Can You Paint Over Rotted Wood?

You noticed that you have rotted wood in the exterior of your home and you might be wondering if painting it will fix the problem. However, this misconception will make the problem worse. Most homeowners tend to ignore this issue, however, the rot will start in a small area and eventually damage the structure of your home if not addressed right away.

Ignoring the root of the issue will cause major consequences and expensive replacement or repair in the future. Once you understand the root cause of the issue, you will find a solution rather than trying to cover it up with paint.

Why You Should Not Paint Over Rotted Wood

Below are some reasons why you should never paint rotted wood.

Paint Will Become Discoloured

It’s pointless to paint over rotted wood because you won’t get your desired results. For example, if you want a silvery grey colour, it will look like dull brown! This happens because the damaged wood will leak out its rot every time you paint over it.

Paint Will Bubble and Crack

Whether you painting your home’s interior or exterior, the purpose of paint is to serve as protection to keep elements out. However, if your wood has wet rot, moisture will ruin your painting job. Moisture causes splitting and rotting in wood and applying a fresh coat of paint will not fix the problem.

You’ll End Up Using More Paint

When wood is soaked into water, it causes the wood to expand and swell. This means it will fall apart and the paint will not be able to stick to the wood. Therefore, you will need to apply more coats of paint.

Mould Recurrence

If your wood is exposed to moisture for quite some time, it will eventually form moulds. If not removed or given proper care, it can cause serious health issues. Homes with moulds cause allergies, lung irritation, and more. That’s why painting over rotted wood is not recommended and should not be done.

If you paint over a rotted wood with mould, it will agitate the spores and will grow elsewhere in your home.

Replacing Rotted Wood

Since painting over rotted wood is not a good idea, homeowners must know that most will require complete removal of the rotten wood. Professional painters will suggest replacing rotten wood with new wood, fibre cement replacement boards, or PVC.

Each of these alternatives works perfectly. The cost varies because some are made with more durable and long-lasting materials.

However, not all rotten wood needs to be replaced. Sometimes, minor damages such as splits and minor cracks can still be repaired. If you’re unsure if you should paint rotten wood or not, we recommend consulting a professional to ensure that your painting job will not be compromised.


As you can see, painting rotten wood is not always a good idea. You’ll end up not getting your desired outcome and spend more than you should.

At Townsville Painters, we carefully examine rotten wood to ensure that our painting job will not be compromised. We are trained and experienced in identifying the root cause of damaged wood. We can assist you from the start to the end of your painting project!

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