If you have the proper guidance and step-by-step method, learning to paint plywood walls is not very big of an issue.

The real question is whether a plywood wall can be painted to the desired color.

Yes will be the simple answer to this question. However, you must know the technical know-how and the required paint type when painting plywood walls.

For this reason, in the subsequent paragraphs, you will learn the type of paints that can be used to paint plywood walls, the best tools to paint plywood walls, and the specific methods to paint indoor plywood walls and garage plywood walls, respectively.

How to Paint Plywood Walls

Can You Paint Plywood Walls

A conflict always comes to mind when it comes to painting plywood walls.

It is always to choose whether to paint plywood walls or not; the darkish brown or sometimes creamy brown color of the plywood makes one wonder whether he should paint the wall or forget about it.

The good news is that plywood can be painted like any other wood.

The only real work is to ensure that you adequately prepare and get the materials needed for your painting project.

What Paint Can You Use on Plywood Walls

It is here that you must carefully choose the paint and primer you want to you.

The type of primer and paint you choose will unavoidably determine the final result of your project.

You have quite several options to use on plywood walls.

Type of PaintStrengthsWeaknesses
Oil-based PaintIt creates an even painting and gives a smooth finish.It contains a very high level of volatile organic compounds. Some are flammable.
Acrylic-latex PaintIt dries quickly, is less toxic, and can be used to create beautiful images on the wood.Prone to strokes and blemishes when using a brush.
Epoxy PaintIt is highly durable. 

Even though oil-based paint can produce a glossy finish, and epoxy paint lasts longer, the best paint for plywood walls is acrylic-latex paint, which is perfect for the job.

How to Paint Plywood Walls

The first step to getting the best painting job done is by preparing.

Before you begin, you have you get the needed materials.

Items Needed

Paint and Primer
Paint Rollers and Brushes
Paint Sprayer
Wood Filler
Wood Hardener
Putty knife
Paint Stirrer

Paint and Primer

I stated earlier the type of paint and primer you should use.

Paint Rollers and Brushes

You should get quality rollers and brushes, and ensure that the roller and brush you choose are compatible with the type of paint and primer you are working with.

You will need a brush to accompany the roller to cover the edges and corners the roller cannot reach.

Paint Sprayer

If you intend to use a sprayer instead of rollers and brushes, I recommend purchasing an HVLP spray gun.

It is can be used to spray paint your cars and other surfaces, but you need to adjust it properly.

Do ensure you get spray paints if you need to use a sprayer.

Wood Filler and Hardener

If you have installed the plywood wall for a long time, you may need a wood filer and hardener to fill any holes.

Putty Knife

You must purchase a putty knife to apply the wood filler and hardener in the hole.


Using sandpaper is crucial to smoothen the surface.

 After getting these materials, the next step is to observe some safety measures.

Safety Precaution

Wear Overalls and Gloves

This is especially important to prevent the paint any spills or splashing on your skin.

Skin exposure to paint is toxic and can lead to skin irritation.

Wear A Respirator and Safety Goggles

The only thing worse than having paint on your skin is having them in your eyes or inhaling the toxic fumes.

You must wear a respirator and, although optional, safety goggles.

Work in a Ventilated Area

If you are working indoors, open the windows and put on fans to allow for ventilation.

This will additionally ensure your health and safety while painting.

Preparing the Plywood Surface for Painting

Step 1Cover unwanted areas with painter’s tape.
Step 2Fill any hole on the plywood wall.
Step 3Sand the plywood wall.
Step 4Remove the dust on the surface.

Cover with Painter’s Tape

The first preparation step is to cover the area you don’t want to paint with painter’s tape.

You should also consider masking the areas you don’t want dust on with painter’s tape.

However, if you use a sprayer, cover the areas you do not want to spray paint on with plastic sheeting accidentally.

Fill Any Holes

You may have holes in the plywood wall; painting on the plywood wall by filling these holes will cause paint splatter and an uneven finish.

  • Use the putty knife to put a scoop of wood filler in the holes.
  • Then using the same putty knife put some wood hardener on the filled holes.
  • It might be necessary to use a puffy knife to even out the surface.

Sand the Plywood Wall

After successfully filling any hole in the plywood wall, the next thing to do to get a smooth surface is to sand the plywood wall.

  • If you are dealing with a rough plywood surface, you may have to begin sanding with rough sandpaper, like 100 grit.
  • Sanding with a rough sheet will help eliminate the significant imperfections on the plywood.
  • You can now use fine-grit sandpaper of about 180 or 220 for sanding the plywood surface to give the plywood a smoother finish.

Get Rid of Any Dust on the Surface

Immediately after sanding the plywood surface, there will inevitably be dust all over the surface.

This dust has to be removed not to affect the painting project negatively when you have done it.

To remove the dust, get a vacuum cleaner to remove it, then use a microfiber cleaning rag to wipe the plywood surface to prepare it for painting.

Painting Plywood Wall

Now that all the preparation is done, it’s time to begin painting the plywood wall.

Step 1Prime the Edges with Brushes
Step 2Prime the Plywood Wall’s Surface
Step 3Apply First Coat on The Plywood Wall Edges
Step 4Appling The First Coat of Paint to The Plywood Wall
Step 5Sand the Plywood Wall Between Each Coat
Step 6Apply More Paint Coats on The Plywood Wall
Step 7Seal the Paint

Prime the Plywood Wall Edges with Brushes

Both rollers and sprayers will not be able to paint the edges of the plywood wall effectively.

Carefully use the brush to paint the edges of the plywood wall with acrylic-latex primer.

Prime the Plywood Wall’s Surface

You must prime the plywood’s surface; this is to help when you are sealing the surface.

It also helps to ensure the paint properly adheres to the surface of the plywood.

  • Carefully prime the surface by doing long, even movements that will overlap each other.
  • Make a “w” with your applicator to ensure each stroke overlaps the other.
  • Doing this will help ensure complete coverage and even the edges of each stroke.

Tip: Most primers contain instructions on the type of temperature you can use them in and the amount of drying time before applying the first coat.

Following the instructions, will help you get a better job finish.

Apply the First Coat on The Plywood Wall Edges

Before launching into general painting, you should paint the edges of the plywood wood with a brush.

Be as meticulous as possible because there is no turning back if you miss a spot before applying the first coat.

Applying The First Coat of Paint to The Plywood Wall

After ensuring the primer is completely dry, apply the first coat.

Ensure you cover the entire surface with a consistent, thin coat of paint as you did with the primer.

Now you may notice that you can still see the primer beneath the coat of paint.

Do not be tempted to make the coat thicker; you will still add additional coats.

Sand the Plywood Wall Between Each Coat

This tip many professionals use to get a smooth and nearly flawless paint job.

To remove any impurities that may have occurred while painting;

  • Use a fine grit 180 sandpaper to smoothen the surface by gently rubbing it onto the plywood surface.
  • Only sand the wall when the paint is dry.
  • When you are done sanding, use a microfiber cleaning rag to remove any dust the sanding may have produced.

Apply More Paint Coats on The Plywood Wall

To ensure a good and quality finish, apply multiple thin coats of paint on the plywood wall.

I recommend 2 to 3 coats.

The upside to applying multiple thin coats in contradistinction to thick coats is that each coat becomes hard and dry.

To know the drying time of each coat of paint, consult the paint container.

Seal the Paint

Apply a coat or 2 of polyacrylic in matte or gloss. The choice is yours to seal off the paint.

Paint Plywood Wall with a Roller

Painting a plywood wall with a roller is fairly easy; coupled with the safety precautions listed above, the only extra thing you have to do is.

Step 1Lay Down Drop Cloths
Step 2Stir the Paint
Step 3Pour the Paint into a Roller Screens
Step 4Start Painting

Lay Down Drop Cloths

Rollers can cause spills and splatter unless you follow the unique steps of using rollers without splattering paint.

The best option is to lay down drop cloths and mask tape the areas where you don’t want paint.

Stir the Paint

Thoroughly stir the paint and primer before commencing painting using a paint stirrer.

This is especially important so the roller will absorb the right amount of paint when dipped into the paint.

Pour the Paint into a Roller Screens

Roller screens are better compared to trays basically because of their size.

You can complete your painting job without needing to refill the container incessantly.

Start Painting

Once you have followed the steps listed above, the next thing is to commence painting.

Spray Paint on Plywood Wall

Between using rollers and using sprayers, a sprayer is faster and, to me, more efficient.

You have to do the following;

Step 1Thin the Paint
Step 2Begin Spraying
Step 3Clean the Gun

Thin the Paint

Before using a sprayer, you must thin the paint so that paint wouldn’t clog the gun’s nozzle when spraying.

If you are using water-based paint, just water will do. But for oil-based paint, you will need paint thinners.

For every 3-part paint, add 1 part of the paint thinner.

Begin Spraying

  • Keep the sprayer square, that is, perpendicular to the plywood wall.
  • Ensure you are keeping an 8-12 inches distance from the wall.
  • While spraying, overlap each pass by half and stop the spray gun between each pass.

Clean the Gun

When you are done, clean the spray and all other equipment you used to paint.

You have to clean the spray gun before the paint dries in it so you can use the sprayer another time.

Painting Plywood Walls in the Garage

Painting plywood walls in a garage is relatively easy; the first thing to do is to clear the area.

  • Lay down drop cloths and tape the area.
  • Put on your safety gear.
  • Prepare the surface and area.
  • Use a ladder to reach places you can reach when using a sprayer, or better still, use a roller.
  • Seal the surface when you are done.

How to Paint Interior Plywood Walls

When working indoors, it is incredibly vital that you observe the safety instructions I gave above.

After doing that, follow these steps;

  • Prime the plywood wall and use a brush to cover the angles and edges.
  • Paint the plywood wall with about three different coats sanding the wall after each coat.
  • Seal the plywood wall when you are done.

Carefully dispose of the painting materials you use following the disposal guideline in your area.


Judging from the steps given so far, it is safe to deduce that painting plywood walls is easy if you follow the appropriate instructions.

I may be a little biased in choosing the sprayer applicator as the best option. However, it is my favorite because it is efficient and saves time.

Can I paint over the plywood?

Most people believe you can paint over plywood to create a newly finished surface. However, this is not always the case. Depending on the type of paint and the condition of the plywood, you may find that the new paint surface does not adhere well or does not look as smooth as you would like.
If the plywood is in good condition, you may be able to sand it down and then paint over it to create a new surface. However, if the plywood is damaged or warped, you may need to replace it entirely.

Do I need to prime the plywood before painting?

If you plan to paint untreated plywood, it is advisable to apply a layer of primer beforehand. This step serves a twofold purpose: enhancing the adherence of the paint and preventing any unfinished wood or knots from showing through. However, if you are repainting over an already painted surface, priming may not be necessary, although it is still a good idea to consider it as an added measure.

How to finish plywood walls?

If you want to add a touch of rustic charm to your home, consider finishing your plywood walls with a natural stain. This will give the wood a warm, inviting look, perfect for any room in the house.
First, you must sand the plywood walls to create a smooth surface. Then, apply a generous amount of stain to the walls using a brush or rag. Be sure to work the stain into all of the cracks and crevices for complete coverage.
Once the stain has been applied, allow it to dry completely. Then, apply a clear sealant to protect the wood and prevent the stain from fading.

Which paint is best for plywood?

The best type of paint for plywood depends on the intended use and the surface’s location. For instance, if the plywood will be exposed to the elements or high humidity, an oil-based or epoxy-based paint would be ideal, as they provide excellent resistance to moisture and weathering.
On the other hand, water-based paints such as acrylic or latex paint are ideal for indoor use and less exposed areas. It’s essential to select a suitable paint for the specific use case and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying time.
If you are unsure of which paint to use, the latest acrylic paints are always