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Painting Over CDX Plywood

Billy McCarley

CDX plywood has one smooth side and one rough side. Although it is constructed from waterproof glue, it still needs painting if used outside. However, when painting CDX plywood, there are a few simple suggestions that will help you complete the project successfully.

CDX plywood displays an array of grain direction and imperfections that must be covered.

Additionally, the do-it-yourselfer with little or no experience can paint CDX plywood successfully.

  1. Sand the plywood cracks and imperfections with 60-grit sandpaper attached to an orbital sander. Sand in circular motions to prevent cross-grain scratches. Lightly sand the plywood edges to remove wood burrs and splinters.

  2. Fill all cracks and holes, including those along the edges, with waterproof wood filler. Gather the wood filler with a 3-inch putty knife, and smooth the filler across the surface imperfections, leaving the filler slightly bulging to account for drying shrinkage.

  3. Allow the wood filler to completely dry before sanding. Sand the dry filler with 120-grit sandpaper attached to an orbital sander. Sand with circular motions to further smooth the surface of the plywood and wood filler.

  4. Wipe the plywood down with a damp rag to remove dust and debris. Do not place any additional water on the wood, to prevent grain rise. A damp rag will suffice in removing dust and debris.

  5. Spray on two coats of oil-based primer, covering the edges and flat surface. Apply oil-based rather than water based to prevent grain rise. Allow 30 minutes drying time between coats. Lightly sand between coats with 120-grit sandpaper to provide a bonding surface for subsequent coats. Flip the plywood and repeat on the opposite side.

  6. Spray on three coats of oil-based paint with an electric paint sprayer. Allow one hour drying time between coats. Rub the dried paint between coats with #000 steel wool to smooth the painted surface and provide a bonding surface between coats. Allow the final coat of paint to sit for 24 hours before proceeding.

  7. Seal the dried paint with matte finish sealer. Add the sealer to an electric sprayer, and spray on three coats of sealer to prevent the plywood from separating. Allow no more than 15 minutes drying time between coats, and rub the surface between coats with #0000 steel wool.