Painting Over Paneling

Q: My living room walls are now covered with dark, grooved wood paneling. Is it possible to fill in the grooves so I can paint or wallpaper over it?

—Dorothy Dister, Morenci, Michigan

A: Tom Silva replies: Yes, it is possible, as long as the paneling isn't solid wood, which shrinks and swells too much for any filler to work. But if your paneling is made of plywood or some other product, and it's securely fastened to the wall, treat it like drywall: Fill each groove with joint compound and cover each joint between the panels with compound and fiberglass tape. When the compound is dry, sand it and the rest of the wall, apply a coat of primer, and it'll be ready for paint or paper.

For instructions see How to Patch Holes in Drywall and How to Finish Drywall
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