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Painting Wood Paneling

I was looking for some advice on what type of primer and paint to use on existing wood paneling. Overall, it's not a large area but I'm just wondering what type of base and finish would adhere and look best.

Re: Painting Wood Paneling


I am assuming you are talking about paneling which has a stained and varnished finish, rather than painted. As in all painting, the surface should be clean, especially of any oily substance such as fingerprints, and should be given a light scuff sanding. My personal favorite for such paneling is BIN pigmented sealer. BIN is shellac based and has incredable adhesion and is very fast drying. Its odor is of ethyl alcohol and is not lingering. Further, it will stop just about anything which might stain through, suchs as ink marks or wood tannins.

As a final coat, I am still partial to oil enamels, although you can certainly use a quality acrylic over the shellac. Both oil or acrylic will have maximum dry time over BIN to allow them to flow out and minimize brush marks.

Re: Painting Wood Paneling

We like pics, it helps take out a lot of guessing. ;)

ordjen has you in the right direction.


Its odor is of ethyl alcohol and is not lingering

Depending on how large or "not large" the area, the smell lasts only 1/2 as long as most oil primers. If your not used to smelling oil paints, this ones a little stronger if your sensitive to smell. Use adequate ventilation.

As for finish, again pics would be nice.
Not a large area? Half wall, small room, laundry room. Just a few things that affect my choice in finish. Acrylics today are just as durable as oil im told. I have used acrylics in applications where if it where mine I would have used oil. Here it is years later the finishes still look new. So I’de have to agree with acrylics being durable. But high traffic areas for accented wood work (trim, wainscoting, tongue n groove, a half paneled wall) nothing beats oil when you want the best looking finish and durability.

Re: Painting Wood Paneling

Has anyone painted paneling without filling in the grooves? Just wondering if that might look too strange.

Re: Painting Wood Paneling

A "synchronicity"! I myself, have been cogitating over this very same matter (1 wall in my dining room is covered with ugly, fake panelling while the other walls are nice plain plaster). I've decided to paint over the panelling - sure, the lines will be visible to me, but nobody else will look that closely. Or if they did, they'd have a vague impression of wainscoating. That's how I'm rationalizing taking the easy route. I know myself - the only way I'll jump in & DO it instead of THINKING about it is to stop sweating the small stuff, like filling in lines.
Good Luck!

Re: Painting Wood Paneling

Fill the grooves with drywall mud. It will take two or three applications but it is doable. I had a choice between tearing off paneling on five floors of my 98 year old apartment building and after tearing off one panel, I quickly put it back up realizing the debris problem and labor I would have. After I filled the grooves, scuff sanded it with a fine grit paper, cleaned it, primed it and painted it. I looks like drywall eight years later and you can't see the grooves. The paint stayed nicely adhered to the paneling. Like any painting, prep work is 80% of the job.

Re: Painting Wood Paneling

Filling in the grooves depends on the look you want to achieve. Do you want to disguise the fact that you are painting over paneling? If so, then fill in the grooves. If not, then just prime and paint. I have heard of some people using a liquid de-glosser (can get it at any of the bug box H.I stores or any paint supply store). Use an oil based- shellac primer. For the paint, keep in mind that you'll need 2 coats ( at least). Choose an acrylic paint, it will help cut down on peeling and chipping. I think a satin finish paint will look best.
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josh the painter
Re: Painting Wood Paneling

Tsp substitute is a good deglosser and availible just about anywhere. if you cant get that lacquer thinner is a strong second , rubb after a scuff sand. make shure you follow saftey instructions. hope that helps

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