How to Paint Vinyl Paneling

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Sand the paneling to encourage adhesion.
Sand the paneling to encourage adhesion. (Image: sandpapier image by Thomas Aumann from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

If you would like to finish your vinyl paneling with a coat of paint, you will need to employ a specific preparation strategy or you will not be able to achieve adequate paint adhesion. Because vinyl is a poor candidate for paint, you will need to abrade the paneling with sandpaper, prior to application. In addition, you will need to coat the vinyl paneling with a particular type of paint, depending on its location, or you may end up with a finish that will eventually fail.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloth
  • Broom
  • Palm sander
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Latex bonding primer
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Roller frame
  • Nap roller cover
  • Extension pole
  • 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
  • Satin latex paint
  • Acrylic latex primer
  • Acrylic latex paint
  • Soap coarse brush

Open your doors and windows to provide ventilation.

Protect the floors beneath the vinyl paneling by covering them with fabric drop cloths.

Dust the vinyl paneling with a broom.

Enhance adhesion by scouring the vinyl paneling with sandpaper.

Wipe the sanded paneling with a tack cloth.

Apply painter's tape to portions of the paneling you don't want painted.

Coat the sanded vinyl paneling with latex primer, using a roller. Smooth the wet primer, using a paintbrush manufactured for use with latex paints. Wait 2 hours for the primed paneling to dry.

Wash all of your painting tools with water.

Coat the primed vinyl paneling with satin latex paint. Apply paint to the vinyl just as you did the primer. Wait 2 hours for the painted paneling to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tack cloths are ideal for removing unseen dust particles that can inhibit adhesion. Don't use a plain rag or you could have adhesion problems.
  • If the vinyl paneling is located outdoors, use an acrylic latex primer and paint.
  • If your vinyl paneling is marred with heavy dirt or oily stains, you must clean these with dish soap and a coarse brush prior to sanding.
  • Don't prime over unsanded vinyl paneling or the finish will peel.
  • Don't paint bare vinyl paneling or the paint will fail.

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