what kind of paint is best for wood

What Kind of Paint Is Best For Wood – The Best Guide

What kind of paint is best for wood ? The range of paints and varnishes we use to protect wood is extremely extensive. In general, we can divide it both in terms of application and appearance. A large group of materials for wooden facades, in addition to the paints themselves, includes all kinds of impregnations and primers.

The right choice of impregnations, primers, paints and their combined use make it possible to achieve the perfect final coating. It will be more reliable and durable, which is impossible to achieve with a simple, even very thorough painting.

After all, it is not in vain that most manufacturers produce a whole complex of materials. For example, they offer a variety of paints and primers.

Moreover, in the instructions for use, they indicate what and how you should treat the the surface before painting. In this article, we will offer you a full analysis of all kinds and tips, and what paint to choose for the wood.

What Kind of Paint Is Best For Wood

Types of Paints by Appearance

In terms of appearance, we can divide paintwork materials into three groups: transparent coatings, dispersion paints, and opaque enamels.


By transparent coatings, we mean protective glazes, impregnation agents, and transparent varnishes. They contain pigment additives, and reveal the natural structure of the tree. These coatings have a high vapor permeability, which contributes to the removal of moisture from the surface you apply them.

As a rule, these compositions contain substances that act as an ultraviolet filter. The wood you treat them with acquires protection against destruction under sunlight, and resistance to ageing. Keep in mind that it is good to repeat treatment after 1-3 years without removing the previous layer.

What Kind of Paint Is Best For Wood – Dispersion

Dispersion acrylic paints have become increasingly popular in recent years. They use water as a solvent, and most often acrylates or their copolymers as a binding agent. Their share reaches 80-85% of the total production of paints and coatings.

Coatings produced as a result of applying such paints are vapor-permeable, for instance, wooden elements breathe. Keep in mind that waterproofing protects surfaces from atmospheric moisture. Further, vapor permeability ensures moisture removal from the structures you paint.

After application to the surface and formation of the film, their solvent – water – evaporates. As a result, the coatings become frost resistant.

You should not freeze acrylic paints before use, for example, in packages such as cans, and more. They can either die completely due to the destruction of emulsion and stratification, or lose most of their properties.

Opaque Enamels

With the advent of water-dispersion paints, traditional varnishes and enamels have become less popular. However, you can still use them due to their high quality of coatings, simplicity, and ease of use.

Their main disadvantages are toxicity and fire hazard. The most popular organic solvent paints are alkyd, vinyl chloride, acrylic, and polyurethane.

What Kind of Paint Is Best For Wood – Acrylics

Acrylic, or acrylate, paints are solutions of polyacrylates, or their derivatives in organic solvents, or dispersions (emulsions) in water. The coatings they produce are highly resistant to light, weather, and water.

If you are looking for the best paint for wood, acrylic compositions are ideal for both indoor and outdoor work. They blend and oscillate perfectly, forming a huge (over 2,000 shades) color range.

Water Dispersion

Water emulsion (water-dispersion or latex) substances – they are suspensions of pigments and fillers in water dispersions (latex).

Aqueous dispersion compositions are easy to handle – you can apply the layers repeatedly with a brush or roller. Moreover, painting is also possible by spraying method. As the wooden elements age, you should paint them again.

Another characteristic feature of waterborne acrylic paints is their durability. Their service life is between 4 and 8 years (in some cases up to 10 years). However, cheap members of this group do not have these qualities.

Alkyd Varnishes and Enamels

Alkyd varnishes – varnishes based on alkyd resins, contain solvents, siccatives, and other film forming additives. They are used in the manufacture of alkyd enamels. We use alkyd enamels – paintwork materials based on alkyd varnishes, to protect products made of metal and wood.

Alkyd varnishes and enamels have long been well known as inexpensive materials. Further, these products have high hydrophobicity (water repellency).

Therefore, you can use them for internal and external painting of various wooden structures. Their protective effect is due to the fact that a film thickness of at least 0.1 mm forms on the surface.

Because these materials dry very quickly, they barely penetrate the wood, and the paint film is not very durable. The peculiarity of these lacquers and enamels is low water and steam permeability. So, fluctuations in humidity will not affect the building elements you coat them with with.

Alkyd enamels and enamels based on other binders (alkyd urethane, acrylate) – We use them for painting window frames, doors, and floors. Keep in mind that these are exactly those elements that should not change their parameters under the influence of moisture.

But you should remember that, unlike water-dispersion compositions, you can only apply enamels on well-dried surfaces. Otherwise, when the wood dries, bubbles will form on the paint layer, and it will start to exfoliate.

Acrylic and Polyurethane Varnishes and Enamels

More advanced materials containing organic solvents include acrylic and polyurethane enamels and varnishes. Polyurethane compositions are especially promising.

For example, coatings based on them are have high wear resistance and resistance to external influences. However, polyurethane materials are not popular as alkyd, and even acrylic varnishes and enamels.

Their high cost and toxicity of the raw materials (isocyanates) makes them less popular. Acrylic varnishes and enamels, which are also highly resistant to light and color, have no such disadvantages. You can use them for exterior and interior painting of walls, doors, frames, and other building structures.


Oil paints – suspensions of pigments or their mixtures in olives – They contain siccatives and surfactants. Furthermore, they are available in thickly grated (paste-like), and ready-to-use (liquid) paints. Nowadays, compositions in which as a binder the olive polymerizing after application on a surface is used less and less. This is primarily due to the emergence of new, and more progressive types of substances.

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