Tips For Painting On Burnt Wood: What To Consider Before Refinishing Damaged Wood

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Repairing damaged wood in your house and applying protective coatings is a must when doing restorations. However, a few essential details should be considered before diving headfirst into this kind of DIY project. 

If you don’t correctly prepare burned wood, whatever fresh paint you try to apply will peel right off. So, I’ve created this guide to help you with everything you need to know before painting on burnt wood.

Things To Consider Before Painting

Alright, if you’re gearing up to paint on burnt wood, here are some pointers from my playbook. First and foremost, safety: if you’re in a space with iffy ventilation, always reach for a respirator. You’ll thank yourself later.

Using a power sander and 180-grit sandpaper, remove as much of the charred wood as feasible. If you can’t get all the burnt wood entirely stripped, that’s okay. Focus on picking up and disposing of charred bits of wood.

Use tack cloths to clean the charred wood. And before you get started with the actual painting, I’d recommend taping off around the burnt section. It’s a neat little trick to keep your painting job clean and precise. 

burnt wood

Now it’s time to apply primer. Use a roller or paintbrush designed for oil-based coatings to apply two coats of stain-blocking primer to the charred wood.

Also Read: How Do You Seal Charred Wood

According to, a two-hour interval should pass between coats. Furthermore, the last application of stain-resistant primer needs three hours to dry.

Once you’re done with the initial phase, it’s crucial to clean that brush and roller. I’ve always leaned on mineral spirits for this; they do a fantastic job. Apply a layer of latex paint over the prepped wood using a clean roller or a paintbrush made for water-based paints. The paint drying time is around two hours.

Now, a side note on damaged wood: even if it’s not completely wrecked, damaged wood may be fixed and reused. If your wooden objects sustain any damage, use these simple and low-cost solutions:

Color Restoration with Coconut Oil

Many chemical compounds exist that may restore the original sheen and color of fading wood. But if there is a natural way to treat something, then why utilize chemicals? 

coconut oil

Coconut oil is the most effective all-natural treatment for discoloration. Coconut oil not only restores moisture to dry wood but also helps bring out the wood’s natural color.

Fixing Damages with Wood Filler

Repairing significant damage may be a breeze despite how it may initially seem. Get a reliable wood filler for painting to hide the damage on a deck or other wood structure that has sustained severe damage. 

If the holes and gaps are bigger than usual, there are specific wood fillers made for large holes, so use those. 

Wood fillers are an essential part of any professional or amateur woodworker’s arsenal since one may use them to restore the original appearance of any hardwood surface or project. 

person holding Bondo Home Solutions ‎20082 Wood Filler

Now, among the various fillers out there, Bondo all-purpose filler stands out. When you’re using Bondo filler, it’s best to mix it on a small plate and then apply it directly to the hole.

And, before I forget, if you’re prepping burnt wood for painting, you might want to consider using the best exterior wood filler. It can make all the difference in the final look and durability.

Fixing Light Scratches with DIY Solution

Fixing scratches and dings on wood doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. Here’s a little trick I’ve picked up over the years: just combine 3/4 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Dab the mixture on the scrapes and any minor blemishes. In time, the wood will recover its original luster, and the blemishes will have vanished.

Refinishing To Get Rid Of A Stain

Applying a new finish may seem simple, but it’s rather involved. There are steps to do after purchasing a stain that you must complete before applying the stain and refinishing the wood. 

Personally, I recommend using a sander to smooth the wood toward the grain. If you want the wood’s natural color to pop, level the surface as much as possible before applying a stain.

Interesting Readings: 

Patching Damaged Wood

You plan on utilizing a vintage wooden item, but you notice that it is riddled with nail holes. Two possible solutions exist: filling the hole with glue or staining the wood. I find glue works best since it binds the hole shut much more securely. 

However, you may achieve the appearance and feel of natural wood using a wood stain. As both have their merits, it’s up to you to decide which one to utilize.

patching nail holes with wood filler

Protecting Against UV Radiation

Exposure to sunlight is a significant threat to anything made of wood. Sunlight, particularly ultraviolet (UV) radiation, may diminish the look of wood and create adhesion and discoloration. 

You may avoid this by applying an opaque coating. The opaque coating serves as a reliable shield. It forms a protective barrier against the sun’s harsh rays that can lead to fading, discoloration, and degradation of the wood. As a result, it will preserve the natural wood color.


In a concrete home, wooden accents may help create a more comfortable and natural atmosphere. You must take good care of all wooden things if you want them to survive for a long time and keep their natural beauty. 

With my tips above, you can fix almost anything if you know how to paint on burnt or damaged wood effectively.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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