How to Paint Over Knotty Pine

Knotty pine is a common and inexpensive lumber used for many home improvement products. It was also used as panelling and other accents for cabinets and doors. Paint knotty pine to match or complement the decor of your home or office. Pay special attention for loose knots that may fall out of older knotty pine boards. These will be held in place after it is painted.

Secure loose knots with a bead of wood glue before filling cracks around the knot or sanding.

Fill cracks around the knots with wood filler. Apply with a putty knife and spread just a little higher than the surrounding wood. It will be levelled during sanding. Allow the wood filler to dry completely before sanding.

Sand the entire surface with 100 grit sandpaper. Pay close attention to edges. Always sand with the grain of the wood. Do not sand more in one area than another because this will lead to an uneven surface.

Sand the entire surface again with 120 grit sandpaper.

Wipe down all sides of the knotty pine with the tack cloth to remove all sanding dust.

Stir the primer until the liquid is uniform without streaks or colour variations. Make sure to scrape the bottom and edges to incorporate all solids into the primer while stirring. Pour some primer in the paint tray if using a roller. Dip the brush in the can as needed if using only a paintbrush.

Use the paintbrush to cover the edges of the surface with primer. If the piece of knotty pine is large enough, use a paint roller to roll primer on all large surfaces. A roller will not leave brushstrokes, so use a roller whenever possible for a smoother finish.

Apply a second coat of primer. Allow to dry according to the manufacturer's directions stated on the primer container label before applying a second coat or painting. When finished priming the knotty pine, wash the paintbrush and paint tray according to manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning tools. Throw away the roller cover.

Stir the chosen paint until it is uniform in the container. Scrape the bottom and sides while stirring to incorporate all of the pigments to ensure uniform colour on the painted surface.

Use the paintbrush to apply the paint in the same manner as the primer. Cover edges with the paintbrush and use a roller to paint over large areas where it is possible. Clean the paint tray and paintbrush, and throw away the roller cover.


Use a low nap roller cover for flat knotty pine surfaces. Use a thick nap roller cover for knotty pine surfaces with grooves, such as beadboard.


Make sure the area where you will be painting is well ventilated to reduce inhalation of paint fumes. Follow all warnings on the primer and paint labels for use, cleanup and disposal.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood glue
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • 100 and 120 grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • 2 paint stir sticks
  • Primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller (if applicable)
  • 2 roller covers (if applicable)
  • Paint tray
  • Paint
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About the Author

Emily Patterson has been creating content for websites since 1996. She specializes in home improvement, natural body care and natural cleaning articles. Patterson holds a computing certificate from Penn State University.