How To Paint Wood Paneling

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Removing or replacing wood paneling can be an expensive and a messy situation for your home.  Painting the wood paneling can not only be cost effective, but have a beautiful transformation.

How To Paint Wood Paneling

Let's go over the prep and tools you need to bring color to your wood paneling.


  • Remove Objects From Wall
Like any paint project, the results will sine best, if you're willing put in the right preparation.
    • Start by removing an nails or hooks from the wood paneling.
    • Next, locate any outlet or light switch covers and remove those as well.
  • Sanding

    Place a dropcloth on the floor and any furniture close to the area where you will be painting.
    • Use a sanding sponge and lightly knock down the sheen on the wall.
    • Move the sanding sponge in the same direction of the wood grain. This step is key in making sure the primer/paint can grab on to the newly sanded wood panel.
  • Tape the Wall

    Painter's tape doesn't want to stick to anything dirty or dusty.
    • Wash and dry your baseboards before applying the painter's tape.
    • Apply painter's tape on the trim and anywhere you don't want to get paint.
  • Prime the Wall

    With the tape set, it's now time to prime the walls. For the type of paneling we're painting we're going to use an Oil Based Primer.
    • Open up a few windows and get the air circulating when using a primer like this one.
    • Start by using a paint brush to get in the gaps or lines between the paneling.
    • Come back with a paint roller to get more coverage with your primer.
  • Patch It

    With the primer applied, it's time to to patch some of the spots that had holes in it from nails and hooks.
    • Using a paintable caulk or Spackle fill the holes.
      • We suggest using your finger vs. a putty knife. If you use a putty knife you may dig in or remove some of the grain with a tool like that.
    • Dip your finger in a Spackle bucket or caulk and put it in the hole.
    • Give your hands a good wash after applying the patch.
  • Paint It

    For this wood paneling we are using Clark+Kensington Paint and Primer in One and the sheen is Eggshell .
    • Just like the primer, you are going to start by filling in the gaps or cracks that are between the paneling first.
    • Once all of those crevices are filled in then you will move to rolling on the paint.
    • Wait 2 hours for the first coat to be dry and check and see if you can still see bleed through of the wood from the paneling. If so, apply a second coat.
  • Wrap It Up

    With the paint dry, it's time to remove the painter's tape from the wall.
    • Follow up next by placing your outlet and switch covers back on.

For more helpful tips and advice visit a neighborhood Ace.

Published: 1/30/2020