What is the Best Paint for Plywood? For Furniture, Cabinets, Etc. (2023)

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Choosing the right paint for plywood can be tricky since not all paint types can work seamlessly on these wooden surfaces. If you apply the wrong paint, it can result in a cracked or uneven finish, which can cost you more in the long run.

Here, our professional woodworkers listed their picks for the best paint for plywood projects that will bring lasting results.

Premium Option
Modern Masters 296681 Front Door Paint
Editor’s Choice
Rust-Oleum 1990502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint
Budget Option
Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer
• Super simple to use
• Bright trendy colors
• Fast drying
• Very durable
• Available in different gorgeous colors
• Covers well
• Easy to use
• Rich and gorgeous colors
• High durability
Premium Option
Modern Masters 296681 Front Door Paint
• Super simple to use
• Bright trendy colors
• Fast drying
Editor’s Choice
Rust-Oleum 1990502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint
• Very durable
• Available in different gorgeous colors
• Covers well
Budget Option
Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer
• Easy to use
• Rich and gorgeous colors
• High durability

Reviews of the Top Paint Options for Plywood

1. Rust-Oleum 1990502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint

This paint results in a smooth, flawless finish on any woodworking project. This latex formulation is also durable as it can endure high-traffic areas without showing signs of peeling or cracking.

Rust-Oleum is also highly versatile as it allows users to create diverse aesthetics. With six striking colors from flat black, satin claret wine, gloss red, gloss white, gloss hunter green, to gloss sun yellow, the Rust-Oleum 1990502 ensures impeccable results tailored to individual preferences.

Its indoor and outdoor applicability, and budget-friendly, make it a go-to choice for project transformations. It’s also non-toxic and odorless, so it won’t be a health concern for most users.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Modern Masters 296681 Front Door Paint

The Modern Masters 296681 Front Door Paint easily transforms the look of an average plywood cabinet into a new and fresh piece. This paint is also long-lasting and durable and comes in trendy hues that ensure a fade-free finish.

You also won’t run into any trouble with strong scents as it revitalizes any exterior or interior pieces efficiently without pungent odors or protracted drying times. It’s also an eco-conscious and pet-friendly paint.

However, proper surface preparation is crucial. You need to thoroughly clean previously painted areas using soap and water, and in case of unfinished or oil-based surfaces, apply an oil-based primer to achieve the best results.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood

The Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood emphasizes the natural allure of the wood, particularly in Baltic birch plywood surfaces. The formula is suitable for novice painters as it simply highlights the texture and grain of the wood.

In addition, it offers weatherproof protection against rain, ensuring outdoor plans remain unhampered. Taking into account varying environmental factors like temperature and humidity, the drying time for this product ranges from two to three days.

Those both at home and in a workshop can rely on this stain and sealer to achieve smooth and natural results.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. KILZ Over Armor Wood & Concrete Resurfacer

If you want to refurbish aged or worn-out surfaces, we highly recommend the KILZ Over Armor Wood & Concrete Resurfacer. This durable and water-resistant acrylic coating paint gives a thick and solid color that effectively conceals imperfections such as holes and cracks in the wood.

To ensure maximum longevity on external plywood surfaces, we recommend applying two generous coats of this paint. With a unique consistency akin to mud or tar, you must carefully prepare the surface before its application.

Although a little pricey, this KILZ paint will effortlessly cover any imperfections on the surface and works great with plywood. If you’re working on wider surfaces, we recommend using a big paint brush for easy spreading.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. Krylon K05648007 COLORmaxx Acrylic Latex

The Krylon K05648007 COLORmaxx Acrylic Latex Paint is a versatile product that enhances various surfaces. We had no problems using it on interior and exterior plywood items and it delivered remarkable results.

The semi-gloss finish adds a refined sheen to furniture, craft projects, and other miscellaneous objects. But to achieve the most distinguished black shade, allow the paint to dry for an hour, followed by two hours of uninterrupted curing time. When preparing the acrylic, stir it meticulously and add a minimum quantity of water to attain the ideal consistency for brushing.

The superior coverage offered by this product can effortlessly rejuvenate most surfaces, too, including, picnic tables, kitchen chairs, and outdoor benches.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. RECOLOR Paint Recycled Interior Latex Paint

For users who do not have much time, consider the RECOLOR Paint Recycled Interior Latex Paint. It is durable, very easy to clean, and perfect to use on various surfaces like vinyl, and metal siding, in addition to plywood.

Depending on the specific conditions, the drying time can range from 2 to 6 hours after application. We recommend combining batches as the colors may differ slightly. This budget-friendly, water-based latex paint ensures high-quality results without harmful fumes, making it suitable for priming oil-based or sanded surfaces.

Blending colors to achieve the desired shade is a bonus, although the thin consistency may necessitate a second coat for optimal results.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Minwax Wood Finish 227644444

The Minwax Wood Finish 227644444 is an oil-based primer that is great for interior plywood applications. The primer deeply penetrates the wood, highlighting the grain without causing damage.

Its swift drying time with just five minutes of penetration and two hours to dry streamlines the staining process considerably. This versatile primer is well-suited for various surfaces, including cabinets, furniture, and doors, providing exceptional colorfastness that withstands the test of time.

For optimal results and enhanced depth between coats, sand the surface and remove dust, ensuring superior adhesion and a smooth, lasting finish.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

8. Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One

The Prestige Exterior Paint and Primer in One is a latex-based paint that effectively conceals surface imperfections while leaving an aesthetically pleasing finish on plywood. It seamlessly also adheres to various surfaces, including but not limited to masonry [1], wood, and aluminum.

The paint dries relatively fast, usually within one to two hours, depending on the humidity and temperature at the time of application. A second coat may be added after the initial drying time if needed.

Its matte finish contributes to skillfully concealing any wooden flaws, and allowing the paint to cure overnight ensures optimal results that are visibly superior.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

9. Majic Paints 8-1501-4 Diamond Hard Acrylic

The Majic Paints 8-1501-4 Diamond Hard Acrylic Paint doesn’t also bring strong fumes thanks to its low-odor formula, which also happens to be nonflammable – providing peace of mind during usage.

The impressive outcome of using this paint includes an attractive vibrancy in color, combined with rust resistance and reliable gloss retention over time, despite exposure to scratches and scuffs.

You can also use it on various surfaces, including metal, glass, drywall, steel, tile, copper, plastics, masonry, and brick. To optimize the paint’s performance for airbrushing, add approximately 20% water for full coverage and adaptability for mixing.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

10. Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Eco-Friendly Paint

The Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Eco-Friendly Paint is a great option for those seeking an affordable, eco-friendly paint with a diverse color selection. Manufactured in the United States, this paint has exceptional coverage suitable for various painting projects.

A potential drawback, however, is the limited availability of sheen options, as it only comes in low-sheen (akin to matte or flat finishes) and semi-gloss finishes. For those in search of a high-gloss finish, this may not be the most suitable choice.

On a positive note, Montage Signature paint is available in a 5-gallon size, offering additional cost savings for those planning large-scale or multiple painting projects.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

11. Valspar Porch and Floor Latex Satin Enamel

The Valspar Porch and Floor Latex Satin Enamel is designed for exterior surfaces but it also proved to be an excellent choice for interior plywood floors as well. This oil-based paint creates a hard, durable layer of color that effectively protects plywood flooring.

The smooth application process ensures resistance to chipping, scuffing, and abrasions, providing a long-lasting finish. It’s also affordable, considering that it can cover around 500 square feet.

The Valspar Porch and Floor Enamel delivers durability and protection, making it an ideal choice for plywood floor applications.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

12. Jolie Paint Water-Based Non-Toxic Paint

Jolie paint is a high-performance formula well-suited for wooden floors, ensuring a safe, non-toxic option for indoor environments. Its water-based composition allows for effortless cleaning using soap and water, making it adaptable for both interior and exterior applications, encompassing wooden surfaces and stones.

Requiring minimal surface preparation and available in various colors, Jolie paint proves user-friendly even for novices, with a 32 fl oz can covering an estimated 150 square feet.

The Jolie Paint Water-Base Non-Toxic Paint is commonly used for refinishing floors, cabinets, and housewares with accelerated drying time. To achieve durable outcomes, the application of a protective top coat is advised.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

13. INSL-X CTS35059A-01 Tough Shield Floor and Patio Paint

The INSL-X CTS35059A-01 Tough Shield Floor and Patio Paint provides a durable, long-lasting solution for plywood floors, appropriate for both interior and exterior applications.

The waterborne acrylic formula resists abrasion, cleaning, detergents, oils, greases, and ponding water, ensuring color longevity. With a coverage capacity of 350-400 square feet, at least two coats are needed for a glossy finish.

The satin paint offers four color options and is easily applied with a brush, roller brush, or air sprayer at temperatures above 10°C. Suitable for use on previously painted floors, NSL-X Tough Shield Floor and Patio Paint emerge as a reliable choice for plywood flooring projects.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Paint for Plywood Buyer’s Guide

Painting plywood is a delicate process. To get the best results, it’s important to choose the best paint for plywood for your project and application. Here, we weigh in important factors like assignment type, painting procedure, and even colors:

Indoor or Outdoor Use?

Don’t be fooled, paints are not one-size fits. For interior projects such as walls and furniture, opt for paint specifically designed for indoor use.

But if your project is for outside like plywood surfaces or fences, go with exterior grade paints which have better protection against the elements, but keep in mind that some formulas offer dual protection both in and out!

Your Preferred Finish

With so many options for how you want your surfaces to look, choosing the right finish can be a tricky decision.

Select from high-gloss, semi-gloss, matte, and satin finishes, each provides its unique result! Research what product works best with each type of shine or opt for one that specifies it in their description.

painting a plywood

Color of the Final Product

Selecting from an extensive assortment of colors allows you to find the perfect shade that complements your home’s decor. Alternatively, unleash your creativity by blending two distinct hues to create a unique, custom color.

Before embarking on this color-mixing journey, you can also seek expert advice to ensure a seamless and successful blending process.

Additionally, consider factors such as room size, lighting conditions, and color psychology to make an informed decision that enhances the overall ambiance of your living space.

Cost/Budget

Purchase a paint that fits your budget, even if you need to save for an extended period. High-quality options may be more expensive, but in the long run, they can help you avoid spending unnecessary time and money.

The best paints for plywood aren’t necessarily pricey, like our budget pick, the Ready Seal 520. However, you need to ensure that the amount of paint you’re buying will cover your entire project.

Plywood Types For Painting

With a little extra effort, you can transform affordable plywood into paint-grade wood. Simply sand and remove any rough sections to create smooth edges free of knots or defects.

Then apply water-based paints for easy application with low VOCs and soap & water cleanup. This way you don’t need costly premium veneers like oak or maple when painting your flooring.

Choosing best paint paint for a plywood

Painting Your Plywood: 6 Easy Steps

Achieve a professional finish no matter what look you’re going for! With the right paint and if followed step-by-step, plywood can easily be transformed into high gloss, matte, satin, or smooth finishes.

Step #1: Put Wood Filler in Nail Holes

After applying wood filler, utilize an electric sander or block to smooth out any nooks, crannies, and gaps on your plywood surface.

Remember to wear gloves for safety. Let the product set between 45 minutes to 1 hour before sanding down residuals that are not flush with the texture of the board.

applying wood filler on plywood

Step #2: Sand the Exposed Edges and Tidy Up the Wood Surface

Make your project look professional and protect it while in transit with rounded edges. Choose the desired roundness.

Then utilize a power sander to smooth down any rough areas before applying joint compound for an even finish. Allow at least 24 hours of drying time after sealing up all holes containing the wood filler.

Step #3: Apply Your Plywood Primer

Get your DIY project started right with the proper priming and painting techniques. Choose a roller, brush, or electric primer-safe paint sprayer from an online store or local hardware shop. The primer should be applied to plywood surfaces twice.

Allow each layer to dry for four hours before lightly sanding between applications – this will help produce maximum results! Take safety precautions while working in a well-ventilated space by wearing protective equipment as some paints and primers can be dangerous if inhaled.

Step #4: Spread the First Thin Coat of Plywood Paint

With the primer dry to the touch, it’s time for a fresh coat of paint. Create an even thin coat across the surface.

applying wood primer on plywood

Even if you can still spot some spots from underneath, that’s okay. Remember it’s only one light pass, and many thin layers are preferred over thick ones.

Step #5: Sand Between Coats Lightly

Lightly sand the areas between paint coats to give your coated plywood floors a new look. Use sandpaper (fine grit around 180-220) to remove any inconsistencies, then dust off the surface using a dry cloth or a vacuum for an even result.

Step #6: Spread Extra Coats As Needed

For a flawless and hard-wearing finish when painting surfaces that receive high traffic, apply multiple thin coats for optimal results.

Ensure the first coating is fully dry before adding more layers or you risk color peeling or cracking. Lastly, top off your project with an extra coat of paint as instructed on the labels, ensuring a long-lasting finish!

putting more coats on plywood

FAQ

Can you spray paint on plywood?

A tiny piece of plywood can be spray painted, but spray primer should be used beforehand. Spray paint the wood several times after priming it to acquire the desired finish.

To prevent paint from building up at the plywood edges, paint just a little bit with each movement past the wood’s edge.

Should you paint plywood white?

Similar to painting any other form of wood, plywood may be painted in whatever color you like. Before applying your desired color, you must first fill any holes with a wood filler, sand the filler to the same level as the plywood surface, prime the surface, and then fill the remaining gaps.

Can I use latex paint on plywood surfaces?

On plywood, latex paints are suitable. Any kind of paint over a water-based primer (latex) can be used if you apply one. After letting the primer dry for 2 to 14 days after priming, it is recommended to apply two coats of paint.

Our Top Pick For a Paint for Plywood: Rust-Oleum 1990502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint

For an effortless painting experience, Rust-Oleum 1990502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint is the best paint for plywood. Boasting easy application to almost any surface inside and out, this affordable paint will deliver smooth and effortless results quickly and effectively.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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