How to Paint Grooved Wood Paneling


A room with wood paneling doesn't have to look dated or drab. While removing the panels is a possibility, a simple makeover solution involves selecting a paint in a colorful hue. It may be tempting to jump right in and begin painting, but wood paneling really does need to be sealed with a coat of primer. Primer will keep tannic acid from leaching through your topcoat, as well as help the paint bond to the surface of the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Alkyd-based primer
  • 1 ½-inch angled paintbrush with natural bristles
  • Mineral spirits
  • Rag
  • Roller handle
  • 2 roller sleeves
  • Paint pan
  • 2 paint pan liners
  • Sanding block
  • Latex paint
  • 1 ½-inch angled paintbrush with synthetic bristles
  • Soap
  • Apply the primer along the outer edge of the wood paneling with an angled natural-bristle brush. Take care not to get any primer on the ceiling or trim.

  • Use the brush to apply paint to the groove between panels. Run the brush over the same area more than once to distribute excess paint before it causes drips.

  • Clean oil-based primer off the brush with mineral spirits. Swish the brush in several changes of mineral spirits. Wipe the brush off on a rag.

  • Roll primer onto the panels with a paint roller. Roll over any lap marks to ensure that the final coat of paint is smooth and free of textures.

  • Run your hand over the primed panels. If the surface feels rough, you can sand it lightly with a sanding block. Wipe off the walls afterwards with a damp rag to remove dust.

  • Coat the primer with paint as soon as the manufacturer recommends. This will help the paint bond to the primer.

  • Cut in the paint along the edge of the walls with an angled synthetic-bristle brush. Fill in recessed areas where the roller can't reach.

  • Roll paint on the panels in small sections. Apply paint in a horizontal direction. Do a final pass of the roller in a vertical direction.

  • Expect to apply two coats of paint. Wood panels can be porous.

  • Wash your brush with soap. Rinse it under running water. Re-lather the brush with soap, if necessary.

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