How To Paint Wood

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you already know that shiplap is a big trend in home design. Everyone is adding this style of the wall to their home updates and renovations.

Why? Because it looks great, doesn’t cost much, and can be made by any homeowner with a little bit of craftiness.

You’ve probably seen the shiplap style on Home & Garden TV shows, and you may be ready to try it in your own home.

Here are some painting tips for shiplap so you can join the trend and post a fun before-and-after picture on Instagram with the hashtag #shiplap.

How do I know what kind of paint to use on shiplap?

Before you start painting, you need to know what kind of paint works best on a wall with a shiplap look. For best results with wood shiplap, use a paint-and-primer-in-one that is water-based. This saves you time and money because you’ll only need to buy one product instead of paint and a separate primer. Plus, an all-in-one paint product has better coverage, so you’ll need fewer coats.

You will also need to choose the right paint sheen for the style you want, but don’t forget to think about how it will work. Shiplap looks great with a flat (or matte) sheen, but it can be hard to clean.

If the shiplap will be in a high-traffic area like the kitchen or dining room, it will be easier to clean if it has a semi-gloss sheen. You could also choose a sheen that is somewhere in the middle, like satin or eggshell, which will look more matte but still be easy to clean

Advice on how to paint shiplap

Here are some suggestions:

  1. If you are putting up a new shiplap, paint it before you put it up. Before the shiplap is put up on the wall, it will be much easier to paint the edges.
  2. If the shiplap is made of engineered wood (MDF or medium density fiberboard) instead of real wood, seal it with an oil-based primer before applying water-based paint in a Urethane Enamel to make the finish hard. Try not to use latex paint on your walls. This way, the water-based paint won’t hurt the MDF, which is sensitive to water. The shiplap boards will also be protected from water and humidity by a separate coat of oil-based primer.
  3. Before you paint, don’t forget to use spackles or caulk to fill in any nail holes or gaps in the shiplap. If you painted the shiplap before you put it up, fill in any holes and gaps and then touch up the paint in these areas.
  4. If the shiplap was already up, paint it like a wall (with a roller and a brush), making sure to use a small brush to fill in the gaps and grooves in the shiplap.

Seven Steps to Painting Shiplap

Here are the things you will need for your shiplap painting project:

  • Cloth or plastic drop cloth
  • Choice of paint
  • Sandpaper and palm sander
  • Brush, roller, and tray for paint
  • Spackle
  • Paintable caulk


  1. Cover the floor and the area around it to keep paint from getting on them.
  2. Use sandpaper or a palm sander to smooth the shiplap boards, then wipe away any sawdust that is left.
  3. If you are using a separate primer product, put it on before the paint and let it dry completely. If you use paint and primer in one, you don’t have to do this step.
  4. If you can, paint the first coat with a paintbrush or roller before you put the boards on the wall. If you want to know how to paint shiplap grooves, you’ll find that using a small paintbrush makes it easier to get into those hard-to-reach spots.
  5. If the shiplap is already up, clean the nail holes and fill them with caulk or spackle that can be painted.
  6. When the caulk or spackle is dry, lightly sand the area.
  7. Apply a final coat of paint by rolling it on or brushing it on. Use the small paintbrush to make sure all the nail holes and grooves are covered.

Choose the experts at Bergen Rockland Painters to paint your shiplap

Would you rather have a professional who knows what they are doing paint the shiplap for you? Even though we don’t put up shiplap, the Bergen Rockland Painters near you can paint it. You’ll spend less time and still get what you want. Call (973) 846-5552 or go online today to make an appointment.