In this article we'll explain how to prepare bare or new wood ready for painting or staining so that you can achieve the best possible results.

In the video, 'Preparation is Everything', Sean Thompson, part of the Sadolin Technical Services team, explores why, without preparation, the job is likely to fail.

When it comes to painting and finishing wood preparation really is everything. A thorough preparation will ensure that the paint will adhere to the wood for longer giving you a more durable and longer lasting finish.

Step 1. Inspect the surface of the wood

For wood that has been previously painted inspect the surface for any nail holes or small imperfections in the surface of the timber. These should be filled using an appropriate wood filler. Ensure the filler used is the correct colour to complement the colour of the wood. If the wood has been previously stained use a filler that complements the colour of the stain.

For new timber this shouldn't be necessary but it doesn't hurt to check for any splits or dents that might need to be filled.

Step 2. Sand the surface of the wood

Lightly sand the surface of the wood with a P180 or P240 grit sandpaper ensuring that you sand with the grain of the wood and not across the grain. Sanding across the grain can leave marks that are visible on the finished surface. Sanding is an important step which creates a 'key' for the paint system to adhere to later in the process.

Step 3. Clean the surface of the wood

The dust and debris created during sanding now needs to be removed from the surface of the wood. Any dust left behing can result in an uneven or bumpy finish or interfere with the adhesion of the paint to the wood. Using a soft bristled brush firstly brush across the grain and then with the grain to remove all the dust fom the grain of the wood. Alternatively, use a vacuum cleaner to suck up all the wood partcles.

Once all the dust has been removed use methylated spirtis on a tac-cloth remove any residual grease from the surface. Leave the wood to dry fully before proceeding.

Step 4. Apply wood preservative

For exterior wood such as decking it's a good idea to apply a coat of wood preservative prior to painting. This is particularly important where treated wood has been cut or will be exposed to harsh weather conditions. A quick drying preservative can be used to speed up the process.


These simple steps will ensure the wood is ready to receive your chosen paint system and will result in a long-lasting, durable finish with a simpler maintenance cycle.