Wood is an equally versatile and popular material. Furniture, fences, children’s toys, instruments, and entire houses are made of wood. To prevent the organic material from rotting or being affected by weathering, it can be treated with various agents.
Wood preservative paints give the wood color and protection at the same time. In tests, various products are put to the test, differing in dosage, efficiency, and ease of application. Read our guide if you want to know how to find a suitable wood preservative paint for your purposes.
Wood preservative paints in a nutshell:
- Wood preservative paint is primarily used outdoors, but also indoors. It protects the wood from the effects of wind and weather.
- Wood paint differs from the also popular glaze in that it is a varnish with color pigments.
- Important criteria when buying are the yield as well as the drying time. The faster the paint dries, the sooner a second coat can be applied, if necessary.
The Best Paint For Wood
Water-based with low VOCs, one paint is good for the environment and is easy to clean up afterward with just warm soapy water. Quick-drying, high-quality multi-surface water-based paint, interior, and exterior surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, PVC, bricks, masonry, stone, glass, and many more.
- Buyer’s guide for paints for wood
- Reviews of the paints for wood
- Best Paint for Wood & Metal Doors
- Best Durable & UV-Protection Paint for Wood
- Best Oil-Latex Based Paint for Wood
- What are the types of paint for wood?
- What should you look for when buying the paint for wood?
- What paint do properties make painting easier?
- Tips for staining with paint for wood
- How does wood preservative paint work
- Paints For Wood Price
- Tips for Painting over Wood – Video
- FAQs- The Best Option Paints For Wood
Buyer’s guide for paints for wood
The wood preservative paint protects the wood from water, sunlight, and other influences. The prerequisite is that you choose a good product that has proven its quality, for example, in a test. Find the best wood preservative paint for your garden furniture, garden sheds, and more with our comparison.
What type of paint goes best on wood?
Reviews of the paints for wood
All our reviews are based exclusively on expert judgments or practical experience with most of the paint for wood we have tested. We strive to make our guide as independent and as detailed as possible.
Best Paint for Wood & Metal Doors
Rust-Oleum Door Wood Paint
Quick-drying paint with rust protection
Rust-Oleum Door Paint dries quickly and is designed to use one coat, so you can mount or close your door quickly. Apply to metal, fiberglass, or wood to revitalize an old door or protect the investment in a new door. Adheres to pre-primed doors.
Best Durable & UV-Protection Paint for Wood
TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint for Wood
Self-leveling resistant coating
TotalBoat Wet Edge 1-part, marine-grade polyurethane topside paint makes it easy to get a hard, high-gloss finish with superior resistance to UV damage, abrasion, and stains. High-gloss topside paint is tougher than the stuff made to paint houses because it has to withstand relentless abuse from the wind, sun, rain, pollution & salt boats are exposed to harsh marine environments. This head-turning finish looks great on front doors, trim, outdoor furniture & more.
Best Oil-Latex Based Paint for Wood
KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint
For use on vertical exterior surfaces
Cleans up easily with water and soap. Coverage: 200-500 sq. ft./gal., depending on the application method and substrate porosity. Once cured, the film is mildew resistant. Use on properly prepared exterior vertical wood surfaces (smooth or rough sawn) including Plywood, Shingles, Siding, Fences, Shakes, Laminates.
What are the types of paint for wood?
It is obvious: if woods are processed, they are literally cut off from the supply of nutrients and substances that protect them – it is dead material. To prevent it from slowly rotting, it must be maintained by additives and protected from external influences. In a house, of course, wood is not exposed to the weather.
There are several types of paint for wood:
Interior wood coatings
Paneling, roof beams, and partitions – even in the interior of a house there are wooden surfaces that need to be protected with a coat of paint or given a touch of color. However, the paints that can be found in DIY stores for interior painting (emulsion paint, silicate paint, latex paint) are usually classic wall paints that are used to paint on plaster or wallpaper. With wood as a substrate, on the other hand, it is advisable to use wood preservative paint for interior use.
While all common wood protection paints are suitable for exterior use, this is by no means the case for interior use. Here look exactly in the product information!
In closed rooms, it is important not to be exposed to harmful vapors when painting. Therefore, you should pay particular attention here that the selected paint for wood is solvent-free and has good environmental properties. In addition, in the living area, the appearance can of course play a greater role – for example, whether you choose a color in silk gloss or silk matte.
It is important to note that most paints for wood are not impacted-resistant or 100 percent abrasion-resistant. To paint wood flooring (such as parquet or wood planks) or a wooden staircase, there are special floors and stair paints. There are also special furniture varnishes for wooden furniture.
Exterior wood coatings
If you want to paint wood with weather protection paint, you can choose from a wide range of colors. For this reason, it is often referred to as “weather protection paint”. There are two important qualities: the wood varnish should form a covering layer on the wood against solar radiation – UV protection. This means that the wooden surfaces will not fade or become brittle as quickly.
The second major issue in exterior painting is wood impregnation as moisture protection. If moisture penetrates the wood, it can quickly become moldy or rot. Weather protection paints with a lotus effect or beading effect can be found on the market. This is a very special wood protection impregnation, in which the dried paint forms a surface that does not allow water droplets to adhere. A similar water-repellent effect can also be produced with linseed oil varnish.
Especially on the weather side, such properties can be useful. Some manufacturers of exterior wood preservative paint guarantee permanent or long-term protection for their products for several years.
In the case of a wooden house or if parts of the main house – the facade or the roof truss – are made of wood, paint for wood becomes necessary instead of a normal facade paint to suit the substrate. If you want to paint wooden beams, you should make sure that the paint is anti-drip, so that working overhead is easier.
Which paint for wood is the best? There is no universally valid answer to this question. Wood preservative paint tests have been searched in vain so far. However, there are some criteria by which you can choose the best paint for wood.
When buying should pay attention to the following:
Wood preservative paint is usually used to paint larger areas. This can be seen from the fact that the standard size of the containers is also larger: 85us fl oz, but also 3US gal lqd or even 2.6US gal lqd are offered. The first criterion to pay attention to when buying wood preservative paint is, therefore: how many square meters can be painted with it? 3.4us fl oz of a good weather protection paint for wood should be enough for one square meter, sometimes even a larger area is possible. Paints that are less efficient must have special other qualities to compensate for this shortcoming.
Since most wood preservative paints are now water-based, they can also be diluted with water – and consumption can be reduced in this way. To do this, however, be sure to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions whether this is possible. Products based on natural oils or resins cannot be stretched in this way.
While water can be added to the first or second coat without hesitation, the final topcoat should be applied undiluted in order to maintain full protection against sun and moisture.
The price-performance ratio
The yield of the wood coating is one thing. However, this value in the purchase advice is only really informative when it is put in relation to the price. It is obvious that of two paints that cover equally well, the one for which I have to pay less for the same quantity is always more attractive.
There are now also manufacturers who achieve acceptable values and offer inexpensive paint for wood. However, the buyer may have to pay about five times as much to work on the same surface.
Did primer include – or without?
If the wood surface is completely untreated or already has an older coat of paint on it, it may be necessary to apply a primer. Otherwise, the old paint will show through or substances from the wood will penetrate the paint, changing the color tone or even hindering the effect of the wood preservative.
However, some wood preservative paints – so-called 2in1 products – serve as a primer and topcoat. So nothing else needs to be purchased here. For other wood coatings, it depends on the substrate: Only for individual types of wood – for example, softwoods – an extra primer must be purchased, because these materials give off special substances. In most cases, manufacturers offer a matching primer for the topcoat.
Good wood preservative paints should be solvent-free
In the past, paints contained solvents. These evaporated and caused the paint to dry. In the meantime, there has been a rethinking in this regard, as these solvents are not necessarily compatible with health and the environment – especially if work has not been done outdoors or in the garden with fresh ventilation. Most of the modern wood preservative paints are water-based and are solvent-free or at least low in such ingredients.
Most manufacturers recommend applying the paint for wood paint in several coats. A concrete example: we are painting a summer house in Swedish red. To apply the first coat to all four exterior walls, we need three hours. It would be great if the surface we started with could be dried in time to accept a second coat. Because only in this way would it be possible to finish the job – even with a possible third coat – in one day. A brush and roller next to a bucket full of paint on wooden boards. How quickly paint for wood paint dries also depends on the temperature. Some manufacturers of paint for wood specify a drying time of about 3 hours. In fact, the time to paint is usually specified between 2 and 6 hours, which is quite practical. If the time is above this, a few working days should be planned.
Since weather protection paint is used outdoors, the period during which the paint becomes dust-dry is also interesting. This is because, in the fresh air, the wind can carry (flower) dust and other particles, which then stick to the fresh paint, which can look unsightly later – especially if you had chosen paint in silk gloss.
With most paint for woods, the surface is dust-dry after just an hour or two. A paint that even manages this in under an hour has what it takes to be the test winner.
In general, it should be noted that the drying time of an exterior paint depends on the prevailing temperature and humidity – and can therefore vary.
Drip-resistant – for sloping or overhead work
In the case of wooden beams – for example in the roof truss, roof overhang, or roof box – sloping surfaces must also be painted. In some cases, prolonged overhead work becomes necessary. The industry has come up with something for this: Thixotropic paints change their viscosity – they are drip-inhibited. This means that the paint of this type has a gel-like structure, liquefies slightly for a short time when stirred so that it can be applied well, but then returns directly to its viscous state and thus adheres more strongly than normal paint.
How suitable for the spray gun
If a house facade, carport, or garden shed is to be painted, with a flat brush and even with a roller, this can become tedious. However, some wood preservative paints can be applied with spray gun-like professionals and must be thinned before use.
Such a sprayer – also called a fine spray system, paint spray system, pressure sprayer, or airless sprayer – distributes the paint in a broad mist. For spraying or spraying, the wood preservative paint is usually too thick in its original state. It is then usually diluted with water (usually 20-30 percent). For this, however, the product information should be studied more closely in any case. Since such a paint sprayer spreads a very fine mist, mouth protection, safety goggles, and gloves are necessary. In addition, areas that are not to be dyed must be well masked.
Painting with wood preservative paint seals the wood. Therefore, many manufacturers recommend caring for the untreated surface before the first coat – for example, to oil the wood. In addition, in this condition, you can still apply special wood preservatives, for example, against blue stain (a fungus), against woodworm, against mold, or for better fire protection. Often, a primer paint from the same product series is recommended to match the selected topcoat. However, there is also wood preservative paint with blue stain protection.
If it is not the first coat, it should be checked whether the paint already applied needs to be sanded down or whether it can be painted over without hesitation. In any case, flaking and chipping should be removed. The substrate should be dry, clean, and free of grease. Slightly roughened surfaces can also absorb the paint better than smooth ones. For this reason, it may be advisable to treat the substrate accordingly.
In general, it is advisable to apply a test coat – that is, to paint only a small area first. Only when the desired result has been achieved after drying should the painting of the remaining surface be started.
Most manufacturers recommend applying the wood preservative paint in several layers. In most cases, the first coats can be thinned with water (up to about 10 percent) if the product is suitable for this purpose. The topcoat, however, should be applied with undiluted paint.
How long the paint for wood takes to dry – whether it is dust-dry, dry for coating, or thoroughly dry – is of course more difficult to predict when painting outdoors. The wind, humidity, and temperature are the decisive factors here.
The following points should be considered when choosing the right product:
- Yield: The first thing to do is to determine the amount needed – depending on how fine-pored or coarse-pored the wood is, 100 to 200 ml of paint should be expected per square meter.
- Condition of the wood: In the run-up to renovation, it makes sense to check whether the components to be treated are also suitable for coating. Heavily damaged components and surfaces may not be reliably sealed by the coating. In this case, the damaged areas should be repaired or replaced.
- Drying time: Wood stains and varnishes for exterior use should have a short drying time. This way, a sudden downpour during painting is not a hazard. Manufacturers always specify the drying time on the packaging. Different wood paints take different amounts of time to dry, depending on their ingredients. Synthetic resins generally take longer to dry. Fast-drying products are also recommended if there is a lot of dust in the room where you will be during the coating process.
- Pre-treatment: if the wood surface has already been treated once with wood oil or wood varnish, it cannot be glazed without further ado. First, the surface must be treated with a dissolving agent such as a turpentine substitute. If there is also varnish residue, it should be removed with sandpaper or a paint stripper.
- Primer: the next question is whether a primer needs to be applied. If you are using a wood stain, it is often sufficient to apply the coating several times. Priming is usually required before treating with wood varnishes. Especially if the material has never been coated or has a coating that is already very old. A primer also has the visual advantage of making the substrate appear more uniform so that a better visual result can be achieved when it is later painted. A primer also ensures that the paint is used more sparingly. Furthermore, the primer forms a protective layer between the varnish and the wood. This prevents substances from the wood from penetrating into the paint and even negatively influencing the protective effect. It should be noted that softwoods often require a special primer due to the above-mentioned interaction between the wood and the wood preservative paint.
- Application: applying several times in thin layers ensures an even result without nosing. Suitable brushes are needed for this purpose.
- Thinning: the right thinner depends on whether the product is water-based, natural oil-based, or resin-based. Thinning improves spreadability, especially with thick coatings. However, the opacity decreases accordingly, and you may have to treat the surfaces several times to achieve uniformity of color.
- Tools: In addition to a glaze or wood varnish, you will need suitable painting tools. For large areas, the use of a paint roller is recommended. Subsequent treatment with a foam roller ensures an even result. Otherwise, wide brushes are used for painting wooden surfaces, which are available in many suitable sizes. For this purpose, the surfaces must be straight. For angled surfaces, you should use correspondingly smaller versions. A glaze is best applied with a so-called glaze brush in the right size. Conventional paint and glaze brushes are not always suitable for working with fast-drying water-based paints. There are usually notes on this on the product packaging.
Paints For Wood Under $50
- Rust-Oleum Door Wood Paint
- KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint
- The ONE Paint Multi-Surface for Wood
Paints For Wood Under $100
- TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint for Wood
Modern wood coatings are also free of solvents and do not emit toxic fumes. They dry quickly and can be painted over quickly, which minimizes annoying waiting times.
When wood is cut from a tree, it is equally cut off from the supply of nutrients. To prevent the material from rotting due to moisture and fading due to sunlight, it must be protected with a coat of paint. Wood preservative paint was developed specifically for this purpose. The designation as weather protection paint makes it even clearer.
Since larger areas are usually painted (e.g., a carport, a garden shed, a wooden facade, or a fence), the yield of the wood preservative paint is an important purchase criterion. 0.26US gal lqd of a good exterior paint for wood is enough for 11ft² – sometimes even more.
If children live in the household, it is important to make sure that the materials and products used are non-toxic – this also applies to wood preservatives. Natural wood is often used for children’s play equipment such as climbing frames, swings, which is also painted in bright colors, and it is very important that this coating is safe.
Tips for Painting over Wood - Video
FAQs- The Best Option Paints For Wood
The manufacturer’s specifications vary. Unopened, the paint usually remains in its original state for up to two years, and some brands even state five years. So far, however, there is no weather protection paint test that confirms this.
It is important that the product is stored at the right temperature: paint for wood should be stored in a cool place, but definitely frost-free. The temperature should not fall below 46℉, as several manufacturers indicate. The processing temperature is usually specified as 46℉ to 86℉. Only in this temperature range, the paint has the consistency at which the manufacturer can ensure the desired properties and qualities. If the container has been exposed to cold air (for example, in the basement or in the trunk of the car), it is advised to store the pot at room temperature for 24-36 hours before starting work.
After opening, make sure that the paint is not exposed to air for too long. In the case of large containers, it can be useful to fill a partial quantity into a suitable container, from which you then remove the paint during painting. Then the large bucket can be set aside, well-closed, during this time. A rule of thumb is that the thicker the paint, the faster it dries.
You should clean the roller, brush or spray gun before the paint has dried, of course. The same goes for clothing if you want to remove any stains. The good thing is that since most wood preservative paints are now water-based, they can be rinsed out with water. In some cases, it is advised to use a little washing-up liquid or soap. In individual cases, manufacturers recommend special solvents. If you want to remove stains from clothing, the affected areas should be rubbed together underwater. If the fabric is sturdy, you can also try carefully with turpentine.