Here are 5 Types of Paint for Wood Products & Furniture

By MWB-Team •  Updated: 05/24/23 • 

When it comes to finishing wood projects, you can use different kinds of paint. Paints enhance the appearance of your wood projects and protect them from elements such as UV, humidity, and much more. In this article, we’ll go through the different types of paint you can use on your wood products.

1. Oil-Based Paints

Oil paints are one of the most popular types of wood paint available. They are easy to apply, durable, and also provide a beautiful and lasting wood finish. Oil-based paints are better for use on exterior wood surfaces like decks, outdoor furniture, and wooden sidings. Depending on the type of oil paint, you can choose from matte to a glossy sheen finish, but oil paints have the glossiest look.

Oil paints take longer to dry, which can be a disadvantage or an advantage. If you want to apply different coats, you’ll wait longer, but on the flip side, you get time to correct any mistakes you’ll make while applying the paint.

The disadvantage of oil-based paint is they contain a higher level of Volatile Organic Compounds than other types of paints. They also have a strong odor, which is why they are not recommended for indoor use. You’ll also need to clean your applicators shortly after use with a solvent, usually mineral spirits or turpentine.

2. Latex Paints

This is a water-based paint that is very popular for indoor furnishings. Latex paints are very easy to use and also dry up quickly, which makes them a good choice for beginners to work with. Unlike oil-based paints, latex paints are also cheaper and available in a wide range of colors.

Latex paints also contain fewer VOCs compared to oil-based paints. This makes them environmentally friendly, and you can use them indoors where harmful fumes would quickly build up if you use oil paints without proper ventilation. Unlike most oil-based paints that tend to yellow with time, latex paints retain their color for years to come.

However, latex paints are less durable than oil-based paints and, thus, are not the best choice for high-traffic areas. You’ll also need several coats of latex paints to cover flaws and other imperfections on the wood. Latex paints can start to chip or flake away for furnishings that get frequent hand contact.

3. Acrylic Paints

This is another water-based paint that is quite similar to latex paints but is more durable and takes a longer time to dry. Acrylic paints are made by suspending rich color pigments in acrylic polymers. They have very little odor and are also very easy to clean up.

Acrylic paints are also called craft paints and are best for small wooded projects or if you want to add artistic designs to your projects. They are available in a wide range of colors, and you can also mix different acrylic paints to create your own colors. They are also good for outdoor furniture, trim work, and siding.

4. Chalk Paints

With the rising popularity of reclaiming old furniture or giving modern furniture an old look (See how to distress painted wood with sandpaper), chalk paints have also grown in popularity in recent years. Chalk paints are water-based and usually have latex in their base but deliver a thicker and buildable texture.

Chalk Paint and Brush

Chalk Paint and Brush

Chalk paint is different from other types of water-based paints and looks like chalk, which forms a distressed matte finish that some people love. This makes chalk paint desirable for use on antique/antiquing furniture, which leaves a subtle or slightly archaic appearance.

5. Milk Paint

Milk paints are similar to chalk paint, but they are slightly thinner. They are made by mixing milk protein with an activator like borax or lime. Color pigments are then added to customize the colors to your liking. Milk paints leave a smooth and matte finish, but like chalk paints, you can create an aged finish by lightly sanding the paint.

One of the advantages of milk paint is eco-friendliness. It is made from eco-friendly ingredients, which means no fumes or chemicals are emitted during or after application.

Milk paint is usually sold in powder form, and you can add water and mix as desired. It is cheaper than chalk paint and produces similar results when used. To preserve the finish of milk or chalk paint, a top coat or oil-clear finish might be necessary. Check out our in-depth guide on milk paint vs. chalk paint.


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