How to Paint Cypress Wood

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Sand cypress before priming and painting for best results.
Sand cypress before priming and painting for best results. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Cypress wood is a light-colored wood, so it seems like it'd be easy to cover with paint. However, along with cedar and redwood, cypress contains natural tannins that bleeds through paint quickly. In order to paint cypress wood, prep the surface and apply a stain-blocking primer. Once you've done this extra work on the front-end, the cypress will retain vibrant color for years to come.

Things You'll Need

  • 60-grit sandpaper
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Towel
  • Paintbrush
  • Stain-blocking primer
  • Oil-based paint

Sand the cypress wood first to smooth out the surface. If your cypress wood is rough and splintery, start with 60-grit sandpaper and move on to finer 150-grit sandpaper. For wood that is relatively smooth, start with the 150-grit sandpaper for removing minor blemishes.

Wash the cypress with a trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleanser. TSP cleansers are effective at cutting through oil and grease, so it is an ideal choice for removing any existing tannins from the wood's surface.

Dry the surface with a towel or rag.

Brush stain-blocking primer onto the wood using a regular synthetic- or natural-bristled paintbrush. Apply the primer perpendicular to the wood grain; this makes it easier for the wood's pores to soak up the primer for a tighter seal. Stain-blocking primers are available at most hardware stores. They cost a little more than general-purpose primers, but they are effective at preventing bleeding through the primer.

Paint the cypress using any oil-based interior or exterior paint after the primer has dried. Over a coat of primer, the first layer of paint may provide enough coverage. If you notice any bare spores, apply a second coat after the first coat dries.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always paint in a well-ventilated area.

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References

  • “Stanley Complete: Complete Painting”; Larry Johnston; 2007
  • “Black & Decker Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair”; Thomas G. Lemmer, Brett Martin, Karen Ruth; 2008
  • Contractor Books: Painting and Finishing
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