10 tips for a professional finish to your woodwork

For professional looking painted woodwork, good surface preparation and good brushing technique are essential.

Many people still rely solely on oil-based paints because they dry slowly and allow brush marks to flatten out. But you can achieve similar results with high quality latex paint. Today’s formulations cover and brush out well. You won’t have the strong odor of oil-based products either. Latex also offers the advantage of fast drying and an easy soap and water cleanup.

Latex paint is available in a range of finishes, from matt to high gloss. Because you want your wood trim to wear well, we recommend eggshell or semi-gloss. The downside to a gloss finish is that every bump and scratch can show through. Therefore, good prep work is critical.

  1. Remove any loose or cracked paint with a stiff putty knife. Work in various directions to get underneath the loose paint.
  2. Fill nicks and gouges with wood filler using a flexible metal or plastic putty knife.
  3. Pick up a dab of filler with the knife and apply it to the gouges. Hold the putty knife at an angle and press and smooth the filler into the scraped area. Leave the filler slightly higher than the surrounding surface.
  4. Sand the painted surface with 100 or 120-grit sandpaper or a medium sanding sponge. Make sure to eliminate all ridges. Then finish with a 180-grit sandpaper or a fine sanding sponge. Spot-prime the filler and any bare wood.
  5. For a really fine finish, hold a utility light close to the surface, and circle any imperfections with a pencil. Fill, sand and spot-prime these areas. Finally, lightly sand the entire surface with the 180-grit paper to ensure that the new paint will stick.
  6. Apply a small bead of painter’s caulk to any cracks between the woodwork and the wall.
  7. Smooth the caulk with a damp rag wrapped around your finger. Wipe the edges to remove any ridges of caulk.
  8. Dip the brush bristles 3cm to 6cm into the paint to load the brush. Lightly tap (don’t wipe) the tip of the brush against the sides of the pail to remove excess paint.
  9. For vertical areas, such as doors and wood paneling, start at the top of you woodwork with the loaded brush and stroke down toward the middle. When the brush begins to drag, stop and reload.
  10. To smooth off, hold the brush at a right angle to the top of the wet paint and lightly stroke down the whole length of the door or board. Hold the brush almost perpendicular to the surface for this stroke. Don’t worry about any visible fine brush strokes. These will disappear as the paint dries.

If this sounds too much like hard work then why not give Holloway Painting & Decorating a call for a fast, competitive quote!