Painting over wood paneling

Painting over wood paneling


I bought a fixer upper – one of the big reminders were wood paneling walls in several rooms of the house. I thought my only choice was to remove the walls, then heard it was possible to paint them. And it definitely is. With just a few extra steps compared to other walls, I have white walls that slightly resemble Joanna Gaines’ shiplap.  Okay, okay that’s a little wishful thinking.

Below I share the steps I took to get from wood paneling to a white, accented wall! Here’s what we started with:

First, we started by wiping down the wall. Then, we used a sander to lightly remove the varnish (especially necessary if it’s really shiny).

Wash again using TSP – my super secret to painting.

Well, TSP is meant for painting so I suppose it’s not a secret – but it really helps the paint to stick and to remove any residue. I’m careful to scrub it on then wipe off with a clean damp cloth, so it does not dry with the TSP. When washing walls or ceilings, usually I do a section at a time then rewipe with a clean bucket of hot water.

Then, you use OIL BASED PRIMER. This is key.

Personally, I use Kilz for all my oil based priming. It came recommended once and I never looked back. The key with paneling with be to not load it up in between the panel. Our technique was to use a brush to go vertically through the lines then use a regular roller to get it nice and even. Be sure to fully let your priming layer dry – we used 2 coats because we wanted to have a solid base (add time in between priming coats). Plus, it’s cheaper to use 2 coats of primer and one coat of paint.

Ta da! A beautiful painted wall without having to tear anything down!

Estimated work – This was part of a bigger project, but it can be done in a weekend if you sand/wash the first day, prime the second and paint the third.

Needed materials: TSP, Kilz Oil Based Primer, & Other Painting Materials Materials (bucket, scrubbing sponge, clean rags, hand sander or electric sander, sander replacements, paint roller, paint brush, painters tape)


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