Plywood surfaces are not very attractive on their own. A nice paint job will improve the aesthetics of your plywood surface no matter what your project is. But it can be confusing to choose which type of paint you’ll need.
So, what are the best paints for plywood? There are several types of paints that can be used on plywood, but the best paints include water-based acrylic latex paints and acrylic enamel. Whatever paint you intend to use, make sure you seal and prime your wood surface before applying paint for the best results.
You need to use quality paint in order to get the perfect finish. Higher quality paints have a high percentage of solids which results in a durable and thicker finish. This also requires fewer coats.
We have reviewed the best paints available for coating plywood. You can go through their features, pros, and cons in order to make an informed decision on the best paint to suit your plywood project.
What Types of Paints Can Be Used on Plywood?
There is a large variety of paints that can be applied on plywood. Water-based acrylic latex paints are quite easy to work with.
If you are looking for a semi-gloss finish on plywood, then acrylic enamel would be the best. Oil-based enamel paint would be the best for a high-gloss finish. A primer coat has to be applied before applying both oil and enamel paints on plywood.
Enamel paints are preferred in coating pieces of plywood where they receive a lot of wear and tear. These are also used when resistance to dirt is your topmost priority.
Enamel painting provides a harder coat in comparison to latex paint. Using enamel paint is also ideal for situations where the surface requires constant cleaning.
If you are using plywood to design bathroom and kitchen cabinets, then enamel paints may be the best choice. These paints provide a glossier and smoother finish to the surface.
Semi-gloss enamel finishes are ideal for coating surfaces of shelves and furniture. If you are considering extreme durability, then choosing epoxy paints would be ideal.
However, before you get right to painting, make sure you’ve got a sealant for your wood as well as a primer for the best results.
Best Paints for Plywood
|1.||Rust-Oleum Enamel Protective Paint||Protective, enamel paint, quick drying|
|2.||Ready Seal Wood Stain||Wood stain, no primer required, protective|
|3.||Kilz Premium Stain-Blocking Latex Primer/Sealer||Stain-resistant, sealer and primer, low odor|
|4.||Modern Masters Door Paint||Outdoor or indoor, fade-resistant, low odor|
|5.||Majic Paints Acrylic Enamel High Gloss Paint||Water-based, resilient, acrylic finish|
|6.||Minwax Wood Finish||Wood stain, easy application|
|7.||Valspar Latex Enamel||Wear-resistant, exterior and interior|
|8.||Prestige Interior Paint and Primer||Self-priming, durable|
1. Rust-Oleum Enamel Protective Paint
Rust-Oleum premium paint promises a smooth, durable finish on all items. It has been formulated with a quick-drying formula.
This paint resists fading and chipping on a variety of surfaces, including plywood. The finish lasts longer than ordinary paints.
It provides lasting protection and is available in a variety of colors. This oil-based enamel paint offers long-lasting protection to surfaces.
- Durable and corrosion-resistant paint
- Offers flat, semi-gloss, and gloss finish
- Suitable for painting indoor and outdoor surfaces
- The weather-resistant coating protects various surfaces
- Semi-gloss finish imparts a subtle finish on surfaces
- Oil-based formula provides a durable protective coating
- Superior durability and coverage
- Excellent resistance to chipping, fading, and abrasion
- Dries quickly in 2-4 hours
- The paint is little runny and requires many coats
2. Ready Seal Wood Stain
Ready Seal stain improves the natural beauty of plywood without masking the original grain and texture of the wood. This oil-based stain is both a sealer and a semi-transparent stain. It is ideal for any exterior wood projects.
Ready Seal Wood Stain has a unique formula. It preserves wood from mildew, mold, and UV rays by penetrating deeply into the wood.
The surface of the wood has to be cleaned before coating the stain onto it. The wood also needs to dry completely before staining.
Ready Seal is quite dark when it is coated for the first time. It attains its true color within fourteen days. This stain requires no primer.
It imparts color to the wood and seals it from moisture at the same time. Combining seal and stain saves your money and your time.
- Can be applied easily using a brush, roller or sprayer on the surface of the wood
- Doesn’t require any primer
- Doesn’t lap, run, or streak
- No back-brushing required
- The product blends itself and doesn’t require any wet line application
- Doesn’t require any thinning or diluting prior to application
- Is durable and rich in color
- A great alternative to varnishing or stripping
- Rolls nicely and is odor-free
- Leaves a slight yellow tint on the surface
3. Kilz Premium Stain-Blocking Latex Primer/Sealer
This powerful stain-blocking formula renders a uniform finish to the plywood surface you are coating.
It seals the surface from moisture and hides previous colors and stains. It promises excellent adhesion to both the exterior and interior surfaces.
Kilz Premium has just the right consistency to provide a smooth finish on porous surfaces. It fills in perfects pretty easily.
It also offers protection from mold and mildew. This stain works well for most surfaces including woodwork, brick, masonry, plaster, and drywall.
This stain is ideal for use in highly humid areas such as laundry rooms and bathrooms. You can use this for color changes for sealing light to medium stains. It also minimizes surface imperfections that result due to porosity and texture differences.
It is best to use this stain on prepared surfaces. It has a low odor and zero VOCs. It is also easy to clean up. Kilz has been developing paints and primers for over 4 decades.
- Offers uniform finish on surfaces
- Seals the surface from moisture
- Formulated using powerful stain-blocking formula
- Can be used on various surfaces including woodwork, plaster, masonry, brick, and drywall
- Covers 300-400 sq ft per gallon
- Easy to clean up
- Offers a smooth finish on porous surfaces
- Offers protection from mildew and mold
- Minimizes surface imperfections caused due to texture and porosity
- Zero VOCs and low odor
- Requires at least two coats for perfect coverage and finish
4. Modern Masters Door Paint
This premium paint is durable and can transform any plywood surface. It has been specially formulated to transform wooden doors.
The never-fade technology allows the color to withstand the harsher elements of the outdoors. The coated surface will remain vibrant and rich for years.
With two simple coats, you can transform any ordinary surface into something more exquisite. This paint is durable and of high quality.
It can transform the look of a house in less than a day. The fast-drying paint formula promises easy and quick transformation of any surface.
You’ll need to thoroughly prep the surface before painting. Stir the paint and start working on the surface. Applying two coats will offer a perfect finish.
- Available in different colors
- Ideal for doors, shutters, and wooden surfaces
- Can cover up to 100 sq ft
- Never-fade technology ensures the surface will remain beautiful for years to come
- Provides a smooth satin finish
- The water-based formula promises long-lasting durability
- Has low odor
- Dries to touch in just one hour
- Is quite watery and drips
5. Majic Paints Acrylic Enamel High Gloss Paint
This is one of the finest quality general purpose paints available in the market.
Diamond hard acrylic enamel promises superior adhesion to almost any surface. The finish is durable and resilient and will last for years to come.
The water-based formula of the paint adds to the safety and convenience while using this product. Majic Paints enamel truly outperforms conventional oil-based paints.
- All-purpose paint ideal for wood, glass, brick, tile, steel, aluminum, and masonry
- Non-flammable water-based formula
- Outperforms conventional oil-based paints
- Rust-inhibiting formula
- Superior gloss and color retention formula
- Tough durable acrylic finish
- Low odor
- Is easy to apply
- Leaves a smooth glossy finish over the surface
- Resilient finish that will last for years to come
- Resists scuff marks and scratching
- The shades seem brighter than what is advertised
6. Minwax Wood Finish
This product is a deep penetrating oil-based wood stain. It imparts rich, beautiful color to the wood and also enhances its natural grain. It is easy to apply.
Minwax food finish is simply perfect to impart beauty to any stripped or bare wood surface. You can stain wood furniture, door, cabinets, hardwood floors, and molding with this product.
This oil-based wood finish imparts rich color to the wood and enhances natural wood grain.
This product is easy to apply and penetrates deep into the pores. Per quart of this finish offers coverage to 150 sq ft of any wooden surface. If you are looking for a darker color, then you can apply a second coat after four to six hours of applying the first coat.
- Penetrates deeply into wooden pores
- Oil-based wooden stain
- Can be used on any wooden surface
- 150 sq ft coverage offered per quart of the finish
- Easy to apply with a foam applicator, brush, or clean cloth
- Can be recoated for a dark finish
- Penetrates within the wooden surface in just 5 to 15 minutes of application
- Offers an extremely smooth surface
- Offers a shiny and durable surface
- Leaves a thick layer if applied in the form of a spray
7. Valspar Latex Enamel
This enamel offers exceptional wear resistance and a high gloss finish. The surface can be scrubbed after the enamel has dried after application.
This paint is non-toxic and easy to clean up. The best thing is that it dries to touch in just an hour.
You can use Valspar Latex enamel on wood, trim, primed metal, craft items, and furniture.
- Latex enamel is tough and scratch-resistant
- Ideal for use on exterior and interior surfaces
- Can be used on metal and wood
- Paint is nontoxic
- Exceptional wear resistance
- Imparts a high gloss finish to the surface
- Dries quickly in just an hour
- Easy to clean up with soap and water
- Some issues with the packaging have been reported and hence it has to be handled with care
8. Prestige Interior Paint and Primer
Prestige has a premium acrylic latex paint. The best thing about this is that it self-primes and you don’t have to use any additional primer.
You can use it to coat drywall, wooden surfaces, interior surfaces, and a lot more. If you are using this paint on glossy or stained surfaces, then you can consider using a stain-blocking sealer primer.
With Prestige paint, you may require more than one coat while painting on certain colored surfaces. The color of actual paint may vary depending on the surface. The best way for a long-lasting coat is to prepare the surface.
Remove loose paint and clean the surface with a detergent for removing contaminants and grease. Rinse well for removing the residue of soap. Allow the surface to dry.
Sand the plywood surface until it is smooth. Prime the surface of the wood with a single coat of this product. While using new woods, you can use any oil-based sealer or primer. Stir the paint well for ensuring uniformity while coloring. You can use a high-quality applicator such as pad painter, brush, and nap roller cover.
The best thing about this product is that it dries in an hour and you can recoat quickly if need be. The finish is not only low-gloss, but also more reflective. The painted surface is easy to clean and more durable.
- Primer and paint in one
- Ideal for coating interior surfaces such as furniture, hallways, dining rooms, family rooms, living rooms, and more
- Promises smooth application
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- Paint is durable and washable
- Has low VOC and is nontoxic
- Premium acrylic latex paint
- Dries quickly in an hour
- The finish is more reflective
- The painted surface is durable and also easy to clean
- Will last for years
- Offers smooth and thick coat
- Dries a little too quickly
Are These Water-Based?
Water-based paints are not usually ideal for painting plywood unless they have been specially formulated with certain chemicals, like the Majic paints we listed above.
Water-based products without the right chemicals cause wood fiber to swell up and resist the penetration of coated material. Oil-based products are generally ideal for coating plywood or any other wooden surface.
Is It Necessary to Use a Primer Before Painting Plywood Surfaces?
Not necessarily. Some of the paints and wood stains do not require you to use any primer for prepping the surface. These usually are all-in-one products that work as both primer and topcoat.
Most of the wood stains seal the porous surfaces for providing protection against moisture. Generally, applying two coats of such paints or stains would suffice.
Can Plywood Paints Be Tinted?
Yes. Almost all paints can be tinted. You can add tint to the paint and mix it thoroughly before applying the coat on any surface. You can also include powders for mold and mildew resistance while painting any surface.
Is It Necessary to Add a Top Coat While Painting Plywood?
Most of the products work well and provide a great finish in a single coat. However, applying two or multiple coats can make the surface really pop. It will also make the paint last for years.
How to Prepare the Plywood Surface Before Painting?
The process to prep the surface is quite simple. You need to sand the surface with sandpaper until the surface is smooth. You can use an oil-based primer if it is necessary.
Or, you can just continue coating with the paint or stain that you have shortlisted for your project. Most of the good quality paints used on wooden surfaces do not require any primer. They are usually formulated to serve as both primer and paint.