Painting Wood Paneling The Right Way

Wood paneling can lend a warm, cozy look and feel to any room, or it can look outdated and worn. If your home has wood paneling on the walls, how it looks is all in the eye of the beholder. With that said, you can breathe new life into your paneled walls by giving them a fresh coat of paint. 

Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to do a fair amount of prep work before you can begin painting as paneling has seams, lines, and nail holes that will need to be filled and sanded to create a smooth surface. If you’d like to paint your home’s wood paneling, follow the instructions below to do it right. 

1. Clean the Paneling

To ensure the primer and paint can adhere properly to the walls, you’ll need to clean the paneling thoroughly. Use a dry cloth to remove cobwebs and dust, then use a mild solution of dish soap and water to wipe down the surface to remove any remaining dirt or residue. 

2. Fill the Holes and Cracks

Any cracks, lines, holes, and the like will be more noticeable after the paint is applied, so you need to use a putty knife and wood putty to fill them all in. Further, you should use caulk to fill in the corners and where the paneling meets the trim and around windows and doors. 

3. Sand Everything Smooth

Use sandpaper to smooth the spots you filled with putty. Since sanding improves paint adhesion, you might want to consider sanding the entire wall if your paneling is extremely hard and smooth. 

4. Time to Prime

Primer does several things. It seals the wall, so stains won’t bleed through. It helps the paint adhere to the wall better, and it reduces the number of coats you’ll need to apply. There are different types of primers, so if you aren’t sure which one is best for your needs, be sure to ask a paint expert at your local home improvement store. 

When you’re ready to apply the primer, use an angled brush to cut in at the corners and around trim, window, and door frames. Use a roller to apply a thin coat to the rest of the wall surface, let it dry thoroughly, then apply a second coat. 

5. Paint!

Using the same technique as you did with the primer, apply two coats of paint to the walls. Choose a shinier paint for the trim than the walls, so it stands out and is easier to clean. 

Some people like wood paneling, some feel it’s outdated. If you’d like to get rid of the paneled wall look without the hassle and mess of tearing it out, try painting the paneling in your home instead. Follow the instructions above to ensure you do it right, so it looks great and lasts for several years.