How to Paint New Wood

You have just decided to order your new shutters but now need some guidance on how to Paint / Finish your investment. You first need to decide what finish best suites your purchase for instance: Paint, Varnish or Oil. This is dependent on the material your shutters are made from so if they are Oak then you can use a oil suitable for exterior wood but if they are made from Pine then you will need to offer more protection.

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The concept of preservatives may in some peoples eyes be less environmental but can greatly increases the life of your new product which could counteract the negative environmental impact. I have used Cuprinol or Wicks clear preservatives in the past and found them to be most effective greatly prolonging the life of the wood that paint alone. These products are over paint-able as long as they are dry. In France there are commonly used products such as Xylophene but I have short term knowledge of this product so cannot vouch for it but the French seem to love it.

Very easy to apply with a brush, spray or a dip tray.


Oil based or Water-based what should I choose? Well both have their merits but I feel when things are simpler you are more likely to do more often and keep things looking good. The one rule no-one should ignore and that is to take time and do not skimp on the quality of paint you choose. Due to it’s ease I personally prefer water based but Oil based may take the lead for long lasting good looks.


Varnish is a old finish and can last a very long time if done correctly. A quality Yacht Varnish such as ‘Blakes’ or ‘International’ are fine products designed for harsh weather. Varnishing is an art form and spectacular when done well but equally can look a ‘dogs dinner’ if not carried out with care. Varnish is clear and I would never choose a product that is coloured as the pigment spoils the translucency disguising the grain and natural beauty of the wood. I always use a separate stain for colour then varnish as per recommendation. Even if you are varnishing you can still have colour stains

Oil Finish

Oil is the easiest finish for Oak and super quick to apply, personally I would still apply a preservative before oiling. There are many products available but the cheapest is the good ol’ ‘Boiled Linseed’ which is very cheap but expect to apply several coats over a period of time as the wood will slowly soak up the oil making it impervious to water. Oiled Oak may tarnish and silver in time.

What You Need to Paint Your Shutters

  • Shutter
  • Dust sheet
  • Safety specs
  • 220-grit carborundum sandpaper (grey in colour)
  • Primer suitable for the selected paint system
  • Water or Oil based paint preferably micro-porous
  • 100mm roller frame and foam paint rollers
  • Paintbrushes preferably pure bristle such as ‘Hamilton’s Perfection’ A good brush is the difference between quality finish and not.

Follow These Steps

  1. Lay a dustsheet. If painting inside, you’ll want to protect your furnishings. Remove any knobs, pulls or hardware from the furniture.
  2. Remove any ironmongery.
  3. Sand Shutter. For a smooth finish, use a flexible-foam sanding sponge or better still 220-grit carborundum sandpaper. Final sanding must be with the grain. Our shutters are pre-sanded but it is always advisable to do additional sanding to check for imperfections that may require a little filler or white putty.
  4. Remove dirt with a dusting brush. To remove residual grit, you can use a clean cloth or a vacuum.
  5. Prime To seal the wood, roll or paint a coat of thinned primer over the entire shutter making sure it runs into all orifices. Once dry apply a second coat of undiluted primer. Priming hides imperfections and provides a surface for the paint to adhere to. Let dry for at least an hour. Priming is very important to aid a good finish and prevents a blotchy finish. (Varnish Requires no Primer but will still require first coat to be thinned).
  6. Paint Using a roller on large surfaces and a brush on smaller ones, apply a coat of your chosen undercoat or final finishes recommended undercoat paint. (Varnish Requires no Undercoat)
  7. Wait for the undercoat to dry thoroughly When the undercoat paint is dry to touch, lightly sand with 220grit carborundum sandpaper. Apply a coat of top coat gloss or your chosen finish for exterior wood and when dry apply a second coat of paint (minimum of two coats are generally the minimum needed for a nice, even finish and maximum protection). (Varnish requires several coats 3 to 7).

Tip: Wash brush between coats and especially easy if using water based paints. When painting with a brush is it okay to brush against the grain in an effort to spread the paint but the final strokes should be with the grain lifting the brush away as to feather the paint stroke. Paint shutters laying down as this helps a lot to get a good finish and without ironmongery fitted.

Note: Please note this is our preferred method but your paint product may request a different approach. Please check that any mentioned product is legal in your country prior to use. Some French communes have a limited allowed colour pallet so please check first.