How to Paint Wooden Beams

Written by heather montgomery
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Wooden beams are often used in rustic architecture. Whether on the ceiling or acting as a support beam for load-bearing walls, the beams add interest to a room. When designing a room or redecorating, you may choose to paint the wooden beams to add a pop of colour or to blend the beam in with the surrounding paint. Proper preparation of your beam will lead to a professional result.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Dust sheets
  • Orbital sander
  • Shop vacuum
  • Rag
  • Painter's tape
  • Latex primer
  • Latex paint
  • Stir stick
  • Paint tray
  • Roller
  • Cut-in tool

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  1. 1

    Cover any exposed flooring or furniture with thick canvas dust sheets.

  2. 2

    Smooth the beams with an orbital sander. Sand with the grain to prevent splintering. Wipe away any sawdust with a damp rag.

  3. 3

    Vacuum any sawdust from the dropcloth.

  4. 4

    Apply painter's tape around the beam where it meets the wall or floor.

  5. 5

    Stir about ¼ cup of latex paint into the primer to tint the primer. This will provide a more even topcoat.

  6. 6

    Pour the tinted primer into a paint tray. Roll the primer onto the beam. Use the cut-in tool for any corners or straight lines. Allow the primer to dry completely.

  7. 7

    Lightly sand the primer and wipe away any excess dust with a damp rag.

  8. 8

    Roll the beam with a coat of latex paint, using the cut-in tool when necessary. Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the tape and dropcloth.

Tips and warnings

  • A second coat of latex paint may be needed for dark colours.
  • A cut-in tool has a flat pad to help paint in corners and straight lines. The tool is sold in most home improvement stores.
  • Wear protective goggles through the entire process to prevent sawdust or paint from getting into your eyes.

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