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How to paint rough cut exterior wood

Rough cut wood is utilised for various exterior building projects. It is a fraction of the cost of finished lumber, and it is typically thicker than finished cuts. However, painting newly installed rough cut lumber can present a challenge because of its jagged and splintered surfaces. It is possible, though, to find and apply an exterior primer and paint that can stand up to all the conditions that nature can dish out and stay on rough cut lumber, which is constantly moving, splitting and warping.

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  1. Wash the rough cut lumber with the spray from a pressure washer nozzle held at least 12 inches from its surface. Allow the wood to dry for 48 hours.

  2. Apply an even coat of high-build (filling) acrylic stain-blocking primer to the wood surface with a paint roller. Allow the primer to dry for four hours.

  3. Apply two even coats of 100 per cent acrylic exterior paint to the primed wood with a paint roller. Allow the first coat to dry for six hours before applying the second.

  4. Tip

    Using a high-nap paint roller assures that the paint reaches the jagged and splintered edges that are inherent in rough cut wood. Acrylic paint-covered rollers can be cleaned with water. Do not apply 100 per cent acrylic paint over an old oil-based paint. The new paint would loosen the old paint and cause chipping and tearing.


    Always wear safety glasses, gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when operating a pressure washer.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rough cut wood
  • Pressure washer
  • Paint tray
  • High-nap paint roller
  • High-build acrylic stain-blocking primer
  • 100 per cent acrylic latex exterior paint

About the Author

Based in Covington, Tenn., Cheryl Torrie has been writing how-to articles since 2008. Her articles appear on eHow. Torrie received a certificate in travel and tourism from South Eastern Academy and is enrolled in a computer information systems program at Tennessee Technology Center at Covington.

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