How to Paint Wood Wall Paneling

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Back in the '80s you spent two weekends putting up that nice wood paneling in your den. Now you're wondering what you were thinking, because you'll have to spend three weekends taking it down, sanding the walls and repainting. Why not just paint the paneling and save the time for something fun?

Things You'll Need

  • Brushes
  • All-purpose Cleaners
  • House Paints
  • Sponges
  • Wood Putty
  • Buckets
  • Drywall Joint Compound
  • Putty Knives
  • Sanding Blocks
  • Sandpaper
  • Fill any gouges, mail holes or cracks with wood putty of the same color as the paneling. If you have the grooved wood paneling, you may want to fill it in with joint compound.

  • Sand the filled areas smooth. You will also want to go over the entire surface with fine sandpaper on a sanding block. This will help the primer stick.

  • Use an all-purpose household cleaner and a sponge to clean the paneling. Wipe everything down and don't be afraid to scrub.

  • Apply a top-quality, stain-blocking alkyd primer. This will keep the paint's color true and prevent paneling's color from bleeding through.

  • Choose the best acrylic latex paint you can afford. Acrylic latex dries quickly and remains flexible, cutting down on peeling and chipping.

  • Apply two coats of paint when the primer is dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare the surface carefully. Paint won't stick to dirty, dusty or oily paneling.
  • Flat paints are harder to clean; semi-glosses and glosses are more likely to show touch-ups.
  • Paint will cover better if you have the primer tinted the same color.
  • Always use the same brand of primer and paint.

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