Paint Over Indoor Wood Paneling in Five Steps

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Paint Over Indoor Wood Paneling in Five Steps

indoor wood paneling

Indoor Wood Paneling – Paint Over It!

Many different design elements were popular in the 1970s and homes built during that time often contained indoor wood paneling. Styles have changed significantly, so most homeowners choose to remove the paneling, but there is less expensive way to enhance a room with wood paneling – paint!

Remodeling and redecorating can be extremely costly, but on a small budget, paneled walls can be painted to create an inviting, dramatic, new look. If there is indoor wood paneling in your home, chances are it is dark – painting the paneling would be the best way to fix the situation and brighten up the room. 

You can always hire professional house painters, but for all you DIYers we have five steps to follow if you choose to paint your indoor wood paneling:

  1. Sand Down and Clean the Paneling Surfaces – Be sure you want to make the choice to paint the paneling, because once you do it cannot be undone. First, you’ll need to cover baseboards and crown molding with tape and a drop cloth and take off all of the switch plate covers. To allow the primer and paint to adhere to the paneling surface, you will need to sand it. For best results, we suggest using a 100-grit sandpaper. After you’re finished with sanding, wipe the wall with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust. The final step is to wipe the walls with a chemical deglossing liquid to remove the paneling’s old finish.


  1. Apply Oil Primer to the Wall – In order to avoid the paint from peeling or blistering, it’s necessary to apply a high-quality oil primer to the indoor wood paneling. Priming will cover the color and grain of the wood paneling and create a smoother surface. Without using any primer, it might take more than two coats of paint to cover the paneling effectively. The primer can also be tinted to closely match the color of the paint, or a shade or two lighter


  1. Fill in the Grooves – To eliminate the grooves in the paneling it’s best to use joint compound or spackling to fill them. If you choose a semi-gloss finish, the spackle will have to be primed as well before the paint is applied.


  1. Cut In – In order to help the paint coverage on the paneling, you should use the “cutting in” technique. This is simply painting three inches inward along the edges and corners of the walls with a paintbrush before painting the wall surface with a roller. The distance should be wide enough to cover areas paint rollers cannot reach or anywhere the roller might scrape and mark adjacent ceilings and floors.


  1. Paint the Paneling – The grooves of the paneling will not cover easily with a roller without applying primer. With the first coat of paint on the paneling, use a brush to fill in the grooves, then blend with a paint roller to hide the brushstrokes. On the second coat, don’t use the brush at all, just the roller.

No matter how much indoor wood paneling you have in your home, there is a painting remedy available. When you’re ready to start painting your paneling, if it gets to be overwhelming, contact us for a free quote and we’ll be happy to handle the job for you!

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