August 22, 2023

How Do I Paint Porous Surfaces Like Interior Brick, Bare Wood & MDF?

How Do I Paint Porous Surfaces Like Interior Brick, Bare Wood & MDF?

Key FAQ Points

  • To avoid a patchy, uneven finish, you should seal the surface with 2-3 coats of Finishing Coat before painting.
  • Treat new plaster differently to other porous surfaces – see our guide on painting plaster.
  • Alternatively, you can apply a mist coat of paint diluted with 5-10% tap water, which is ideal for larger surfaces.
  • After either of these steps, you may need to lightly sand the dried surface to eliminate a rough texture.


When you want to paint surfaces like interior brickwork, bare wood or MDF, there are a few things to bear in mind. Their porous nature can result in the moisture element of your paint being sucked into the surface on initial application – which can mean you use up more paint and often leads to a patchy, uneven finish.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps to avoid that happening…

Sealing the surface

In order to achieve a smooth finish, you can opt to seal the surface first with 2-3 coats of Finishing Coat. This is great for areas of new panelling or shelving, or any bare interior woodwork, brickwork or blockwork that you want to paint.

After the first coat of sealant has dried, you may find the surface is slightly rough – due to the wood fibres being raised by the moisture in the sealant or because of surface dust/debris – known as raised grain. Run over with a fine sandpaper to knock this off, remove any resulting dust and subsequent coats will be smooth.

You can apply Finishing Coat with a clean sponge to speed up application. Dip in, squeeze out the excess and apply in long, even passes. Providing you are using Frenchic paint, you can even add a little to tint the Finishing Coat, which otherwise dries clear, to help with coverage.

Once the surface is sealed, leave it to dry before you go ahead with the number of paint coats recommended on the tin.

Applying a mist coat

For larger areas like unsealed wood floors, you could opt for applying a mist coat of your chosen Frenchic paint product. This means thinning the paint with a maximum of 10% tap water for the first coat only. Because it is thinned, it is a good idea to apply the recommended number of coats in addition to the mist coat.

This is demonstrated on wooden floorboards below:


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