Home Decorating Tips

Water-Based Paint for Wooden Furniture: Should You Try It?

See why water-based paint is best for woodwork and learn how to use it effectively.

Home Decorating Tips

Water-Based Paint for Wooden Furniture: Should You Try It?

Posted on November 17, 2021

Wooden furniture undeniably gives a space some character. Because it complements various styles and aesthetics, owning one or more pieces can be considered an investment. 

A drawback of wooden furniture, however, is its potential to fade over time, especially when it’s not maintained properly. This is where a new coat of paint can come in. Depending on the color or finish you choose, you can make wooden furniture look good as new just like the day you first bought them, or breathe new life into them with another color.

You may wonder if water-based paint is suited for woodwork. The answer is yes, provided that it meets certain conditions. Discover how to use this type of paint for wooden furniture and never be worried about its appearance ever again.

What’s the Best Water-Based Paint for Wood Furniture?

Wooden furniture can benefit from using water-based paints because the product dries quickly and the color doesn’t easily crack. There are three types of water-based paint you can use for wooden furniture, such as:

  • Latex paint: If you have wooden furniture that’s going to be used for a long time, use latex paint with a gloss or semi-gloss finish. This allows the wood to be cleaned easier and makes the surface last longer. However, if you’re working with decorative wooden furniture, latex paint with a flat finish may be your best bet.
  • Acrylic paint: This is best suited for furniture that’s not used as much, or for console tables, frames, and other decors that are quite small. It’s easy to work with and clean up, dries fast, and can resist chipping or cracking because it has more elasticity.
  • Milk paint: This contains ingredients like clay, milk protein, lime, and pigments. It can be used on wood and make it seem like the surface is “worn out.” As such, it can be a good option if you want the furniture to have that vintage look.
  • Chalk paint: This water-based paint is made with calcium carbonate, talc, and pigments. This can be applied on wooden surfaces to give it a matte finish or even make outdated wooden furniture look good as new. What’s great about using chalk paint is that it can adhere well, and work on already painted and stained surfaces.

How to Prepare Wood for Painting

Before painting on wooden surfaces, especially unfinished wood, you need to ensure that the surface is smooth enough for the product to stick to it. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Take 60- or 80-grit sandpaper and sand the unfinished or bare wood. Ensure that you do this by following the direction of the wood’s grain.
  2. Once done, clean the surface with a vacuum cleaner with a bristle brush attachment.
  3. Remove the debris using a damp or tack cloth.

However, if you’re working on previously painted wooden surfaces and just want to give them an upgrade, take note of these tips:

  1. Check for the current condition of the surface. Remove or scrape already peeling paint.
  2. Once peeling paint has been removed, use 180-grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface.
  3. Clean any debris that’s left.

Don’t forget to sand glossy wooden furniture too if you’re planning to apply matte or chalk paints on them, especially if you’re not using a primer.

Once you’re done thoroughly cleaning the surface, you can apply a water-based sealer for wood furniture before applying primer. A sealer’s main purposes include:

  • Preparing wooden surfaces for primers and additional paint coats
  • Assisting with paint adhesion and quicker drying time
  • Turning porous surfaces into non-porous surfaces, avoiding unwanted absorption of paint and other products
  • Covering knots and mildew so they won’t be visible
  • Preventing the appearance of raised wood grain
  • Repelling contaminants from other substances or sources

After applying the sealer, you can then apply a good layer of primer to ensure that the surface will feel even and smooth. The amount of primer you’ll need to use will depend on the type of wood you’re already working with. In particular, dark and tannin-rich wood tends to require more primer.

Other Tips When Painting Wood Furniture

Here are other tips to remember when using water-based paint (or any other type of paint to begin with) for wooden furniture:

  • Don’t paint over wooden surfaces that haven’t been prepared thoroughly. Doing so won’t allow the paint to adhere well, and may even lead to peeling, especially when the initial surface has a glossy finish.
  • Use the ideal paintbrushes to prevent shedding or leaving marks of brushstrokes. Nylon or polyester angled bristle brushes are best for latex paints, while you can count on rollers with rounded ends if you’re working on a large area. When using them, brush or roll them against the wood grain for best results.
  • Make sure to paint in multiple thin layers instead of thick ones so the paint job looks smoother.
  • Consider using a polyacrylic topcoat on heavily used or exposed wooden surfaces that have been painted on with latex, chalk, or milk paint. The topcoat will dry to a clear finish and is easier to clean up as well. 

To know more about the best water-based paints to use on wooden surfaces, you can talk to a professional who can guide you on the process and help you choose the right paint to use.

It may be just the right time for your wooden furniture to get a new coat of paint. And with Island Premium Paints, you can! As the first local brand whose paints come with a Product Satisfaction Guarantee, you won’t find it hard to look for a product that’s suited for your wooden furniture. Discover more home improvement and decoration tips by heading to our website today!


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