Wood paneling can be painted over to create a light colored room that better reflects natural and artificial light. The painting process is usually not reversible, so all details of the project should be carefully considered before the painting begins.
What to Paint
You'll want to paint over wood paneling when the paneling is inexpensive, properly installed and in good repair. Painting over expensive walnut or oak paneling is an aesthetic decision that is seldom made.
Clean the Paneling
Wash the paneling thoroughly with a strong soap detergent that can be mixed in warm water. Make sure you rinse the paneling thoroughly with clear cold water after the paneling has been scrubbed.
Fill or Repair Any Holes
Small holes can be filled with spackling paste and then sanded after the paste has dried and hardened. Sometimes the surface of the paneling may need to be sanded also. Large areas of damaged paneling should be removed and either replaced or the space can be left void of any paneling.
Never paint over water-damaged paneling, for it will have to be removed and discarded. Furthermore, if the room has moisture problems, leaving the old paneling in place might not be a good idea, because the paneling might be covering up a problem area.
Use a Sealer
The first coat of paint must be a high-quality (stain-killer) primer-sealer and it is possible that you might need to apply two coats. The sealer can be put on the walls with a paint roller.
Choose a good quality interior grade latex or acrylic paint for the top coat. Again use the roller to apply the paint.
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