Bob Vila Radio: Painting Raw Wood

Painting raw wood? Even before applying primer, there are a few steps you should take at the outset to ensure professional-level results in the end.

By Roseann Foley Henry | Updated Mar 10, 2014 11:59 AM

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You probably know that bare, raw wood needs to be primed before it’s painted. For best results, though, there are a few steps that you should take care of even before you start priming.


Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING RAW WOOD or read the text below:

Paint Raw Wood


First, check all surfaces for finish nails—even though they are headless, they should be countersunk using a small nailset to be sure they are completely below the surface. Fill all those nail holes, as well as any other imperfections, with wood filler. When the wood filler has completely dried, sand it smooth using fine-grit sandpaper.

Next, you’ll want to fill in any gaps and seams with caulk. Anywhere two pieces of wood butt against each other should be caulked, so that your finished product will appear seamless. Smooth out the caulk with your fingers or with a damp rag, being sure to remove all the excess.

Finally, if the wood has any visible knots, seal them with clear shellac so that the sticky resins inside the wood can’t seep out through the knot and ruin your paint job. When everything is sealed, caulked, and dry, run some fine-grain sandpaper over it all one more time, then start priming. You’ll be amazed at how these few simple steps in the beginning really pay off in the end.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.