How to paint exterior wood

With the proper preparation there is no reason why you cannot paint exterior timber. Painted wood adds another element to a garden and home. Add colour to a garden hut or Wendy house - or paint your front door in a bold, eyecatching colour.


Nail punch
Bosch Multi Sander with 80- and 180-grit sanding pads
Exterior wood filler
Alcolin QuikWood
Prominent Paints Wood primer
Prominent Paints Acrylic paint suitable for exterior use


  1. Use a hammer and nail punch to drive the heads of any nails that are standing out so they are sitting below the surface. These can then be filled in with exterior wood filler or Alcolin QuikWood.

  2. A high-pressure spray is one way to remove flaking paint, but you can also use a paint scraper or a heat gun if there are several layers of paint. Old paint must be scraped from your wood surface or your new paint will eventually flake and peel off. Make sure the surfaces are dry.
  3. Sand the surfaces with 80-grit sandpaper to remove any loose paint. The surface needs to be clean before painting. Be sure to sand all old, bare wood to provide the proper surface for painting.

  4. Timber that has been previously oiled or sealer should be rubbed down with fine steel wool and mineral turpentine before painting.

  5. Apply wood primer to the surface. Autumn and spring are the perfect times for getting stuck into this task as too much heat can dry the primer and paint too quickly and prevent adequate penetration. It can also cause enamel paints to develop blisters that will ruin the skin of the finish coat of paint.

  6. Apply an exterior acrylic silicone sealer to all the seams and cracks once you’ve primed the surface to keep out moisture. Wipe away excess and shape it with a moist rag as you apply it. Let the sealer set (usually a couple of hours) before painting over it.

  7. Apply two coats of suitable exterior acrylic paint directly to the timber - and don’t forget to paint the end grain on the underside of the pickets. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.