sufficient time to finish this project.

If you strictly follow all these techniques and tips, there’s no way you can go wrong in painting over stained wood furniture.

Here’s a tutorial you can watch:

Author: John Clax

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