How to Paint Wood to a High Gloss

Wood trim, furniture and other common home items are traditionally painted with a high gloss sheen. Not only does gloss look nice, bu also it serves some practical functions on wood surfaces. A glossy finish helps lock out moisture, it's durable, and it is easy to wipe down for quick home cleaning. Glossy finishes are a good choice for wood, but if you don't use the right products and tools, you could end up with undesirable results.

Glossy finishes are sleek and easy to clean.

Things You'll Need

  • 150-grit sandpaper

  • 50-grit sandpaper

  • Stain-blocking wood primer

  • Paintbrush

  • Damp towel or rag

  • Foam brush

  • Foam roller

  • High gloss oil-base paint

  • High gloss polyurethane

Step 1

Sand the wood with 150-grit sandpaper. For common wood surfaces, 150-grit sandpaper provides enough roughage to get rid of small surface imperfections while still leaving the surface smooth. However, if your wood contains a lot of major splinters and deep gouges, use 50- or 60-grit sandpaper first, then follow up with 150-grit.

Step 2

Wipe off the sanding dust using a damp towel or rag.

Step 3

Prime the wood with a stain-blocking wood primer. Apply the primer using a regular bristle paintbrush, brushing against the grain. Even if your wood is unfinished and unstained, natural wood tannins can sometimes bleed through general purpose primers. Stain-blocking primers cost a few dollars more per gallon, but they are worth the price. Wait for the primer to fully dry before continuing.

Step 4

Use a foam brush to paint the wood surface with a high-gloss, oil-based paint. For larger expanses or wood, you could use a foam roller. Avoid bristle brushes or high-nap rollers, as glossy paints are more likely to show telltale brushstrokes and roller lines. For the best high-gloss finish, foam is the way to go. Since the surface is already prepped with primer, you don't need to worry about the wood grain direction as you paint.

Step 5

Apply a second coat of high-gloss, oil-based paint after the first coat dries. Wait for this coat to dry. Your wood will now be fully sealed with a high gloss sheen.

Step 6

Brush a coat of high gloss polyurethane gloss onto the painted surface using a foam brush if you want even more of a shine. Polyurethane is basically a clear sealant that provides extra gloss to the surface.