You can paint redwood as long as you follow the proper preparation procedure. Bare redwood rejects painted finishes unless it receives a primer base coat. Apply a particular type of primer and paint according to the location and function of the redwood surface.
Paint will not adhere to dirty redwood surfaces. Wipe down interior redwood surfaces with a sticky tack cloth before you paint. Rinse exterior redwood using a pressure washer. Those who skip this vital step can expect to have adhesion problems.
Once the redwood is clean, it will better accept the primer base coat. An ordinary latex primer is fine for interior redwood surfaces, which are not subject to harsh elements. An acrylic latex primer is appropriate for exterior redwood forced to endure varying temperatures.
Semigloss and gloss latex paint are suitable for interior redwood surfaces. However, they will not hold up on redwood subject to harsh weather and friction-based duress. Choose an acrylic latex paint for exterior redwood surfaces and acrylic deck paint for redwood that lies underfoot.