How to Paint Old Weathered Wood

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Weathered wood can be made to look new again by applying a fresh coat of paint. If you use an opaque paint, you can keep the aged look of the wood while adding color and giving the wood a protective coat. You can paint (or repaint) your barn, your shutters, an old bench or just about any other piece made with older wood. To paint old weathered wood, you will need to prepare the surface of the wood prior to applying paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat's paw or hammer
  • Pencil
  • Paint scraper
  • Paint remover
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Tape
  • Sanding block (optional)
  • Oil-based primer (optional)
Weathered wood can be repainted while preserving the aged look.
Weathered wood can be repainted while preserving the aged look.

Step 1

Remove any nails or other metal objects from the wood, and assess the damage to the wood before you begin. Use your fingernail or a pencil to check the wood for rot by poking random areas of the wood. If the pencil goes into the wood more than one-eighth inch, the wood may need further treatment or may be discarded.

Use a hammer or cat's paw to remove nails.
Use a hammer or cat's paw to remove nails.

Step 2

Scrape the wood with a paint scraper to remove old paint or finish from the wood. If the old paint or finish does not come off easily, use a paint removing solvent available at any hardware store. If the wood is bare, skip to Step 3.

Remove old paint.
Remove old paint.

Step 3

Sand the entire surface of the wood with 100 grit sandpaper. This will clean the surface of the wood, allowing the paint to properly adhere to it. Repeat this process with 220 grit sandpaper to create a smooth and uniform surface.

Sand until uniform.
Sand until uniform.

Step 4

Test the wood to verify the paint will adhere properly. In the article "Paint Problems on Exterior Wood" at Extension.iastate.edu., Iowa State University forester Dean Prestemon explains that you may perform a simple test. Paint a small area of the wood and allow it to dry for at least two days. Apply a piece of tape or other adhesive to the dried paint, and remove it in one swift movement. If paint sticks to the adhesive, repeat the cleaning and sanding steps. If the tape comes off clean, you are ready to paint the entire surface.

Test the wood for paint adhesion.
Test the wood for paint adhesion.

Step 5

Paint the wood with the color of your choice.

Choose your color.
Choose your color.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Wrap the sandpaper around a block of wood to increase efficiency and comfort.
  • Fill in any gaps or holes with wood filler, available at any hardware store.
  • Use an oil-based primer if your paint does not adhere to the wood after several cleanings.
  • Wear safety goggles while sanding and painting.
  • Wear gloves while using any solvents or paints.
  • Wear a dust mask or respirator when removing old paint.

References

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