In this guide we'll look at how to apply a translucent paint system which shows off the natural beauty of the timber.

Sadolin Extra Durable Clearcoat is a great way to achieve a natural wood finish. Watch the video from Sadolin to learn more.

Keeping wood looking natural whiIe protecting it from the elements is perhaps one of the 'holy grails' of painting and decorating. By necessity, all protective paint systems contain coloured pigments which provide protection from harsh UV rays as well as protecting from the wind and rain. The key therefore, in achieving as natural a finish as possible for you exterior timber is to use a clear or transluscant paint system as these systems let the colour and grain of the wood show through while still offering protection from the elements.

We'll look at things to watch out for when preparing the wood for applying a two coat paint system as well as supplying some helpful tips in order to achieve a finish which complements the natural colour of the wood.

If you're painting wood with lots of defects or imperfections which you don't want to be seen you might be interested in our guide to painting exterior timber.

Step 1: Inspect the surface of the wood

As with all wood prepartion start by inspecting the surface of the wood that is to be painted.

If the wood has been left out in the elements untreated it will have greyed due to breakdown of the lignin in the wood by UV. In this case and assuming there's no rot or decay in the timber the wood will need to be sanded back to reveal the 'bright' clean wood underneath. It's important that the unstable grey surface is removed prior to painting otherwise the coating will fail by either peeling or flaking off the surface. Be aware that the grey discolouration might be several mm thick so a mechanical sander will be required.

If the wood is new and clean then a light sanding to provide a key and cleaning with methylated spirits is all that is required before proceeding to step 2. If in doubt refer to our 'preparing new or bare timber' how to for more details.

Step 2: Selecting and applying a basecoat

Once the timber has been suitably prepared it's time to apply a basecoat. Although with modern paints a basecoat isn't always necessary in order to achieve long-lasting protection it's recommended to use an appropriate basecoat.

To achieve a completely natural finish to the wood as opposed to a specific colour you'll need to use a translucent or clear basecoat which shows off the wood while also forming a stable and uniform surface to which a protective top coat can properly ahere to.

Alternatively, use a base coat in a shade that best complements the colour of the timber being painted. An excellent choice of basecoat is Sadolin Class All Purpose Woodstain which is available in over 50 shades so you'll be sure to find a colour that matches the wood be it dark oak, ash or anything inbetween!

The first thing to do before applying the base coat is to give it a good stir so that it's properly mixed in the tin. Once this has been done apply a single coat using a brush ensuring you satisfy the porosity of the wood.

Allow the base coat to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: Applying the top coat

Once the base coat has dried it's time to move on to the top coat. Again, it's important to use a highly translucent topcoat which which allows the wood to be seen through the paint.

Before application ensure the woodstain is thoroughly mixed. Apply the first coat with a brush and once a good area has been covered lay off the paint in the direction of the grain. Allow the first coat to dry according to the instructions before applying a second coat.

Typically we'll need to apply two coats of the topcoat so once the first coat is dry apply another as above.

Which system to use?

There are a variety of translucent paint systems on the market and we recommend the Sadolin Classic All Purpose Woodstain in conjunction with Sadolin All Purpose Clearcoat for durability up to seven years. The system is available in a variety of colours which can be selected to best complement the colour of timber for your project.

If you need any advice or have any questions about the best paint to use for your project don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our branches where one of our friendly team will be happy to help.