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DIY refurbishing: How to prepare waxed wood surfaces for painting

How to prepare waxed wood for painting
How to prepare waxed wood for painting

To make sure that your refurbishing project is a success, your first step is to prepare the surface of your walls or furniture for painting. The basic four steps apply to any type of furniture or surface; clean, repair, smooth and seal. Each surface is different, however, and requires slightly different materials.

Preparing a waxed wood surface for painting, for example, is a lot different than preparing regular wood before you paint. Since paint will not adhere to a waxy surface, you can’t get away without preparing waxed wood before you paint. Here’s how:

Preparing Waxed Wood for Painting: Clean

It’s not easy to clean the wax off the wood and removing it is an absolute must. Try heat stripping or liquid stripping to remove the wax and don’t worry about trying to clean off any dirt or grime beforehand. If the waxed wood surface is extremely dirty and you feel like it would help the stripping process to clean it first, don’t use excessive amounts of water as this will raise the grain and warp the wood.

Preparing Waxed Wood for Painting: Repair

Repairing holes and dents in waxed wood once the waxy surface has been removed is much like repairing regular wood. You can use spackling compound or wood filler to make the surface more uniform for painting.

Preparing Waxed Wood for Painting: Smooth

When it’s time to sand and smooth the repaired and wax-less surface of waxed wood, you can use an electric sander for the large flat parts, but you will need to use sandpaper for the corners, edges and tight spots.

It is likely that some wax will remain even after the stripping process. Steel wool will help you remove these last bits before you move on to sealing the surface. Don’t forget to use your dust mask!

Preparing Waxed Wood for Painting: Seal

Once your waxed wood is at the priming stage, it should be just like regular wood. You can use a water based acrylic primer or an oil based wood primer that has stain blocking sealer for resinous knots.

When the sealing process is complete, you can paint!


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