How To Paint Over Varnished Wood And Revive Your Home

Keeping Your San Diego County Home Up To Date With Modern Trends

Can you paint over varnished wood? Yes, you can and it can look amazing. Painting over the varnished wood in your house will update the look and have you wondering if you’re standing in the same room (you are). If you want to transform your home keep reading to learn the 7 steps on how to paint over varnished wood.

7 Steps To Painting Over Varnished Wood

  1. Wash all surfaces with TSP
  2. Sand all surfaces
  3. Wipe off dust
  4. Prime
  5. Wipe surfaces
  6. Caulk all gaps
  7. Paint
How to paint over varnished wood

Ben scratches his head at these somewhat vague instructions.

They do tell him what to do but don’t really give details on how or why they’re even important. He’d at least like to know why each step is necessary for painting varnished wood.

Ben decides to look further down the page to see if he can find more details on these 7 steps.

Breaking Down The Steps

Ben is happy to see that there is more information on these steps. 

1. Wash All Surfaces With TSP

TSP (or trisodium phosphate) is a mild cleanser. Cleaning your walls will help the paint stick better because there won’t be as much dirt, dust, or anything else between it and the wall.

Cleaning with TSP will also help the next step go more smoothly.

2. Fill In Cracks

You don’t want to paint over varnished wood only to have all the cracks and imperfections show up. This step helps prevent that. You can use wood putty to fill in the cracks and a scraper to level it off.

Don’t forget to let it dry!

3. Caulk All Gaps

These gaps are the areas between different parts of the trim or empty areas not caused by damage (unlike the cracks you’ve filled in with wood putty). It also provides a more seamless finish.

4. Sand All Surfaces

This helps even out ridges and uneven parts of the wall. It also gives the wall some grip so the paint has a better surface to stick to.

For best results sand in the direction of the wall’s grain using 120-grit or higher sandpaper

5. Wipe Off Dust

Just like with the first cleaning you don’t want dust getting between the wall and the paint or you’ll soon have a messy wall to repaint (but if that happens at least you’ll know how to paint over varnished wood).

6. Prime

Apply a water-based primer for the best results. This helps seal the bottom layer so nothing shows through and helps the new paint layer stick better. It needs drying time too.

7. Paint Over Varnished Wood

Use water-based paint to paint over varnished wood. You’ll want to do 2 coats minimum, waiting for each coat to dry before applying the next.

Ben’s Ready, Are You?

Ben starts rolling up his sleeves as he prepares for a nice, long day of painting over varnished wood. He can’t wait until he sees the upgraded look that’ll bring his home up to date with house interior trends.

We’d love to read about your painting over varnished wood project in the comments below.