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“With Columbia’s primed panel, we just scuff sand the surface and it is ready for the paint coat. For us, it eliminates the application of a primer and reduces the whole process including the drying time. It cuts out several steps.” – Dale Nesbit, Owner, Harbortown Cabinets

Firststep, FSC, FSC Certified, PureBond, hardwood plywood, plywood, Columbia Forest Products, Columbia, eco-friendly, veneers
Ready to Paint Plywood Panels

Columbia Forest Products now offers two solutions to boost your painting productivity & results!  FirstStep Traditional Primed Panels and new FirstStep Production Grade Panels.

With either of these labor and material-saving options, you eliminate the sealing and priming stages, immediately increasing your operation’s productivity and efficiency.

Both solutions come with panel coatings that help attain – and maintain – adhesion of paint to the substrate.  Your finished product will have a better final appearance because any substrate defects will be masked, providing the foundation for a smooth and uniform finish coat.


FirstStep Traditional Primed Panels

Featuring a water-based, low-VOC primer, this is a great choice for shops that encounter occasional painting jobs.  Just sand the face lightly with 320 grit (to remove any fiber pop or roughness), and you’re ready to paint.  The white primer serves as a great canvas for the final color of your choice.

Consumers looking for a convenient way to build plywood projects that are going to be painted can access these panels in smaller, ship-to-home formats through The Home Depot website.


FirstStep Production Grade Panels

For shops that are routinely painting their plywood or MDF projects, this option is for you!

These panels come with a VOC-free epoxy acrylic coating that’s applied with Columbia’s precision UV flat line equipment.  We sand, fill, then seal the faces, and lightly sand them (500 grit).

All you do is dust and paint!  (after checking with your coating supplier and performing a sample test).


Frequently Asked Questions

Firststep, FSC, FSC Certified, PureBond, hardwood plywood, plywood, Columbia Forest Products, Columbia, eco-friendly, veneersWhat colorations of FirstStep are available?

FirstStep Traditional Primed panels are white, to provide a clean canvas for whatever paint you’re applying.

FirstStep Production Grade Panels feature a clear coat.  Thus, the surface color of your panel will show through.

What panel formats are available for these ready to paint panels?

All of Columbia’s panels are available for Traditional Priming and Production Grade options (veneer-faced and MDF-faced)  We’re limited to a maximum panel size of 4’x8′ and 1-1/4″ thickness.

Should FirstStep panels be sanded prior to painting?

Yes and No…

FirstStep Traditional Primed Panels should be lightly sanded with a 320 grit or finer sandpaper, to remove any fiber pop or roughness.  Customers should not sand too aggressively, as they may sand through the primer coat and expose the raw material underneath.

FirstStep Production Grade Panels require no additional sanding.  After basic dusting, they are truly “Ready to Paint!”

What type of coatings can I use with FirstStep® panels?

Water-based and solvent-based coatings are compatible with FirstStep treatments. Customers should contact their coatings supplier prior to use, to verify compatibility.

We encourage testing your coating with samples of FirstStep before initiating your project.

Will there be shop allowable? What percentage will we allow? Will shop be separated?Firststep, FSC, FSC Certified, PureBond, hardwood plywood, plywood, Columbia Forest Products, Columbia, eco-friendly, veneers

Yes, there will be shop allowed. Domestic products will allow up to 20% shop, and it will be separated.

Are FirstStep® panels available formaldehyde-free?

Yes, FirstStep® primed panels are available with any core, including veneer-core produced with PureBond® Formaldehyde-Free Technology, and NAF composite cores, upon request.

Features and Benefits

  • Reduction in labor and materials. Eliminates one or two steps in the finishing process to boost productivity and savings.
  • Lower VOC and HAPS emissions. Reduces airborne hazards in the workplace.
  • Improved final appearance. Helps attain and maintain adhesion of paint to substrate; masks defects in the substrate, allowing the finish coat to be even and uniform. Suppresses grain raise for a smoother final product.
  • Uniform quality control. Consistent batch production in CFP mills.
  • Three North American production centers. Consistent availability, delivered with other CFP products.