Can Rust-Oleum Be Used on Wood? — Enamel, Spray Paint, & More

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Rustoleum Enamel Paint is the go-to for protecting metal surfaces. Don’t worry about harsh weather conditions – this special formula creates a hard, glossy finish to shield any outdoor surface from mother nature’s harshest effects! 

But can RustOleum be used on wood? Well, our experts have gathered all the information you need if you’re considering using Rustoleum in your woodwork!

Using Rust-Oleum Paint on Wood: Good or Not?

Rustoleum enamel is typically used for metal surfaces, but wood can be painted too. Before beginning the project, though, preparation is key. 

Sand down your wooden surface and wipe away any dust with a damp, lint-free rag or tack cloth. After ensuring that it’s dry, use an oil-based primer from Rust-Oleum. Priming won’t be necessary when painting metals or weatherproofing. 

Rust-Oleum 7780502 Stops Rust Protective Enamel Paint

However, it is critical to get lasting results on wood as it helps Rustoleum oil-based paint adhere correctly. Together they create tough protection against future wear and tear!

Important Considerations Before Painting Rust-Oleum on Wood

Type of Wood

When brushing on a fresh coat of Rustoleum paint on your wood furniture or floors, make sure you take into account the type of wood. 

Hardwood surfaces are prime candidates for an outstanding finish with minimal coats needed, but don’t forget about vertical surfaces that may require careful positioning during drying times! 

Poplar and pinewoods tend not to show grain as much, so one layer usually suffices. However, more attention should be taken when using oak which shows its beautiful grain off proudly, requiring multiple layers for full coverage. 

Wood Preparation

You should perform proper wood preparation. Sanding the wood surface properly in line with its grain using equal pressure will give the best results. 

sanding wood surface

Make sure to clean away all dust and shavings afterward as leaving residue behind could make staining or painting more difficult. For safety’s sake, wear a mask as well. This way, you’ll keep unwanted particles out of your mouth and nose.

Type of Rust-Oleum

When deciding what type of Rust-Oleum to use for your project, you have a wide selection. From Rust-Oleum spray paint cans to oil-based paint tins, there’s an option suitable for any wood or home task at hand. 


Ready to try painting wood but don’t know the brush from a roller? Is Rustoleum spray paint good? 

Well, Rustoleum spray paint cans are an easy and convenient way for novices to dip their toes into art without worrying about details. Just be careful when using them in tight spaces.


The traditional way is using a Rustoleum oil-based paint can. You must use extreme caution when using one. Using the incorrect brush or being too rough while working can result in brush strokes that remain long after the Rust-Oleum has dried.

Rust-Oleum 1974730-6PK Painter's Touch Latex

You can, however, select the best paint hue for you. You can select a color that complements your decor and protects the wood from rust. Rust-Oleum also sells several types of paint, such as acrylic, floor paint, and paint pens.

Testing First

Before you use any type of Rust-Oleum on wood, consider testing first. If you have a sample piece similar to the item being treated, great! 

Otherwise, head out and see if your local hardware store has something suitable. Alternatively, do a test at the bottom or corner of an object so that when treating floors, it won’t be visible after completion. 

Testing can help avoid unpleasant surprises, such as applying what is thought to be dark color only for it not to match with surrounding furniture once complete. Suggestion: try several application methods before deciding which looks best too!

How to Paint Wood with Rust-Oleum Paint

Supplies You’ll Need

Step #1: Prepare Your Work Area

tools for painting

Perform proper wood preparation and protect your workspace by laying down a drop/tack cloth or plastic sheeting before you start painting. 

Use painter’s tape to mask any areas where you don’t want paint, and dress in protective clothing – long-sleeved, with gloves for extra protection against staining. 

If the smell of paint irritates you, consider wearing a respirator. Following these steps will ensure clean edges and professional-looking results!

Step #2: Sand the Wood & Clean the Surface

Sanding your wood surface is the way to start prepping it for painting. Use medium-grit sandpaper of either 180 or 220 fine-grit sandpaper, whichever works best for you. 

To give a smooth feel, move in the same direction as with its grain pattern and use light pressure; then remove any debris like dust particles left behind by using a dry paintbrush or clean cloth. 

person holding sanding block

Don’t forget to wring out excess water from a damp rag before wiping down the wooden area so that it doesn’t raise on its own unnecessarily when drying after cleaning. 

Once all ready, wait just a few minutes more before applying an oil-based primer coat onto this now an adequately prepared piece of wood!

Step #3: Apply the Primer

For a durable and protective coat, apply a Rustoleum oil-based primer to the wood. Use either a high-quality paintbrush or roller for even coverage without missing any spots. We recommend investing in acrylic latex bonding primer, as this yields exceptional results! 

Let the primed wood dry completely before moving on to painting; under ideal conditions, you should wait at least three hours but allow more time if it’s raining or cold out. 

Step #4: Ready and Apply Your Rust-Oleum Paint

After the wood is dry, it’s time to start painting! To ensure you don’t end up with blotchy patches of color on your project, open and stir your paint can thoroughly. 

applying paint primer on cabinet

That will ensure that all pigments are dispersed uniformly in the liquid so there won’t be any unexpected variations when you apply it. After giving the Rustoleum metal paint a good stir, it’s time to get painting. 

Use either a brush or roller for large areas, and if you opted for spray painting application, then give the can an energetic shake before coasting your project in color! Allow at least two hours of drying time once done.

Step #5: Apply Multiple Coats of Rust-Oleum (If Needed)

To achieve the perfect painted wood finish, patience is key. Start by giving your first coat ample drying time, this may take up to a full day. 

Then, add two or three coats of paint for even coverage and allow each one to dry completely before adding another layer. 

antique furniture painted with Rust-Oleum 285140

Light sanding with fine-grit paper between layers helps ensure added grip. When you are satisfied with the result, consider it a job well done!

Is Sanding Required Before Painting with Rust-Oleum?

For most surfaces, sanding is not necessary. However, Rustoleum Company suggests that for high gloss finishes, you can use medium grit sandpaper to lightly buff the surface before applying their products. 

It’s a process that will enhance adhesion and provide an even layer of coverage.

Can You Use Rust-Oleum Metal and Spray Paint on Stained and Unstained Wood?

Unfinished bare wood, stained, or painted surfaces all respond to Rust-Oleum because it’s an oil-based paint that protects the surface.

Painting Wood with Rust-Oleum Metal Paint: Tips & Tricks

For an outstanding result when you paint wood surface with Rustoleum oil-based paint, follow these best practices: 

restoring file cabinet with Rust-Oleum 7582838

Benefits of Rust-Oleum Paint on Wood

Hide Wood Defects

You can give your old wooden furniture a facelift with RustOleum paint. Its powerful covering abilities will hide any imperfections, helping you create an entirely new look for the piece, whether it may be bare wood or stained wood.

Rust-Oleum Spray Paint

Brightens the Wood

With a few strokes of Rustoleum paint, you can quickly transform dull wood surfaces into vibrant metal works. 

Choose between silver sparkles, bronze warmth, and gold elegance to enhance surfaces with dazzling hues that will leave your projects looking brighter and better.


What surfaces can you use Rust-Oleum on?

You can use Rust-oleum on bare wood, stained wood, previously coated, and sealed surfaces. 

Will Rust-Oleum waterproof wood?

The Rust-Oleum oil-based paint forms an impenetrable barrier around wood surfaces, shielding them from water and preserving their longevity.


Now that you know that RustOleum can be used on wood, you can use it to upgrade your wood project and choose from their paint selection.  

Remember to use an oil-based primer to prepare any surface before applying RustOleum wood paint for amazing results! Follow these steps and advice for an outstanding outcome for each of your projects. 

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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