Covering Wood Knot Spots With Paint

how to get rid of knots in wood

It’s week 2 of my $100 Room Challenge bathroom makeover. If you missed last week, you can catch up here where I showed you what I’m starting within my little half bath. The photos of the plankboard walls were especially embarrassing to share because the wood knot spots that starting showing up through the paint made the walls look dirty. Fortunately, I was able to tackle that problem first. When we first installed these planks I covered them with regular paint, but after time the wood knots starting bleeding through. I did a little research and found out that I needed to use a shellac-based primer in order to cover them and keep them from coming back through.

There weren’t too many shellac primers to pick from in the store,  so I ended up picking Zinnser*. One coat of this mostly concealed the knots, but I could still see a hint of one or two of the darker wood knot spots so I went ahead and did two coats all around. I found this to be a bit more watery than regular paint, so be careful of drips.

Zinsser primer how to hide knots in wood

Once the primer was dry, I painted over it with my favorite white paint color from Benjamin Moore called Dove White. This has become my go-to paint color around the house. I like the white backdrop so I can switch out my accent colors often. It also makes for easier storage. When you paint many rooms the same color there are fewer paint cans to keep around for touch-ups. Which is a good thing, because having too many paint cans around is a pet peeve of my husband (mine is gum chewing, but I digress).

how to cover knots in shiplap

Since we were snowed in last week with our first blizzard of the season, I had a little extra time at home. I was able to get the upper half of the room primed for painting as well. I asked my daughter to look at my paint decks and pick a gray out that she liked, she has a good eye for color. She picked these two:

Paint samples 33

Choice 1 is White Metal (top left) and choice 2 is Double Click (second one down on the right), both from Behr. Which one do you like better? (You can see more favorite paint colors from design bloggers here).

I’m so happy those yellowish looking spots on the planks are gone! I can’t believe I lived with it like that as long as I did! I’ve not used this primer before so only time will tell if it keeps those wood knots hidden long term. (Update, it has held up perfectly!)

As far as the budget on this $100 Room Challenge, the only money I’ve spent so far is $13 on the can of Zinnser primer. The primer I used for the upper walls, and the Dove White paint were things I already had.

Update #2- You can see the full finished bathroom here!

Please Pin:

Painting knotty wood without the right products can cause the knots to leak through the paint over time. Learn how to prevent wood knots from showing through with one simple trick! #painting #furnituremakeovers #shiplap

Visit the links below to see what progress my friends have made in their rooms this week. We will be back again next Wednesday with another update!

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*This post may contain affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure here.


  1. My husband is a big fan of Zinner. It covers all sins. The paint color is great and how nice that your daughter helped you pick it out. My girls are back to school and the other in her home in Ohio. 🙁

  2. White Metal gets my vote! Good luck.

  3. I just discovered this primer recently too, it’s like a miracle! I can’t believe what it did to your wood knots. It looks great! And I vote for White Metal, but they’re both pretty.

  4. Great tip! I have a bunch of wood i’m going to be painting for my laundry room!

  5. That’s my favorite primer! It works so great! Your walls are looking lovely!

  6. Wow! Who knew! It looks great and I think it’s going to look beautiful in the end.

  7. I sure hope your Zinsser solution works long term! The walls already look better! Great job!

  8. I think we have white metal in our dining room/coffee station area. I like both options though. And I’m glad it was such an easy fix to paint over the knots 🙂 Lookin’ good in here!

  9. Oh yeah, Zinsser products are the best. I’ve been painting everything that can’t escape for many years and I am a big fan of primer in general.
    Bulls Eye (water based) is my favorite but sometimes, even though my husband accuses me of trying to poison him, you must get out the Big Chemicals.

  10. Hibiscus Martin says:

    Hi, i was wondering if you sanded the walls at all before putting the primer on to cover the wood knots?

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