The Best Way to Cover & Paint Paneling


Dark-wood paneling was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but it can now make a home look outdated and dark. Many people opt to remove the paneling and install drywall or to live with a dark, outdated room. Others choose to fill the grooves with a drywall compound and sand it until there is a proper, smooth surface for painting. With the right primer, however, paneling can simply be painted over without the mudding and sanding.

Things You'll Need

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Putty
  • Sand paper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Clean the paneling with a rag and all-purpose household cleaner. It is important to have a clean surface before you begin painting the paneling.

  • Apply a small amount of putty to all nail holes and scrape the excess off, leaving only the filled hole.

  • Sand the paneling with 100-grit sand paper. This type of sandpaper will make the surface a bit rough so that the primer and paint will better adhere to the glossy paneling.

  • Apply one coat of latex or oil-based primer using a brush or paint roller. Match the primer to the paint color as much as you can. Doing so will require fewer coats of paint.

  • Allow the primer to dry overnight before painting.

  • Paint the paneling with two to three coats of latex or oil-based paint.

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