How to Paint MDO Plywood

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Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer

  • Professional painter's tape

  • Heavy-duty fabric dropcloths

  • Acrylic latex primer

  • Roller frame

  • Nap roller cover

  • Roller extension pole

  • 2- to 4-inch latex paintbrush

  • Acrylic latex paint

Affix the roller to an extension pole to ease the application process.

MDO, or medium density overlay, is an engineered plywood with a resin-treated fiber applied to both faces, giving it a smooth finish that is easy to paint. If you are planning to paint your MDO plywood, use some particular preparation techniques, or you will end up with a finish that will ultimately fail. Because bare MDO is ill-suited for paint adhesion, apply a base coat of the appropriate type of primer. This will help promote a durable finish that can hold up to varying weather conditions.


Step 1

Wash the medium density overlay plywood, using a pressure washer. Wait two to four hours for the plywood to dry.

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Step 2

Cover portions of the MDO plywood you do not want painted with painter's tape. Cover areas beneath the plywood with heavy-duty fabric drop cloths.


Step 3

Coat the MDO with acrylic latex primer, using a roller frame, nap roller and extension pole. Use a paintbrush, manufactured for use with water-based coatings, to apply primer to areas inaccessible to the roller. Wait two hours for the primed plywood to dry.

Step 4

Wash each of your painting instruments with water.


Step 5

Coat the primed MDO with acrylic latex paint. Apply paint to the plywood just as you did the primer. Wait two hours for the painted MDO to dry. Use the paintbrush to touch up.


Never paint bare medium density overlay plywood, or the paint will peel.

If you require a ladder to access higher portions of the MDO plywood, read the safety instructions on the side of the ladder before you climb it.


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