How To Paint Paneling

Want to brighten up a room by painting your old paneling?  Make sure to follow all of the steps below to make sure you have a trouble-free project.  Painting paneling requires more prep work than a normal painting job and skipping even one step may cause unsatisfactory results.


Materials Needed

Bonding primer, 100% acrylic paint, sandpaper, household cleaner, brush & roller




  1. Wash the paneling with a cleaner such as Formula 409.  Oil, grease and dust cling to paneling, so it is crucial to clean thoroughly.  If the paneling is in a kitchen near a stove or where food is prepared, clean the surface twice.  Rinse the paneling with water when you are finished in order to remove any residue left by the cleaner.
  2. If your paneling is glossy it will need to be sanded for proper adhesion of the primer.  Sandpaper should be used for de-glossing as steel wool may leave fibers on the surface which can rust when subjected to a water-base primer and finish coat.  Use a damp rag to remove the sanding dust.  DO NOT use a tack rag, they contain an oil that will prohibit water-based coatings from sticking to the paneling. 
  3. Apply a bonding primer using a brush and roller.  We suggest using a block-out primer which will cover dark paneling in one coat and will also prevent the color of your paneling from bleeding through your paint. 
  4. Apply an eggshell of satin sheen paint as a topcoat.  Brush or roll on two coats for the most protection against stains and scratches.

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