Q: Is there a more pliable product than spackle to fill in the grooves of wall paneling before painting? ? Karen, Kansas City, MO

A: Steve Thomas replies: The problem with trying to fill in all those grooves of paneling is that you can't be absolutely sure that the filler will stick. One product that is consistently pretty good is drywall mud, available in one- and five-gallon containers at your home center. I apply it with a broad knife as you would over drywall, then sand it. Add another application or two, with sandings in between, and that should get the wall smooth. Then you can go ahead and prime it, typically with a latex primer, and then paint it with a latex top coat.
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