Tips for Using Water-based Paint on Woodwork

Updated May 3, 2024 | Posted Feb 27, 2019 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 0 comments

With legislation restricting the chemicals manufacturers are allowed to use in oil based paints and the development of better and better water-based alternatives, a lot of people are making the switch.

The problem is, water-based trim paint is a completely different animal and requires different techniques in order to achieve the desired finish. Even professional decorators can struggle at times. So ProDec have teamed up with Decorators Forum UK to ask the professionals to share their hints and tips for applying water-based paints. This is what they came back with…

Make sure you adhere to drying times when using water-based paint on woodwork. Even if your coat of paint feels touch-dry, it may not be fully cured. By applying another coat of paint too soon, you could ruin your finish. Paint can peel, so you’re back to square 1.

The biggest tip I can share for using water-based paint is to use a good product. Water-based technology has come a long way, but going cheap is like taking a step backwards.

If you do have a tight budget, then WRX satin is great value and performs well. You can apply it directly to old oil-based paint without the need for a separate primer. It looks fantastic too.

If you do have the budget, then Benjamin Moore Scuff X is easily the best water-based satinwood on the market. It flies on, looks amazing and seems to last forever. This is a step-up from anything else out there.

The best water-based gloss is Teknos Futura 90, which is a hybrid (mostly water-based, but contains a little bit of oil). The ease of use and sheen level are spot on, but make sure you use the correct undercoat/primer.

Keep a bucket of water handy for spinning your brush out, keeps the paint flowing with no dragging.

Using suitable tools will help when applying water-based paint. I know it’s ProDec asking the question, but they do make some great gear. Their Ice Fusion holds loads of paint and lays off well. Plus, you can get it on Amazon. Ice Fusion Rollers are pretty good too.

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Keep your brush wet. Run it under a tap before you start, then spin it out in a bucket of water every hour or so. This will help keep the paint flowing nicely.

Something else you could do is wipe all surfaces down with a damp cloth just before you paint them. This way your paint won’t drag, it will be easier to apply and you’ll even cut down on the brush marks.

Always use a synthetic brush.

Use a full system. If you are applying water based over old oil, you may need an adhesion primer first. Read the instructions on your paint before you start.

Decorator's forum UK

I always give a light sponge of water to surfaces before applying topcoat and try not to over work the paint. apply the product, then move on.

Decorator's forum UK

Wipe down the surface with a damp cloth before painting. It will give you a longer open edge time.

Decorator's forum UK

Spray your brush gently every now and again with a hand sprayer filled with water.

Decorator's forum UK

LLL – lash on, lay off, leave alone

Decorator's forum UK

Really light rub down before the final coat. Then damp of cloth over the area will help get better coverage on large flat areas like doors an sills.

Decorator's forum UK

Thin it down with Floetrol or water to get a flatter finish

Decorator's forum UK

Dampen the surface first before applying the paint. Either with a spray or damp sponge.

Decorator's forum UK

Damp brush before you start. Another tip for water-based paint is to always use a synthetic brush.

Decorator's forum UK

Get it on quick and do not go back. If you mess about to much you’ll ruin your paint finish. water-based paint can be tricky

Decorator's forum UK

Don’t unless you absolutely have to, terrible stuff

Decorator's forum UK

Put plenty on

Decorator's forum UK

It helps to wipe the area being painted with a damp cloth, and wash your brush out every 2/3 hrs, damp brush also work a treat.

Decorator's forum UK

Sand smooth filling any holes or cracks apply a good bodied undercoat. Then finish it off with quick dry Armstead satin or gloss with a Purdy or Hamilton brush to give it that perfect finish.

 

Tips Using Waterbased Paint on Woodwork

Decorator's forum UK

Always use a good brush. And clean them after use

Decorator's forum UK

Short strokes and make debris free

Decorator's forum UK

Wet brush first

Decorator's forum UK

It’s all in the undercoat, ensure you apply a good w/B undercoat giving a better finish on your final topcoat. Use a good synthetic brush

Decorator's forum UK

Work fast, small drop of water through the paint

Decorator's forum UK

 Good sand and apply a good adhesion primer first. Once dry 240 grade in-between coats. Add Xim or Floetrol to the water based product.

Decorator's forum UK

Use a tack rag followed by a damp cloth and using a good brush it will be perfect.

Decorator's forum UK

Dustless sander trim first.

Decorator's forum UK

Sand down nicely and for the best results apply by a roller and laying off brush. Apply paint with a ProDec Prestige medium pile roller.

Decorator's forum UK

If brushing, keep some water close by for intermittent cleaning of brush and brush resting place.

Decorator's forum UK

Don’t! Always stick with oil based

Decorator's forum UK

Get it on quick and lay it off quick, don’t go back to it while it’s drying ad it will pull

Decorator's forum UK

Use a finely tipped synthetic brush

Decorator's forum UK

Keep a kettle of cold water with you to dip your brush from time to time.

Decorator's forum UK

If it’s a hot day and the surfaces you are to paint are in direct sunlight,(e.g. window sills) cover surfaces with a dust sheet in the morning. This keeps the surfaces cool and helps to prevent drag.👍

Decorator's forum UK

Make sure you flat off the surface between coats

Decorator's forum UK

Same prep as always, but if you use a slightly damp rag and wipe all areas to be painted prior to, you will have more time to brush out.

Decorator's forum UK

Tack cloth, then damp sponge ahead for better flow of paint.

Decorator's forum UK

I would use bin 123 two coats then two coats of gloss

Decorator's forum UK

Wipe surface with a damp cloth before painting or dampen brush. And don’t overwork the area just get it on decent and leave it

Decorator's forum UK

Use the appropriate brush for the appropriate paint

Decorator's forum UK

Wash out your brushes regularly and start with a damp brush

Decorator's forum UK

EITHER SPRAY IT OR USE A DECENT BRUSH

Decorator's forum UK

Well a decent brush is a must, such as ProDec ones! Keep a pot of water to slightly dip brush in every now and then to keep the flow of paint smooth as w/b can get bit thick and or clog brush.

Decorator's forum UK

Slightly wet your brush before use and clean it regularly during use.

Decorator's forum UK

Wipe over your woodwork with a damp cloth first. It helps the water-based paint to flow. Keep your brush wet too.

Decorator's forum UK

Slightly dampen the surface prior to painting. Use a brush that holds its shape, holds a good amount of paint and evenly applies the product. Preferably a brush with filaments that aren’t tapered.

Decorator's forum UK

Always give the surface a good key, particularly previously painted surfaces. Use the correct Undercoat. Most water based paints are a two part system.

Clean your brush regularly throughout the day when it begins to clog it only takes a couple of minutes and you will get a better finish . Expect to apply 4 coats, at least 2 of the top coat. Advise that the paint will take a week to fully cure. Carpets shouldn’t go down before this time. Not practical, but keeps you covered

Decorator's forum UK

Dampen the surface before applying the paint. Keep everything wet. Water is your friend.

Decorator's forum UK

Firstly, use the best synthetic brush you can get hold of.

If you dampen the surface to be painted this can aid the flow of the paint and keep an open edge.

Decorator's forum UK

Use a 4inch Two Fussy Blokes 5mm sleeve. No need to lay off perfect finish every time.

 

Tips for using waterbased paint on woodwork

Decorator's forum UK

Dampen the wood before applying the paint and work quickly, best I can do sorry 😉

Decorator's forum UK

When using both don’t drag it out too much as brush strokes will appear. Put plenty of paint on your brush.

Decorator's forum UK

Just slap it on. Never over-work water-based paint, or you’ll make it worse.

Decorator's forum UK

On large areas, slightly dampen the surface first and always use the recommend undercoat.

Decorator's forum UK

Always keep the brush wet, spray a mist of water on the surface if necessary but most importantly of all using the right brush is key.

Decorator's forum UK

Spray a fine mist of water before applying your paint.

Decorator's forum UK

Don’t play around with it too much and don’t go over bits when it’s drying .. add some water or additive to help it flow and keep a wet edge

 

Tips for using waterbased paint on woodwork

Decorator's forum UK

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Updated May 3, 2024 | Posted Feb 27, 2019 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.
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