How to Paint Paneling

For more pictures of the paneling I painted in my home press HERE.

Can paneling be painted over?

Yes, paneling can be painted with excellent results, if you are willing to put in the time. It's not a job that can be done in one Saturday afternoon. I'm an experienced painter and it was still an extremely time consuming process, but the results were worth it.

Do the lines and texture in the paneling look funny once its painted?

No, I think that they actually give the wall some character like a very subtle wallpaper.

How do you do it?

The most time consuming and crucial part is properly preparing the walls:

1.Remove all nails used to hang things on the wall, outlet and lightswitch covers, and grease and grime.

2.Clean the walls if they need it.

3.Sand off the glaze so the paint will stick. Use a 100-120 sandpaper. An electric sander works best.

4.Remove the dust with a damp cloth or sponge, rinsing frequently.

Once that's done, you can get out the brushes and rollers:

5.Apply a high quality, stain-blocking primer. I used KILZ.

6.Once the primer is on, you can see all the nail holes and the gaps between the paneling and the trim strips. Using a caulking gun, fill all the cracks between adjacent sheets of paneling and between the paneling and the trim. Smooth the caulking out with your finger. Small holes can also be filled with caulk using your finger. This is extremely time-consuming but well worth the extra effort.

7.I applied a second coat of primer at this point, but it may not have been necessary.

8.Apply the top coat of paint. I used semi-gloss latex on the paneling and oil-base high gloss on the trim.

9.I also replaced all of the brown electrical outlets and light switches with white ones.

E-mail me: eddington at byu edu

This page was last modified Dec. 22, 2005.