Painting Paneling

Painting paneling is something that very few people consider as a decorating option.

Seventies paneling is one of the great scourges of the modern homeowner. It’s dark, outdated, and incredibly dull.

But what can you do about it? Tear it all out and drywall? Possible, but not always in the budget.

Can paneling be painted? Definitely.

You can turn all that dark, dingy paneling into something bright and sunny in the course of a single day.

The key to achieving attractive results when painting paneling is in the preparation.

Here is what you’ll need:

Necessary Paint Products

  • Liquid Deglosser

  • Oil-based or Shellac-based Primer

  • Latex Satin Finish Paint

Necessary Paint Supplies

  • 3/8” Nap Roller Cover (2)

  • Roller Cage

  • 2” Angled Nylon-Poly Brush (2)

  • Lint-Free Cotton Rags

  • 2” Painter’s Tape


Deglossing the Paneling

Begin by taping around the ceiling, windows, doors, floor trim, and any other woodwork or trim that is present.

The first step to successfully painting paneling is to remove the gloss from the wood.

Deglosser is a great product that removes the gloss from wood and painted surfaces, allowing primer and paint to better adhere.

I will give some general directions here, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for the particular deglosser you purchase.

Using a lint-free cotton rag, apply the deglosser to the surface of the paneling in five foot strips, applying up and down in the same direction as the wood grain.

Apply the deglosser lightly to the surface, do not rub hard.

Allow at least thirty minutes for the deglosser to work, or per manufacturer’s instructions.


Priming the Paneling

If you plan to use a darker colored latex paint as your top coat, you should consider using a tinted primer. A gray primer (as opposed to typical white) can aid in the coverage of a darker colored paint.

Begin applying oil-based primer to the five foot strip of deglossed paneling. Cut in along the edges with the 2” Nylon/Poly brush.

Once the edges have been cut in, roll out the remainder of the wall. Be sure to get solid coverage on the entire wall…any areas left unprimed may bleed through the final coat of paint.

Repeat steps 1 and 2, one section at a time, until you have completed the entire surface you wish to paint.


Painting Paneling

The final step of the process is simply applying the satin finish paint to the primed surface.

Cut in with the 2” Nylon-Poly brush as you move along the wall, rolling out the main part of the wall with your 3/8” nap roller.

If necessary, allow the first coat of paint at least six hours to dry before applying a second coat.


Removing the Tape

Remove the tape from the trimwork, ceiling, and any adjoining sections while the paint is still wet. If this is not possible, run a utility knife along the line where the tape and paint meet, to keep the tape from tearing the edge of the paint when it is removed.

As you can see, painting paneling is a fairly simple process, and the look you achieve will be miles and miles beyond the dim and outdated look of your old wood paneling.

All without the major hassle of drywall.

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