Resene Paints - home page

About substrates

Learn about substrates that are commonly decorated and how the idiosyncrasies of each need to be considered when choosing paints, coatings, stains and finishes.

Bison, Chip, Composite, Fibre, HDF, Particle and Strand Board

All of these reconstituted wood products share the benefit of uniform strength in all directions and the predictability this brings. The requirement to include waxes to improve water resistance may lead to problems of drying with auto oxidatively curing systems. Waterborne systems, moisture-cured coatings and two pack urethanes are therefore recommended.

California Redwood

A timber similar to Western Red Cedar with similar stability, durability and strength. Like Western Red Cedar it has a strong tendency to stain waterborne paint systems.

Douglas Fir (Oregan Pine)

A softwood with an almost white sapwood and pinkish-brown heartwood. Its most striking feature is the very prominent, evenly spaced growth rings. For this reason it generally does not accept paint very well, although penetrating stains are not considered problematic. It is used for light framing, roof trusses and exposed beams.


A pale greyish to yellow-brown colour with slightly interlocked grain and a moderately coarse texture. Erima is used for mouldings, panelling and skirting and the treated grades are suitable for weatherboards. The timber takes coatings very satisfactorily

Fijian Kauri

A medium density softwood that is established as a commercial alternative for New Zealand Kauri. Displays very similar appearance and working properties.


A dark purplish-red timber that is very dense, hard and durable. The texture is fairly coarse and requires filling for the finest finishing. When used as decking, it does not initially accept penetrating stains due to its density. Acceptance improves on weathering.

Kauri (New Zealand)

Light brown sapwood, reddish brown heartwood with a characteristic 'speckle'. An outstanding all round timber that finishes easily and beautifully.


Kwila is native to New Guinea, Fiji and Queensland. Sapwood is yellow but the heartwood is dark brown. Heartwood is very durable and is favoured for power poles, wharf and bridge construction, boat keels, decking and sleepers. Kwila will accept paint and may be painted with either waterborne or solventborne systems. Its coarse open grain does not lend itself to varnishing unless the grain is filled.


A medium density softwood with an attractive yellow-brown colour. The growth rings are very prominent and it may contain many small tight knots. Used for framing, fencing and occasionally the heartwood is used for feature cladding. The very dense latewood may result in early paint failures and the timber is slightly corrosive to steel.

Light Organic Solvent Preservation (LOSP) Treated Timber

LOSP is an excellent and convenient method of preserving timber. Its greatest asset is that it can be successfully used on formed and cut timber and joinery ensuring that no timber is exposed that has not had contact with the preservative. Timber delivered to site may contain some residual solvent, which must be allowed to evaporate before painting. Fillet stacking out of direct weather is an appropriate method and the timber should not be coated until it is completely free from solvent odours.

Macrocarpa (Monterey Aspen)

Whitish sapwood, yellowish-brown heartwood with the pleasant characteristic smell of cypresses. The timber has a fine and even texture. A high grade timber, useful for a wide variety of applications including boat building, furniture, framing and cladding. Takes paint coatings reasonably well but the presence of natural resins may lead to patchy acceptance of stains.


Warm orange-brown timber with an attractive interlocking grain. Primarily used for high quality furniture and panelling. Has a coarse texture, which requires filling to produce a smooth finish. Takes standard varnishes well.


Narrow white, non durable sapwood, with a yellow-brown heartwood that darkens to a deep red-brown on exposure to air. A magnificent timber traditionally used for exterior joinery and interior flooring. Takes paint and clear finishes very well, although the natural extractives severely hinder the curing of solventborne finishes. Waterborne systems or moisture-cured coatings and two pack urethanes are therefore recommended.

Oak (European)

A mellow golden brown colour with a straight grain. This timber is known for its for strength and durability. Its somewhat coarse texture may require filling to achieve the finest finish. The natural tannins may slow the dry of solventborne finishes and cause corrosion in steel fixings.

Pinus Radiata

An excellent all round timber, which when well cured, produces very few finishing problems. Knots will tend to shrink, loosen and exude resin. Premature coating of some treated timbers before the treatment has become fully fixed may lead to staining problems.

Rewa Rewa

The heartwood of Rewa Rewa is dark red to purple-brown. Timber cut from Rewa Rewa is tough, hardwearing and is easy to work with. The sapwood of the timber is very susceptible to attack by borer. Its most popular use is for craft woodwork.


Reddish brown, streaked heartwood, uniform pale brown sapwood, with a distinct lighter intermediate zone capturing some interesting colour effects. Widely used for framing, cladding and fine furniture. Rimu finishes beautifully with either pigmented or clear finishes.


A useful substitute for Mahogany, has similar colour and grain but a finer texture. Produces a superb finish.


The heartwood of Totara is an even reddish-brown with indistinct growth rings and a very straight grain. Although very durable and easy to work with, it may show brittleness across the grain. As well as playing a central role in Maori culture, Totara was seen as the ideal material for fencing and exterior joinery. The same constituents that naturally preserve the timber also affect the curing of solventborne finishes. Waterborne paints or moisture-cured coatings are therefore recommended.

Western Red Cedar (Imported)

A dark brown to salmon-pink timber; lightweight, knot-free, stable and durable with a somewhat coarse texture. The surface will erode under natural weathering fairly quickly to leave a stable mat of cellulose fibres on the surface. Cedar is used extensively for exterior joinery, interior cladding and interior panelling. It takes paints and varnishes well but may cause staining of waterborne paints and corrosion of steel nails.

  1. Cement renders (including EIFS, rough cast and stucco): May have weak surface layers due to water loss from relatively thin layers leading to poor curing. Many renders have added lime leading to very high alkalinity.

  2. Concrete masonry: The very low slump mixtures used in this area reduce alkalinity but increase porosity. Mortars used for jointing and reinforcing are generally highly alkaline.

  3. Concrete roofing tiles: The factory applied cementitious coating breaks down on extended weathering to a fine powder which, if untreated, provides a weak substrate for paint.

  1. Fibre reinforced cement: Low incidence of alkalinity and efflorescence in flat sheet; greater danger in moulded sheet. Some possibility of mould release oil contamination.

  2. Glass reinforced cement (GRC): These very dense and glossy surfaces may also be contaminated with form release oils and defoamers.

  3. Old fibre reinforced cement (prior to 1982): May contain asbestos. Contact local Health Authorities for advice on preparation work.

  4. Poured concrete: More likely to have efflorescence and laitance due to higher slump mixes. Strong likelihood of form oils and/or curing agents being present.


Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

View Videos

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.