7 Best Paint for Plywood in 2021

Among all the types of wood, most of the DIY projects generally involves the use of plywood. Most tend to choose this over the rest of the types because of the decorative nature.

However, the plywood's natural look might not be enough to make a project shine the most. Well, that is where the paints for plywoods come into play.

Coating the surface with the best paint for plywood will not only enable you to get the best possible outlooks but also will allow you to make the natural grains of the wood stand out a bit more.

Many of them will also enable you to pop the natural color of the wood a bit more. As a result, your project will look unique, and most importantly, it will look aesthetically pleasing.

Do I Need to Prime Plywood Before Painting?

Yes, it is recommended to prime the surface before applying a coating of the paint. The primer will play two significant roles. First, it will cover up the imperfections that might be on the surface. That includes the mill marks and other scratches or blemishes that might be on the wood.

Secondly, it will seal the surface properly. In other words, it will prevent the coating from soaking deeper into the pores. As a result, the layers of the coat are going to even and will look good. For these two reasons, you should apply a primer before applying the coat of paint.

7 Best Paint for Plywood Reviews

Even though there are plenty of paints on the market, not all of them are really suitable for plywood. And some of them that are suitable for this type of wood might not be able to offer that much of a profound look to the exterior.

However, these are the ones that we believe will provide you with the look that you were shooting for:

1. KILZ TRI INT GL MATM TB-54

KILZ TRI INT GL MATM TB-54

On the search for something that can offer you a subtle and flat finish? Want something that can resist dirt and makes the cleaning process easier? Then KILZ has got the right thing for you.

To start with, the formula that it implements contains a considerably low amount of VOC. Because of having a low percentage of VOC, it will be able to comply with the laws of most of the states. Also, the odor of the formula is reasonably low, thanks to the low amount of VOC that the unit has.

Aside from that, the finish that you are going to get will be matte. This matte finish will offer you a subtle and flat finish, which not all of the units can offer. Also, the finish has a high capability of resisting dirt, which will keep the exterior clean.

Other than that, the hide and the coverage amount of the formula is highly praiseworthy. One gallon of this can cover up to 400 square feet area. That means you would not require that much amount to finish off your project. And on the note of quantity, you can choose the one gallon, five gallons, or the eight ounces tub.

And you can easily scrub the film away from the exterior because of the nature of the finish. Besides that, the unit is highly capable of resisting mildew and molds.

Pros

  • Overall quantity of VOC is reasonably minimal
  • Offers a flat and subtle finish
  • Available in three different sizes
  • Amount of odor is comparatively low
  • Sports a high coverage capability

Cons

  • Viscosity of the unit is reasonably thin
  • Some of the units might have flecks of dried paints

2. Rust-Oleum 1976730

Rust-Oleum 1976730

When it comes to finding the right paint for your wooden surfaces, having multiple color options is a must. And that is exactly what this unit from Rust-Oleum is going to offer you.

First of all, it is available in two different sizes. Depending on the size of your project, you will be able to choose one from a quart or half-pint. Moreover, the number of color options that you will be able to choose from is twenty-six. And the finish options are glossy, sating, and metallic.

Aside from the options that it has to offer, the formula that it implements is water-based. Because of that nature, it has a considerably low amount of odor. In fact, the odor amount is lower than most of the other units that are out there. And the odor that it does have fades away pretty quickly.

Also, the formula can resist chipping. As a result, the finish that you are going to get will be long-lasting. And it does not take that long to dry up as well. It will dry to the touch in just thirty minutes. So you would not have to wait that long to use your wooden workpiece after applying this on the exterior.

Other than that, the flat finish that it is capable of providing will hide the imperfections that might be on the exterior. So even if there are blemishes on the exterior, you are sure to get a look that will be truly mesmerizing.

Pros

  • There are two different sizes available
  • Available in twenty-six color options
  • Comes in three different finish options
  • Low amount of odor
  • Implements a water-based formula

Cons

  • Does not cover that amount of surface area
  • Some of the color labels are a bit misleading

3. KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Eggshell TB-97

KILZ TRIBUTE Interior Eggshell TB-97

The manufacturer KILZ has to offer plenty of well-performing paints for plywoods. And this one that we are going to describe is one of them.

Like the other units that KILZ has to offer, this one also contains a considerably low VOC amount. Instead of using chemicals, the formula is 100 percent acrylic, which keeps the odor to a minimal amount. Also, that low amount of VOC makes it comply with the laws of different states, making it ideal for most of the DIY projects.

Other than the formula, the finish that this particular unit offers is eggshell. The surface will have a bit of a velvety look to it, making your projects look elegant and sophisticated.

Also, it has a superior capability of hiding imperfections. So even if the exterior has a lot of blemishes, the outlooks of the wood will not have that much of an impact because of them.

Besides that,  the formula has a special capability of providing higher coverage. One gallon of this can cover about 400 square feet of surface area. Also, it is capable of resisting dirt and debris. It also creates a scrubbable layer, which will allow you to easily keep the exterior clean. Thus, you can also use this as a substitute for the best floor paint for wood products.

Lastly, it can resist mildew and inhibit the growth of molds exceptionally well. So you are basically going to get a finish that will last for an extended amount of time.

Pros

  • Offers a velvety look to the exterior
  • Resists dirt and debris
  • Creates a scrubbable layer
  • Amount of VOC is reasonably low
  • Can cover comparatively more surface area

Cons

  • Container is prone to leaking
  • Some of the units have a bit of off-color than what is stated

4. Krylon K05150207 ColorMaster

Krylon K05150207 ColorMaster

Do you not want to go through the hassle of priming the surface before applying the coat of paint? Well, Krylon has got a solution for you.

Unlike some of the other units, this one combines the paint and the primer in one package. That means there would be no need to apply a primer coat before you put the color coating on the surface.

This unit will do the work of both, which will not only save your time but also will save you from the hassles of applying primer separately on the exterior.

Apart from that, you will have the freedom to choose from seven different finishes. You can choose metallic, flat, gloss, matte, satin, semi-flat, or semi-gloss finish. That means you are not really limited to one option, which most of the brands will limit you with.

Aside from the options, it takes a considerably short amount of time to dry up. It will dry up within ten minutes. You will not have to wait for half an hour like the others. Also, there are a plethora of color options. You can choose any of the 30+ options that it has to offer. So you are not limited to the color options either.

Lastly, the formula that it utilizes implements Covermax technology. That makes it achieve high coverage and allows it to offer brilliant colors.

Pros

  • Combines primer and paint
  • Dries up within 10 minutes
  • Seven different finish options available
  • Comes in a plethora of color options
  • Utilizes Covermax technology 

Cons

  • Nozzle of the spray can leaks
  • Tends to spit a little during spraying

5. Rust-Oleum 302591

Rust-Oleum 302591

Many prefer the look that chalked paints offer. If you are one of those, then you were probably looking for something that can offer you that finish. Well, Rust-Oleum has got the thing that you were looking for all this time.

To start with, it implements a unique oil-based formula. That enables it to offer a superior hide along with a timeless look to the surface. You will be able to get the chalked finish, which not all of the other units can not offer. And in terms of color options, there are twelve of them.  

Also, it comes in a spray can that will make it easier for you to apply the color on surfaces. That means you are not going to need any paintbrushes to coat the wooden exteriors with this. And the nozzle disperses the color evenly, which will make it easier for you to get an even coating.

Other than that, the adhesion capability of the formula is reasonably high too. Even if the primer you have applied does not work that well, it will not have any trouble staying on the surface. Alongside that, it tasks just twenty minutes to dry up. So you will not have to wait that long either.

Besides that, the can that it comes with contains 12 oz of paint. And one can is enough to cover about 12 square feet surface area.

Pros

  • Utilizes an oil-based formula
  • Provides an elegant chalk finish
  • Takes 20 minutes to dry up
  • Comes in an easy-to-apply spray can
  • Plenty of color options available

Cons

  • Not ideal for large-sized projects
  • Colors are not as vibrant as advertised

6. Nuvo Driftwood Makeover Kit

Nuvo Driftwood Makeover Kit

The units that implement a water-based formula are the ones that tend to have a substantially low amount of odor to them. And this one from Nuvo is a perfect example of that.

As we mentioned above, it implements a water-based formula that has a reasonably low amount of VOC. The unit's primary ingredient is acrylic, which is known to have a comparatively low amount of odor. For that reason, the wooden structures that you are going to cover this with will not have any pesky smell to them.

Other than the formula, the kit contains everything you will need to carry out the painting process. Alongside the paint containers, you will receive one roller arm, two roller covers, one brush, and two stir sticks. That means you are not going to have to purchase anything extra after getting this kit.

Also, the containers that the kit contains are 31 oz in size. You will receive two of them. And each of them covers about 100 square feet area. That amount of paint is more than enough to finish coating on multiple wooden projects. And it does not require any priming because the formula has primer induced in it.

Besides that, you will not even have to strip off the color that your wooden structure might have. It is formulated to cover most of the existing coatings. That will make your coating tasks effortless.

Pros

  • Has a low amount of odor
  • Kit contains all the necessary equipment
  • Does not require any stripping or priming
  • Features a water-based formula
  • One tub is capable of covering 100 square feet of surface area

Cons

  • Only one color option available
  • Paint is reasonably thin

7. Shabby Chic Chalk Based

Shabby Chic Chalk Based

Another worthy pick would be this one that is from Shabby Chic if you are looking for something that can offer you a chalk finish on the exterior. And this one comes in different size options too.

To start with, it implements a formula that will offer you a blend of chalk and matte finish. And the formula is water-based, which means it will have a significantly low amount of toxic ingredients in it. You will not have to worry about it producing that much odor when you are going to apply this on the surfaces of the wooden structures.

Alongside that, it comes in two different size options. Depending on the amount that you need, you can choose the one liter or the 250 milliliters option. Also, the formula that it implements does not require any sort of primer or undercoat.

So you do not need to go through the hassles of taking preparation before applying this on the exteriors.

Other than that, there are a total of eleven different colors. Each of the options utilizes rich color pigments, which will provide you a vibrant and elegant outlook. That will make it easier for you to refurbish the old plywood furniture you might already have in your home.

Lastly, the formula does not require that amount of time to dry too. That means you will not have to wait that long to start using the wooden structure after you apply this on the exterior.

Pros

  • Utilizes rich color pigments
  • There are eleven different color options available
  • Implements water-based formula
  • Two size options available
  • Does not require any primer or undercoating

Cons

  • Some of the colors are not described
  • Sealing of the container is not that strong

What to Look for Before Buying

Before you decide to spend your valuable money on any of the units, you need to keep some essential factors in mind. By keeping those in mind, you will be sure to end up with something that will offer you the looks and the finish you were shooting for.  The factors are:

Formula

First and foremost, you need to consider the type of formula that the unit adopted. Most of the ones will implement a water-based formula, which is the one we would recommend you to opt for.

Those will have a significantly low amount of VOC, which will result in a lower amount of odor. As a result, you will not have to keep your painted structure outdoors just to make the smell fade away.

On the other hand, if you opt for something with a reasonably high amount of VOC, you will have to deal with a lot of odor. Besides that, they are not safe for the skin and pets as well. So you should put a higher emphasis on the formula.

Finish and Color

The finish of the colors will vary from one to another. And the finish plays an important factor in getting the looks that you were basically shooting for. So you must factor in the finish before opting a paint.

Paint for Plywood

Alongside that, you need to consider the color too. If you were looking for something bright, we would suggest opting for the ones with rich color pigments. Those will be able to offer you a beautiful and vibrant look at the wooden structures.

Drying Time

You would not want to spend hours after hours waiting for the coating to dry up, would you? For that reason, you need to factor in the drying time of the formula as well.

Most of the units will take about twenty to thirty minutes. However, many will dry up in just ten minutes. So if you want something that will dry up almost instantly, you need to shoot for those.

Coverage

The coverage is an important factor of the paints. If you do not want to spend loads of money on covering the plywood structures with paint, you must shoot for the ones that have high coverage. With those, you will be able to cover a lot of surface area using a little amount of paint, which will allow you to save a couple of bucks.

What Kind of Paint Is the Best for Painting Plywood?

The type of paint will mainly depend on the formula that it implements. Considering that, there are two types of paint. One is water-based, and the other is oil-based. And within these kinds, there are a few different categories. Those categories will mainly depend on the element that the formula is using as a primary ingredient.

If you do not really have that much of a painting experience and do not want to go through any intricated processes, you should go for the ones that use acrylic-latex and are water-based. Those are easier to work with, and you can easily get an even coating using those.

Painting Plywood

On the other hand, if you have a bit of experience and are familiar with complex viscosity, we would recommend going for epoxy ones. Even though they are not that easy to work with, the finish you are going to get will be durable. Also, epoxy colors tend to be a bit vibrant, which will let your furniture stick out a bit.

Nevertheless, no matter how good of paint you get, do make sure that you have a good paintbrush. Without that, no matter how good of a paint you get, you will not get the looks you were looking for.

Also, it will be quite hard for you to get an even coating on the surface. For that reason, you should prioritize getting a good brush too.

How to Paint Plywood to Get a Good Finish?

Just like any other wood, if you really want to good finish on plywood, you will have to make some preparation and that may even lead up to the use of wood chisels. And even if the paint you got states that it does not require any preparation, you will not get the best possible outlooks without it. That being said, the steps you will need to follow to prepare the surface is as follows:

How to Paint Plywood

Step-1: Clean the Surface

First, you need to clean the exterior properly. Clean any sort of dust and debris that might be on the top using a mild cleaning solution. Make sure that you do not use anything harsh, or else you will put scratches on it. Also, do ensure that you do not use any abrasive cloth. That will also put scratches on the top.

Step-2: Sand the Surface

Now that you have cleaned the surface, you will have to start the sanding process. You can use a sanding block or an electric oscillation sander if available. Start with the lower grit papers, such as 80 grit. Progressively switch to 120 grits and finish the process using a 220 grit paper.

Step-3: Clean the Surface Again

After finishing off the sanding process, you need to get rid of the debris on the top of the exterior again. Use a dry cloth this time to clean the exterior.

Step-4: Apply Primer

Now, you should apply an even coating of primer. Make sure that you cover each of the surface areas. Once the primer dries, use a 220 grit paper and make the surface smooth again. Make sure not to peel the primer.

Step-5: Coat the Surface with Paint

After all of that, the surface will be ready to receive your desired paint. Use a good brush or a roller to apply the paint and let it dry properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to seal the wood before painting?

Plywood generally has a lot of end grains on the edges. And the color coating is not really enough to seal those grains. For that reason, it is recommended to seal the surface before you apply the color coating on the top.

2. Can I use acrylic paint on plywood furniture?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on plywood. The water-based ones are generally easy to maneuver, so it would be pretty easy for you to work with them as well.

3. What should I use to waterproof the painted plywood structures?

If you want to waterproof the painted plywood structures, you will have to use a water-based stain. It will put a tint on the surface, which will protect the wood from not only water but also UV rays too.

4. How long does paint last on plywood?

It depends. If we are mainly talking about the structures that remain outdoors, it can last for up to two years. However, if you treat the structure before applying the paint, it can last even longer.

5. Can I use indoor paint for an outdoor plywood structure?

Some of the indoor paints can be used for both indoor and outdoor wooden structures. If you have one of those, you can use it to paint the outdoor structure.

Final Words

We know that there are many other decent looking and easy-to-apply paints for the plywood available in the market. But no matter which one you decide to purchase from our recommendation list, you will end up with the best paint for plywood that your money can buy.

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