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Painting Wood – Tips on Achieving a Smooth Finish

In our previous blogs, we have detailed the steps on how to paint woodwork. If you read the articles, you would know that painting on wood is not easy, especially if you want to achieve a smooth finish. It entails thorough preparatory work and the right painting techniques.

Using the proper equipment and materials is also integral to the success of this kind of painting project. It has an effect on the efficiency of the process and the quality of the output.

In short, you need to use the right type of paint and applicator if you want to achieve a smooth finish when painting wooden surfaces.

What Type of Paint Should You Use for Wooden Surfaces?

When painting woodwork, you can choose between oil-based paint and water-based paint. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages which we will discuss below.

Some choose oil-based paint because it is durable and easy to clean – perfect for painting outdoor woodwork as well as wooden trims or baseboards.

Another reason why this type of paint is preferred is that it has a slow drying time.

What does this mean?

Since the paint does not dry quickly, you do not have to apply the paint fast which is ideal for beginners or amateur painters. You can take your time and ensure that everything is done evenly.


This can also be viewed as a disadvantage as it can take a while to finish the project. Depending on the type of oil-based paint, drying time may be around 4 to 24 hours so no other work can be done on the wood during this period.

Aside from the slow drying time, oil-based paint gives off an unpleasant odour due to its chemical ingredients. This is why using a mask is highly recommended when dealing with this kind of paint.

In addition:

There’s the inconvenience of diluting the paint before using it. This is necessary as oil-based paint has a thick consistency which can make it difficult to achieve a smooth finish.

For others, water-based or latex paint is the better option because it dries quickly. This means you can finish the paint job in less time – provided that you know the essential woodwork techniques. It also has no unpleasant odour which makes it less harmful and easier to work with.

To address the concern of the paint drying rapidly, a paint conditioner or additive like Floetrol can be mixed with the latex paint. It is used to slow down drying time by around 5-10 minutes. It also helps lessen brush or roller marks on the paint. This results in a smoother finish and a better overall appearance.

What’s the Recommended Applicator for Painting Wood?

Should you use a roller or a brush? The answer depends on the type of wooden surface you are working on.

A roller is recommended when painting big or wide wooden surfaces which are flat or devoid of intricate designs. This applicator is going to enable you to accomplish the job faster. Just make sure that you buy a premium-quality roller – one with high density. Cheap rollers tend to shed hair or fibre easily and these can end up on the surface you are working on.


A brush is best for small areas or corners like trims and those with irregular surfaces like a piece of furniture. Just like with rollers, getting high-quality brushes is imperative if you want an excellent finish.

What kind of brush do you exactly need?

Some professional painters may prefer paintbrushes with a width of 3 or 4 inches. However, for DIYers like you, a 2.5-inch width is recommended for better control. Once you gain experience and improve your brush handling skills, you can start increasing the size of your brush.

Lastly, the type of bristle should match the paint you are using. For oil-based paint, natural bristles should be used. On the other hand, synthetic bristles are best for water-based or latex paint. Do not make the mistake of using natural bristles for water-based paint as it will become too soft since it easily absorbs moisture.

For a smooth, professional paint finish for your woodwork – be it in your home’s interior or exterior, hire experienced painters! Call us today on 086 608 1817 / 085 139 0233 to learn more about our painting services.

Painting Dublin
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