Home Art 101: How To Use Water Damaged Wood For Painting

In this project, all you need are proper tools and a bit of patience. If you are wondering how to use water damaged wood for painting, then you came to the right place.

Whether your wood has been painted previously or just weathered from the long-time usage and water contact, there is hope to salvage it and make it look brand new. Keep reading to learn more about prepping water damaged wood for repainting.

how to use water damaged wood for painting


Can You Paint On Water Damaged Wood?

Yes, you can paint water damaged wood provided that the wood is not too rotten yet. In fact, painting wood is an easy way to keep them protected from moisture.

This is especially true for your wooden fixtures outdoors. Your fences, benches, or tables are always exposed to different temperatures and conditions. The least you can do is maintain them constantly by proper repainting.

Paint adds an extra layer of protection to the wood. When planning to repaint your wooden fixtures, make sure to know what kind of paint is best suited for the purpose. For instance, many recommend water-based paints when it comes to painting wood.

Ensure that the wood is thoroughly dry before starting to work on it. If you paint on damp wood, the paint won’t likely last long and will peel in just a short period. Once you think that the wood is fully dry, follow the steps below with as much precision as possible.


Prepping The Water Damaged Wood

Before painting on the water damaged wood, make sure that you will remove all the factors that may disrupt your progress, such as white mold. For cleaning bare wood, make sure that you will also do it properly so you won’t ruin the canvass you are planning to use.


Step #1. Scrape the old paint away

This is applicable for wood that has already been painted ages ago. If the wooden wall or surface is strong enough to endure water-blasting, then you can do so. However, scraping the paint with a paint scraper is also a good alternative despite being possibly more tedious.

Scraping the paint manually of your wood allows you to take a closer look at the wooden surfaces. Notice what kind of rot the wood is suffering. A moist and spongy wood surface suffers from wet rot, while a crumbly surface is called dry rot.

If the rot applies only to a smaller area, you will only need to cut it and patch it with wood plugs. Larger rots will require a whole replacement. Hopefully, your wood is not too rotten, so you would not need to resort to these extra tasks.

If you notice cracks on the wood, it would also be best for you to replace it. If there is none, then you are good to go to the next step.

Remember that while scraping paint, you should be dressed properly in work clothes. Wear a mask as the paint might have substances that can negatively affect your respiration for extra protection.


Step #2. Flatten the surface

Uneven wood surfaces are not only unsightly but are also harder to paint. To address this, you have to flatten out the wood surface with either sandpaper, a wire brush, or, if you have a larger surface to work on, a belt sander.

Use sandpaper for small wood repainting and a wire brush with a bigger one. You might be tempted to scrape loose wooden fibers only with your nails. Be careful with wood splinters and opt to wear gloves before sanding the wood surface.

Using a belt sander for surfaces that are already flat can make the job easier for you. On the other hand, the use of sandpaper or wire brush flattens surfaces and makes them rough enough so the paint would stick better on the wood. This can make the paint longer lasting.


Step #3. Seal gaps and cracks

You have scraped away the paint, determined the useful parts of the water damaged wood, and even managed to flatten out the surface — excellent! Now it’s time to put on your first layer of protection so the wood won’t absorb more water after you’re done with repainting it.

Use caulking to seal off any gaps and cracks that remain in your wood. This is so neither air nor water can seep through it and cause it to rot. Purchase a high-quality caulk to protect wooden surfaces and give a cleaner finish to the wood.

Aside from using caulk on this specific project, you can also use it on other surfaces like faucets and plumbing fixtures to ensure no leaks. It is preferable if you can apply the caulk in a straight, continuous line. If you can’t help but stop along the way, make sure to continue right where you left to cover all gaps.


Step #4. Rinse and dry

Please wait for the caulk to dry thoroughly before giving it a good water bath. Lightly but properly brush off any dirt or dust that will get in the way of the paint application. Use a scrub brush to do this.

If your wooden walls are tall, opt for a long-handled brush to do the job. Afterward, be patient and allow it to dry off again. When this is done, you are only a step closer to finishing with the topcoat.


Step #5. Apply your primer of choice

A coat or two of primer can make all the difference between a good or a bad painting job. While we’re rooting for your water-based paint to do its job as a topcoat, it is still possible for substances to seep through it.

Adding a layer of primer provides extra protection and adds to a clean, even finish. It even makes sure that the paint will stick to the wood for a long time without flaking.

You can apply two coats of primer to make sure it covers the wood well and do its job correctly. Do some internet research before buying a primer to determine what would be best for your project.



Now that you know how to use water damaged wood for painting, you can now start on your newest house renovation project. Patience is a must, as it will likely take days or weeks before you finish depending on how big of a wood you have.

Don’t forget to wear proper and comfortable work clothes. Remember, safety first!

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