How to High Gloss Plywood

A high-gloss finish can be applied to plywood if it is prepared properly. Plywood consists of thin sheets of wood veneer pressed and glued together. Quality grades are given to plywood based on the roughness of the surface and the number of blemishes the sheet contains. Plywood, no matter the grade, must be repeatedly sanded with varying grits of sandpaper before a applying a high-gloss finish. The higher grade of plywood you choose, however, the easier it will be to prepare.

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Quality high-gloss polyurethane will bring out the grain of the plywood.

Step 1

Sand the face of the plywood using an orbital sander and a sanding disk. Use a 90 grit sanding disk if the plywood has a quality grade rating less than "A." Use a 220 grit sanding disk if the plywood has a quality grade rating of "A" or higher. Sanding the plywood will smooth rough spots on the surface.

Step 2

Remove the sanding dust using a shop vacuum and a damp rag. Allow the plywood to dry. In the event a 90 grit sanding disk was needed for the initial sanding of the plywood, repeat the sanding process using a 220 grit sanding disk.

Step 3

Apply high-gloss polyurethane, paint or stain to the face of the plywood using a natural-bristle paint brush. Polyurethane, available for indoor or outdoor applications, is a clear protectant that will seal the plywood. Allow the polyurethane, paint or stain to dry following the manufacturer's directions.

Step 4

Sand the plywood lightly using an orbital sander and a 220 grit sanding disk. Wipe the plywood clean using a clean rag. Apply a second coat of high gloss polyurethane, paint or stain. Most polyurethane, paint or stain manufacturers require two coats to seal plywood properly. Allow the polyurethane, paint or stain to dry.

Step 5

Sand the plywood lightly using a sheet of 320 grit sandpaper and your hand. Lightly sanding using high grit sandpaper will provide a finish that shines and is smooth to the touch. Wipe the plywood clean using a clean rag.


Ryan Carter

Ryan Carter began writing in 1996. He has created content for television, radio and online publications. Carter holds an Associate of Arts in psychology from Delta College and a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Saginaw Valley State University.