Painting Pine Wood Walls

Painting Pine Wood Walls

Sitting here today both Nick and I can agree that painting the wooden walls in the downstairs “barn” part of our house was one of the best decisions we made here. It instantly brightened up the room, making it feel cleaner and more sophisticated.

Our finished living area painted in Mountain Peak White by Benjamin Moore


At the time however we really struggled with the decision. We had left the wooden walls raw when we did our initial renovation but they were aged pine covered in knots, dirt and discoloration and just made the room feel a little too rustic. We worried It would be a sin to cover up wooden walls with with a coat of paint - like putting wall to wall carpeting over hardwood flooring - so our initial plan was to sand, stain and seal the wood to get a more even finish while keeping the look of the wood.

Our living area prior to painting white with original pine board walls.


We bought several different stain samples from medium and dark walnut tones to light grey and white washes - we were leaning toward a medium walnut/teak color but weren’t convinced it was what we wanted. We met with the painter who had painted the exterior of our house (Star Lite Painting from Woonsocket for those of you in RI) who gave us the bad news that the walls couldn’t be sanded because of the antique style nails that had been used in the barn construction. The heads of the nails protruded from the wood so would interfere with the sanding and the black finish on the nails would be sanded off.

A sampling of the test stain colors we were considering.


We had previously talked about painting the room white but were afraid it would be too bright and that the knots in the wood would show through so we wouldn’t get an even finish. Luckily our friends at the Benjamin Moore store told us if we used enough KILZ original oil based primer on the walls the knots wouldn’t bleed through the paint.

First coat of KILZ Primer on walls.


So we moved forward and chose a few different white paint colors to try in the room. We had previously used Decorators White on one of the walls and found it to be way too sterile and bright white, especially since we have so much natural light with the large windows. We brought home samples of Benjamin Moore White Dove and Mountain Peak White which were both warmer whites. After trying both colors we ultimately chose Mountain Peak White for its creaminess and warmth.

First coat of Mountain Peak White.


We also decided since we were painting the room white we would paint the ceiling beams black for contrast.

Black beams and barn door.


In order to sufficiently cover the wood tannins and get an even finish it took our painters three coats of KILZ original interior primer and two coats of Mountain Peak White. The KILZ is an oil based primer and is no joke as far as fumes go, we had to move out of the house for a week the fumes were so noxious.

The finished product.


If the walls had been oak or another better wood and in better condition (and without antique nails) we probably would’ve gone with the stain and a warmer wooden interior which we totally love as well. In this case with old discolored pine board the paint ended up being the right decision for the room.

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