Painting wood paneling has some added difficulties that you won’t encounter with drywall. Namely, wood paneling has vertical grooves that can pose a challenge, and it also tends to be smoother than drywall. These are the two main concerns, but they’re easily remedied. Professional painters paint drywall every day, but you don’t necessarily need a professional painter for your own projects. If you want to update the look of a room, painting is often easier than ripping out the wood paneling and replacing it with drywall. Updating your home to look more modern doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here is how to do it.
Preparing the Wall
One concern with wood paneling is how slick it is. It tends to be a very smooth surface that doesn’t hold paint very well. To prepare it for paint, you need to sand it with a medium-grit sandpaper. If you have a large wall or multiple walls to paint, you do not have to do it by hand. An orbital sander is a great choice, but be careful if you use a belt sander. They tend to be very powerful and could strip too much of the surface too quickly. You do not want to sand it all the way down to the bare wood. Instead, you want to rough up the surface enough so that it is receptive to paint. Also, be sure to hit every part of the wall. Opening all the windows and turning on all the lights is recommended because it will allow you to see the spots where the wall has not been sufficiently sanded. These spots will not hold paint as well, and they will also give a different sheen to the paint, which will affect the consistency of the color.
Before sanding, you’ll need to clean the wall and fill in any nail holes with wood putty. Once you’ve sanded the entire wall, you are ready to start painting.
Painting the Wall
Once you’ve cleaned and sanded your wall, you need to start painting. Choosing a roller is very important. You need a roller that has a medium nap. The nap should be long enough that it can apply paint into the vertical grooves built into the wall, but it should not be so long that you cannot apply an even coat. If the nap is too long, it creates brush strokes that are difficult to rectify.
Filling the vertical grooves is one of the most difficult parts of painting a paneled wall. That’s why it’s so important to use consistent vertical strokes. If you paint side to side or diagonally, the roller might skip over the lip of the grooves and leave inconsistencies. You should paint in vertical strokes that are as straight as possible. Also, you should be sure to always finish with a smooth downward stroke toward the floor.
Do not attempt to fill the crevices by applying more pressure over the crevices. This will cause unevenness in the color and the consistency of the coat. Apply the same number of coats to every wall with the same amount of pressure.