Can I Use Rust-Oleum on Wood?

If you want to paint over rust, you need the right tool for the job. Rust-Oleum offers various products that you can use to coat the surfaces of your home. But you should make sure that you use the right type with the wood you want to work with.

Rust-Oleum can go on wood, but it depends on the type of Rust-Oleum and the condition of the wood. For example, bare wood requires a coat of primer before Rust-Oleum so that it can bind better. Consider the surface and the goal of the Rust-Oleum when choosing the right product.

Rust-Oleum offers different products for your home, and it can be overwhelming. Keep reading to learn how you can use Rust-Oleum on wood and which product is best for you.

Can you use Rust-Oleum on Wood

Wood Type

When deciding whether or not to use Rust-Oleum in wood, you should consider the type of wood. Rust-Oleum works particularly well on hardwood floors and other horizontal surfaces. If you want to use it on a vertical surface, you may need to adjust the position while everything dries.

Some woods also show grain more than others. Pine and Poplar are two types of wood that won’t always show the grain. But it’s much easier to see the grain on oak, so you would need more coats of Rust-Oleum to cover that.

Wood Preparation

If you are set on the type of wood you want to use the Rust-Oleum on, consider how you prepare the wood. You should consider sanding the wood, which will make using the Rust-Oleum easier.

Consider the grain of the wood and sand with the grain, not against it. Make sure you use the same amount of pressure when sanding the entire piece of wood. After you finish, use a tack cloth to remove the dust and wood shavings.

You need to make sure the surface is completely smooth. If dust is left on the wood, you will have a hard time staining or painting it with Rust-Oleum. Consider wearing a mask to keep the dust from getting into your mouth and nose.

Rust-Oleum Type

You should also consider the type of Rust-Oleum you will use. It’s more than a single product, and the company has options for almost anything related to wood and home projects. The biggest thing to consider is if you want to use a spray can or a traditional paint can.


Spraying the Rust-Oleum can be a good option if you’ve never painted or worked this way before. You don’t have to use a brush or worry about the finer details of your work. However, it can be hard to use a spray can in a small area.

Check out this article for more information on how to thin out Rust-Oleum for spray painting.


If you use a paint can, you will need to be very careful. Using the wrong brush or being too harsh while working can leave brush strokes long after the Rust-Oleum dries.

However, you can choose the right color of paint for you. Then, you can choose a color that matches what you want, and it can protect the wood from rust.

Rust-Oleum also offers different types of paint, including acrylic, floor paint and paint pens.

Test First

Before you use any type of Rust-Oleum on wood, don’t hesitate to test it out. If you have a sample of wood similar to the wood you want to apply the product to, great. And if you don’t, head to a hardware store and see if they have something similar.

You can also do a test on the bottom of a piece of furniture or in a corner if you’ll be treating a floor.

Testing the product can help you ensure that you like how it looks. You don’t want to use a dark color that you think you’ll like only to find that it doesn’t match. Consider doing a few tests with various application methods so that you know what you like the best.

How to Use Rust-Oleum on Wood

If you want to use Rust-Oleum on wood, you should follow the right steps. Using the right process can help you protect the wood and yourself. You should think about everything from the wood you’ll use to the type of Rust-Oleum you have.

Different products will work better on different surfaces. Rust-Oleum has a convenient search feature to help you narrow the categories. If you know you will use Rust-Oleum on wood, you can shop for those products and ignore the rest.

Follow these steps to use Rust-Oleum on bare wood.

Choose the Wood and Product

Select the bare wood that you want to use for your project. It could be from your floor, a piece of furniture or something else. The Rust-Oleum can help with rust issues, but you should use it on furniture indoors rather than outdoors.

For bare wood, you will need some sort of primer or base coat. It will help set the foundation for the paint on the wood since the bare wood isn’t the best surface for that. A good primer or base coat will soak into the wood, and it can serve as a sort of glue between the wood and the Rust-Oleum.

Use a Primer

You can choose from a variety of products from Rust-Oleum. They offer odor-killing primers, some come with a water base, and others use an oil base. Some of the primers come in a spray version, while there are also paint cans.

Consider the type of primer you want to use and how you want to apply it. The paint can is nice for a small area, but it requires a lot of precision if you want to avoid brush strokes.

A spray can help you cover a larger area, but you need to consider the surrounding area and if spraying is safe.

When it comes to choosing a water base or an oil base for your primer, think about what paint you will use. You can review the wood category options, so choose the one that will look best with the wood.

Paint the Wood

Once you have everything ready, make sure you prep your area for the wood. If you’ll be treating the floor, clean up around it. Make sure there are no pets or kids nearby who could walk over the work area.

If you’re working with a piece of furniture, consider moving it outside so that you can work undisturbed. Working outside is especially helpful if you’re working with spray paint, but you can do so with a paint can.

Give the wood one coat of the Rust-Oleum paint, then let it dry for a couple of hours. Check on the wood after that time and see if you can see the primer. If so, apply another coat of the Rust-Oleum and wait for two more hours.

And if you don’t see any of the primers, you’re good to go. You can move the piece of wood wherever you like within your home.


Rust-Oleum is a series of products that you can use for home improvement, and you can use it on wood. But consider the type of wood you have and the specific paint you want to use. Then, you can keep from accidentally ruining your furniture or flooring.

Image credit: David Tonelson /

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