How To Paint Wood Furniture

(How to Paint Wood Furniture - Which Wood Paint To Use ) - Author- Andy Potts  January 11th 2022 (reading time 2 mins)


How to Paint Wood Furniture - Which Wood Paint To Use

Wood coatings have many boxes to tick to live up to the expectations of professional joiners, architects and interior designers. They need to provide the right aesthetic appearance and protect the wood from atmospheric conditions, ageing, and chemical and physical stress.

But with so many wood finishing products on the market, which one is right for your job? Here’s a quick run-through of the types of coating that you’re likely to need in a professional setting and when you would use each product.


1. Acid Catalysed Coatings on Wood

Acid-catalyst, or AC lacquers, are two-pack products that are easy to apply, quick-drying and extremely hard-wearing. In fact, they outperform pre-catalysed off-the-shelf products when it comes to hardness and durability.

AC lacquers are typically used for wood interiors, furniture and high-use areas that require a good level of resistance to abrasion, heat and chemicals.

They are available as a clear lacquer or coloured coating in a range of gloss levels.


2. Acrylic Lacquers Used as a Wood Paint

Acrylic lacquers are transparent, durable and scratch-resistant lacquers that resist yellowing. They can be used on any colour wood but are particularly suited to bleached timber, natural briars and pale-coloured timber as they will preserve the natural colour of the wood.

Acrylic lacquer comes in a range of gloss levels.

View Acryclic lacquers >

3. Fire Retardant Coatings including Class 0

Fire-retardant coating systems achieve Class 1 or Class 0 fire ratings while retaining the visual appearance of standard premium wood coatings.

They’re designed to be applied to panelling or furniture in interior applications that require fire-retardant properties for insurance or building regulations approval.

Fire retardant coatings are suited to domestic and commercial settings and are available as clear lacquer and coloured coatings in various finishes.

wood paint


Watch the video breaking down Wood Paint.


4.Polyester Wood Paints For Closed-Pore Finishes

Polyester basecoats achieve a fast, fully closed-pore finish, so they’re ideal for timbers with deep and absorbent pores and are highly susceptible to strong air release. Think elm, zebrawood, rotary-cut mahogany veneer, briar and even MDF - the types of material that are typically used for car and boat interiors, pianos and sometimes furniture where a high gloss finish is required.

Polyesters come in the form of a clear or white basecoat that can be over-coated with a polyurethane or acrylic topcoat to achieve a gloss, satin or matt finish.

5. Pre-Catalysed Wood Paint Finish

Pre-catalysed coatings, or pre-cat coatings, are easy to use, durable one-component lacquer systems that contain a hardening agent.

Pre-cats are well-suited to indoor cabinetry and furniture. They’re available as clear lacquer and coloured coatings in any finish.

View Pre-Cat Wood Paints>


6. Water Based Exterior Joinery Coatings

wood paint

Water-based exterior joinery coatings are quick-drying single-pack coatings with excellent elasticity, durability and resistance to water and UV. They’re much safer for the environment and the user than solvent-based equivalents.

Water-based exterior wood coatings are designed to be used on hardwood and softwood structures that are exposed to outdoor environments, such as conservatories, doors, windows.

Products come in a range of gloss levels in clear, tintable and solid non-blocking colours.


7. Water based Interior Joinery Paint

High-performance water-based interior wood coatings offer the same appearance and smoothness as solvent-based products but are much safer for the environment and the user. Use them for interior furniture, woodwork and cabinetry.

As with 2-pack alternatives, water-based wood coatings are available in a wide range of colours and finishes.


8. Wood Stains and Dyes

wood paint

Stains and dyes change the colour of timber while allowing the natural grain to show through. Dyes are purely decorative coatings that do not offer any form of protection, whereas stain products can be purely decorative or can possess protective and preservative properties.


Varying Results Means Get Advice

As with all types of coating, wood coating products vary considerably in quality, so we’ve added links to our favourite high-performance products at the bottom of the transcript below.

If you’re not sure which product to choose, give our friendly technical team a shout.



Acid-catalysed coatings:

Acrylic lacquers:

Fire-retardant coating systems:

Polyester basecoats:


Pre-catalysed coatings:

Water-based exterior coatings:

Water-based interior coatings:

Wood stains and dyes:

Need More Help With Wood Paint Selection?

Why not get some help from our business specialists at Ultrimax who can advise on wood paint options for your business.

If you can’t find a fix for the issue you’re experiencing or you need more advice, drop us a line and we’ll get your paint shop on track.

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