How to Make Old Paneling Look Good

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Add paint to old paneling for a fresh look.
Add paint to old paneling for a fresh look. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Over time wood paneling on interior walls will become worn and dirty looking. But that old paneling can be looking brand new again in just a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood cleaner
  • Clean rags
  • Gloss remover
  • Primer
  • Paint brush
  • Silicone caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Paint
  • Glaze

Clean the paneling with a wood cleaner. Spray the cleaner up and down the paneling. Wipe down the paneling with a clean rag. Scrub between any grooves in the paneling. Apply a gloss remover in small sections on the paneling and rub it in the direction of the grain on the panels with a clean rag. Wait 30 minutes for the gloss remover to set.

Apply interior primer to the paneling with a paint brush. Dip the brush in the primer and cover the surface of the paneling with a thick, even coat of primer. Apply a second coat if the paneling is still showing through. Let the primer dry overnight.

Slide a tube of silicone caulk into a caulk gun and cut off the top of the caulk with a utility knife. Push on the trigger and run a bead of caulk in each of the grooves of the paneling. Move the caulk gun slowly up each groove. Wipe away any excess caulk with a putty knife. Let the caulking dry overnight.

Apply a coat of paint by using smooth strokes with a brush. Wait at least 45 minutes for the first coat to dry. Apply a second coat in the same manner.

Add a glaze to the paneling. Mix glaze and paint in a half-and-half mixture. Spread the glaze over the paneling in small sections with a paint brush. Wipe off the excess glaze with a clean rag and repeat the process for each of the remaining sections of paneling until there is a shine on each piece.

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