Can You Paint Plywood?

We are often asked “Can you paint plywood?” The answer is almost always yes! Plywood is an inexpensive material that is perfect for painting.

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Knowing whether or not you can paint plywood is important because it will affect the type of paint you use and the amount of prep work you have to do. Most plywood is sealed with a clear varnish or a wax finish, which means it doesn’t need to be primed before painting.

What is Plywood?

Plywood is a material manufactured from thin layers or “plies” of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another. It is an engineered wood from the family of manufactured boards which include particle board and oriented strand board (OSB).

Advantages of Painting Plywood

painting plywood can offer many advantages. It can help protect the plywood from damage, make it easier to clean, and even improve its appearance.

When properly prepared and painted, plywood can resist warping, cracking, and peeling. It can also withstand moderate amounts of wear and tear.

Disadvantages of Painting Plywood

One Plywood drawback is that is not as dimensionally stable as other traditional lumber products like solid wood boards. What this means is that it tends to warp, cup and bow when exposed to moisture and heat.

Plywood also tends to be a lot more susceptible to chipping, denting and cracking than solid wood boards. This is because the individual layers of veneer in Plywood are much thinner than a solid wood board.

Another consideration is that the edges of Plywood can be quite rough and unfinished looking. This is due to the way in which it is manufactured.

How to Paint Plywood

Plywood is a durable and inexpensive material that can be used for a variety of projects, both indoor and outdoor. Though it’s not typically considered “pretty,” a fresh coat of paint can give plywood a whole new look. Here’s how to paint plywood.

Choose the Right Paint

If you want to paint plywood, you need to make sure that you choose the right paint for the job. There are two main types of paint that can be used on plywood: latex and oil-based.

Latex paint is generally easier to work with, and it will dry more quickly. However, it is not as durable as oil-based paint, so it is not the best choice for projects that will see a lot of wear and tear.

Oil-based paint will take longer to dry, but it will be more durable in the long run. This makes it a better choice for projects like shelves or chairs that might see a lot of use.

Whichever type of paint you choose, be sure to get one that is specifically designed for use on wood. This will ensure that the paint adheres well to the surface and does not peel or chip over time.

Prepare the Plywood Surface

Plywood is an inexpensive and versatile material that can be used for many different projects around the house. If you’re looking to paint plywood, there are a few things you need to do to prepare the surface before you can start painting.

1. Start by sanding the plywood surface with a medium-grit sandpaper. This will help to rough up the surface and create a good surface for the paint to adhere to.

2. Once you’ve sanded the plywood, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

3. Next, apply a primer to the plywood surface using a brush or roller. Be sure to use a primer designed for use on wood surfaces.

4. Once the primer is dry, you’re ready to start painting! Apply your paint color of choice in thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before adding another.

Apply the Paint

Whether you’re painting plywood floors or walls, the process is largely the same. Start by sanding the surface to rough it up and remove any glossy finishes that could interfere with paint adhesion. Wipe away the dust with a damp cloth and let the surface dry completely. Then, apply primer using a roller or a brush designed for use with latex paint. Let the primer dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before moving on to painting.

When it’s time to paint, choose a high-quality latex paint in semi-gloss or high-gloss sheen. These finishes will be more durable than other options and will make it easier to clean the plywood surface in the future. Use a roller designed for use with latex paint to apply an even coat of color to the surface. Be sure to spread paint evenly into all corners and edges. Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely before adding a second coat, if desired.


Given the right preparation and paint, plywood is a great material for painting. It’s important to sand and prime the wood before painting to get the best results. Be sure to choose a paint that is suitable for the type of plywood you’re working with. With proper preparation and paint, you can achieve great results when painting plywood!