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Can You/Should You Paint Over Plywood Doors/Walls/Ceiling? (How To)

While the look of plywood may not be that pretty, a good sealer or varnish can improve the look of any plywood finish.

A good quality acrylic paint will be suitable paint for plywood.

Any plywood that’s located in an area that either receives a lot of traffic or is exposed to moisture should be sealed and painted. This prolongs its life and prevents water from entering the fibers and creating mold and other problems. Fill in any defects and then sand them to provide a flat surface.

Different types of plywood are suitable for different applications. The harder, more durable plywood is made out of Beech Maple, Oak, and Mahogany. These provide a more water-resistant and durable surface on which to paint.

Painting supplies on top of sheet of plywood

You will still need to sand the surface before priming it. Any irregularities must be filled in and then sanded to provide a suitable surface for painting.

Cheaper plywood is made from softer woods such as pine and spruce. These plywood boards are more likely to have voids and imperfections. Preparing the surface of these will take longer and take more filling time.

You’ll have to sand them back to a suitable finish in readiness for painting. Sealing these softer woods is critical if you are to avoid moisture getting into the wood.

While the best paint to use on plywood is acrylic latex paint, many other types of paint work almost as well.

Acrylic paints are easy to use, they’re water-based and more flexible than enamel paint.

You can use semi-gloss or gloss paint on the door or walls, as it is harder wearing than a satin finish. If you want to use a satin finish, then a topcoat is usually required to avoid chipping and scratches.

Can You Paint Over Plywood Doors?

Shed door locked withe Master Lock

Not only is it a good idea to paint over wooden doors, it is almost essential if you want the door to last.

This is especially true if the door opens to the outside of a building or if there is a lot of moisture in the air.

You can paint over plywood doors with acrylic or enamel paint. Depending on what the doors will be used for, it may be worthwhile sealing the door first before painting it. If water gets into the wood, it will make the paint peel and the door will start to disintegrate.

Before painting a plywood door, you should fill any holes, knots, or cracks in the plywood-veneer.

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After the door is filled, sand the whole door so that the paint has a good surface to key onto. Avoid painting over imperfections in the wood veneer, as it will show much more clearly on the smooth painted surface.

Rather spend a little extra time filling and sanding the door to achieve a perfectly smooth door as it will greatly improve the finished look.

Can You Paint Over Plywood Walls?

Plywood sheet painted green

Painting plywood walls is not something new.

Paint provides a hard wearing surface that helps to extend the life of plywood walls.

You can paint over plywood walls if you prepare the surface. Use a good quality wood filler and when it dries, sand the surface. This will greatly enhance the look of the wall. It will also help to prevent moisture from getting into the wood. Any moisture will rot the wood and make the paint peel.

Acrylic paint will give you a semi-gloss finish.

If you want a more glossy finish, use oil-based enamel paint. This will require a primer so that the paint has a good surface to adhere to and won’t be absorbed into the plywood.

Any wall that will receive a lot of traffic or is exposed to lots of moisture should get good quality paint, preferably one that will help to shed water more easily. This is where glossy enamel paint performs better than semi-gloss acrylic paint.

Can You Paint Over Plywood Ceiling?

Plywood ceiling with light

While a plywood ceiling won’t have to put up with the wear and tear of a door or wall, it may be a good idea to paint a plywood ceiling if it is exposed to lots of moisture.

You can paint over a plywood ceiling, especially if it has to deal with a large amount of moisture. If the ceiling is located in a steamy bathroom, good quality enamel paint applied over a primer will help to preserve the wood. Use good quality latex paint for the best results.

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It is vital that a ceiling exposed to moisture is correctly prepared. All holes, cracks, and voids must be filled and sanded smoothly. The surface should then be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove all traces of sanding dust.

A good sealer must be applied next.

The primer will provide a barrier so that the paint will not soak into the wood. It will also provide an excellent surface on which to paint. The paint will adhere well to the primer, which will also mean you can use less paint.

Should You Paint Over Plywood Doors/Walls/Ceiling?

Construction with sheets of plywood

Depending on the appearance you are going for, painting plywood doors, walls, and ceilings can be a good idea.

It is best if you apply a coat of paint on any exposed wooden doors, walls, and ceilings. This is especially true if these are going to be exposed to high levels of moisture or traffic. The paint helps the plywood to last longer and is more pleasant to look at.

You can get away with not painting ceilings and walls as they are less exposed to wear and tear.

However, doors should be painted to extend their life and avoid wood chipping and scratching.

What Tools and Preparation Are Needed?

Painting supplies

To paint a plywood surface, you need the tools and materials to prepare the surface and then paint it.

Plywood must be filled and sanded before it can be painted. This requires sandpaper in various grits from 80gr to 220gr. A good quality wood filler in the color of the plywood and a putty knife to apply it. You’ll need paint brushes and rollers together with paint trays and a ladder.

A sanding disk on a pole will also help. You will need to fill the holes and cracks in the plywood and then sand the surface. It helps to have a sanding disk on a pole to sand walls and ceilings without having to get up on the ladder all the time.

If you don’t trust your ability to draw a straight line with a paintbrush, then you‘ll need some masking tape to tape off the working areas.

You’ll also need a drop sheet to avoid getting paint on the floor. A good supply of cloths will help together with a mask or breathing apparatus to avoid breathing in the sanding dust and fumes from the paint.

What Paint Do You Need to Paint Over Plywood Doors, Walls, or Ceilings?

Painting supplies

There are a variety of paints that are suitable for plywood applications.

The best type of paint for plywood is latex paint or quality interior/exterior enamel paint. It is best if a primer is used to seal the wood before applying at least two coats of latex or enamel paint. Many low VOC paints give off no fumes and are safer for the environment.

Before painting plywood, fill all the holes and voids and then sand the surface for a smooth finish.

How To Paint Over Plywood Doors/Walls/Ceiling 

Painter holding paint brush

The process for painting plywood is straightforward.

Prepare your plywood surface by filling in the holes and cracks with a wood filler. Sand it smooth using 80-120gr sandpaper and finish off with 180-220gr. Then wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove all the dust and apply the primer. Allow the primer to dry and then gently sand the surface.

After sanding the primer, apply a layer of paint and allow it to dry. When it is dry, sand it lightly with 220gr sandpaper to smooth the surface.

Wipe the sanding dust away with a damp cloth and then apply the next layer of paint.

When painting doors, remove the door knobs and handles and tape the hinges.

Remove any cover plates on the walls to avoid painting over the electrical fittings.

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