Stained oak wainscoting doesn’t suit everyone’s preferences, however applying a few coats of paint above it will lead to a streaky, discolored mess. While classified as a hardwood, oak is also open-grain, meaning it’s visible pores. This gives oak plenty of personality, but also means it does not absorb paint evenly. When you take the time to prepare your wainscoting carefully, you make certain that if you do visit paint it, then you are going to end up with a smooth, professional finish.
Tape round the wainscoting with painter’s tape. Put plastic sheeting on the ground and secure it just beneath the bottom trim. Open doors and windows if possible to maintain good ventilation.
Mix a couple of tablespoons of mild detergent in a bucket of warm water. Wash the wainscoting, removing some grease or dust, then rinse with a clean rag. Don’t oversaturate the wood. Permit the wainscoting dry completely.
Brush a liquid deglosser on a small section of the wainscoting and then wipe away the excess with a clean rag. Work your way throughout the wall. Always follow manufacturer instructions with regard to how long to let the deglosser sit; however, don’t let the product dry on the wall. Working in tiny sections allows you to control just how long the product has to get the job done. If the oak is not overly shiny, skip this step.
Sand in the direction of the grain with a 100-grit sanding block. Going against the grain tears the wood, leading to an uneven paint job. While a sanding machine could be tempting, they are not as successful as hand sanding on oak. When you’re done, then vacuum up the dust on the wainscoting and ground. Use tack cloths to get into any hard-to-reach places or to get a last wipe-down. This prevents dust from getting stuck in the merchandise you apply later.
Apply clear, water-based grain filler to the wainscoting, sealing the pores of the pine. Working in tiny sections, brush to the product against the grain first and then with the grain to get the last pass. Wipe away the excess with a lint-free rag when indicated from the producer. Specific application excels by producers, so always follow the instructions on the grain filler packaging.
Sand the wainscoting lightly with 180-grit sandpaper after the filler has cured in accordance with the manufacturer instructions, typically overnight. Even if the grain binder says that it is self-leveling, a light sanding is essential to get a smooth finish. Vacuum the wainscoting down to remove dust.
Inspect the wainscoting. In case any nail holes are visible, then fill them with wood filler or paintable caulk. Let the merchandise dry, lightly sand it level with the surrounding region and wipe down the area with a tack cloth.
Implement stain-blocking, water-based primer to conceal the stain color and prep the wainscoting. If you’re going from a very dark stain to a mild paint color, have your paint specialist tint the primer to coordinate with your desired paint color. Let the primer dry completely. If the oak wainscoting color is still quite visible, apply a second coat and let it dry.
Apply two to three thin coats of a paint color of your own choice. Let each coat dry before you apply the next one. This prevents peeling and bubbles, giving you the smoothest finish. Eliminate the painter’s tape and then drop cloths directly after you apply the previous coat.