Painting Wood Paneling

Removing wood paneling can be a difficult process because the wall behind it may get damaged and could require costly repairs. However, painting the paneling can be an easy and lower-cost alternative. A little paint can help cover up the old, outdated paneling and transform a space into a modern room. There are a few steps that should be followed when painting paneling.


The wood paneling requires some preparation prior to painting it. Wipe the paneling with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove any debris. Cover up nail holes with wood filler or caulk to ensure a smooth finish. Wait for the caulk or filler to dry according to the manufacturer’s specifications before proceeding. Sand the area you have repaired with the caulk and filler with fine sandpaper. Clean any dust particles away with a cloth. Install painter’s tape along the top edge of the baseboards, adjoining walls and ceilings so you do not paint on any unwanted areas.


Only sand the paneling if there is any damaged wood such as splintering. Smooth out the surface with medium-grit sandpaper. Use 220-grit sandpaper if there is a gloss or shellac on the paneling. Clean off any dust particles with a cloth. Rather than sanding, you can use a liquid gloss remover on the paneling and applying with a soft cloth. This product can be found at most home improvement retailers.


Apply a primer within one hour of using the de-glosser on the wood paneling. Use an oil-base primer, which can be better than water-based primers because the grease cannot permeate it and ruin the surface and it is more durable. Painting on the primer with a 3/8-inch nap roller will help it get into all the cracks and crevices. Work the primer into the cracks with a nylon brush if the nap roller cannot reach it. Thoroughly cover the entire wall and you should only need one coat of primer.


Wait for the primer to dry for several hours or according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The drying time could vary according to paint brands. Once the primer is dry, add an even coat of oil-based paint. Do this in the same manner as you applied the primer and use a 3/8-inch nap roller and a small nylon brush for the corners. Apply another coat of paint after the first coat dries. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times. Make sure to thoroughly cover the entire wall in paint. You may not need another coat, but apply another one if necessary.

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