Can You Paint Woodwork Without Sanding?

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Jacky C

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Find out if you can paint woodwork without sanding – a step by step guide.

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Woodwork is one of the most important aspects of any home. It can add character and charm, and it can also be used to protect your home from the elements. But, over time, woodwork can become damaged and stained, and it can be difficult to keep it looking its best.

One way to refresh your woodwork is to paint it. But, before you start painting, you need to prepare the surface by sanding. Sanding smooths out the surface of the wood and gives the paint something to grip onto.

But, what if you don’t want to sand? Is there a way to paint without sanding?

Yes, you can paint woodwork without sanding! But, there are a few things you need to do first.

What is the best way to paint woodwork without sanding?

Use a paint stripper

Paint strippers are one of the best ways to paint woodwork without sanding. They are readily available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using, and always test in an inconspicuous area first.

Use a heat gun

If you want to avoid sanding altogether when painting woodwork, you can use a heat gun instead. This isn’t the best option for large projects, but it can work well for small ones.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Heat the area you want to paint with the heat gun.
2. Apply a layer of paint stripper with a brush.
3. Wait for the stripper to loosen the paint (this will usually take around 15 minutes).
4. Scrape off the loosened paint with a putty knife or other scraper.
5. Wipe away any residue with a clean cloth.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 if necessary.
7. Once the area is free of paint, apply a primer and then your top coat of paint.

Use a sander

No, you don’t have to sand woodwork before painting it, but doing so will help the paint to adhere better and give you a smoother finish. If you choose not to sand, be sure to use a primer designed for use on bare wood. Some latex paints can also be used without sanding, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions first.

How to prepare the woodwork for painting

One of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks when completing a paint job is the sanding. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to miss a spot and have to go back over it, which can add hours to the job.

Remove old paint

The first step is to remove any existing paint, varnish or stain from the woodwork. If the existing finish is in good condition, you may be able to simply sand it lightly with fine-grit sandpaper and then wipe it clean. Otherwise, you’ll need to strip it off with a paint stripper.

Clean the surface

The first step is to clean the surface you plan to paint. New woodwork is often coated with a thin layer of varnish or lacquer that needs to be removed before painting. You can do this with a chemical stripper or by sanding. If you decide to use a stripper, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear the appropriate protective gear.

Once the finish has been removed, you’ll need to sand the surface to create a smooth finish. If you’re painting new wood, start with a medium-grit paper and progressing to a fine-grit paper. If you’re painting over an existing paint job, you’ll only need to sand enough to create a smooth surface.

After sanding, remove all the dust from the surface using a vacuum or damp cloth. You don’t want any dust in your paint!

Sand the surface

Sand the surface thoroughly with medium-grade sandpaper to remove any glossy surfaces, nicks or rough spots. Wipe the woodwork clean with a tack cloth to remove all the dust.

How to paint the woodwork

You don’t need to sand the woodwork before you paint it. You can just use a primer and paint it.

Choose the right paint

Picking the right paint depends on the condition of the woodwork. If it’s in good condition, you can use a lower-sheen paint, such as an eggshell or semi-gloss. These finishes are easier to clean than flat paints, so they’re a good choice for areas that get a lot of use, such as kitchens and bathrooms. If the woodwork is in poor condition, use a high-gloss paint. High-gloss paints are more durable and easier to clean than lower-sheen paints, so they’re a good choice for areas that get a lot of wear and tear.

Apply the paint

Use a good-quality paintbrush or roller, and if you’re cutting in around the edges with a brush, use one that’s big enough to avoid going over the same area too many times.

Paint all the vertical surfaces first, then move on to the ceiling and any horizontal surfaces.
Work in methodical strips, starting at the top of each surface and gradually working your way down.
Don’t forget to paint the skirting boards, door frames, architraves and any other woodwork.

It’s best to use Dulux Trade Quick Dry Wood Primer & Undercoat for a number of reasons: it gives excellent coverage, it dries quickly so subsequent coats can be applied sooner, helping you to finish the job in a shorter time, and it provides a good ‘key’ for the topcoat of paint to grip to.


So, can you paint woodwork without sanding? The short answer is yes! If you use the right kind of paint and follow the painting tips we outlined above, you can skip the sanding step altogether. Just make sure to take your time with the prep work and focus on getting a smooth, even coat of paint.

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