Painting Over Paneling? How To Get It Done Right

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Paneling was seen in a number of homes back in the 1970s and 1980s. It was a way to give a home that luxurious wood looks without costing too much money. Installing paneling, when done correctly, is usually done with very strong glue. When you remove the paneling, you're left with these glue marks that can be very difficult to remove. It can take a lot of sanding or the removal of the drywall altogether in order to remove the glue. This is why painting the paneling is sometimes a much cheaper and better way to cover up the old ugly paneling and to give your home an updated look. Read on for tips to paint over paneling in order to get it done right.

Tools For The Job:

  • Primer
  • Paint
  • 3/8" nap rollers
  • Angled paintbrushes
  • TSP cleaning solution
  • Rags
  • Bucket with water


  1. You need to begin by cleaning your paneling. A lot of years worth of grime is on that paneling, and it needs to all be cleaned off in order for the paint and primer to adhere properly without peeling off. Clean the wood with a strong cleaner such as TSP, which can also strip away the shiny coating on the wood to allow the paint to soak in better. After using this type of cleaning solution, you'll need to rinse off the cleaner with warm water. Allow your paneling to dry thoroughly before you attempt to paint or primer.
  2. Once your paneling is dry, you can begin priming. Put primer on the paintbrush and paint it on the paneling in between the grooves and around the edges of the paneling.
  3. After you've filled in any of the crevices and grooves, you can use the roller to paint the primer onto the paneling. Allow the first coat to dry, then apply a second coating.
  4. Next, you can begin painting the paneling. You need to be sure the primer adhered properly and isn't bubbling or peeling off before you start painting. If it is, you need to sand down the paneling and start over. Paint the paneling the same way you did the primer. Get in between the grooves, being sure to catch any drips, then around the edges.
  5. Finally, roll the paint onto the paneling. Allow the first coat to dry, then add a second coat if necessary.

Paneling can be unsightly, but it can be difficult to remove and costly to repair the wall behind the paneling. Paint the paneling instead to update your home. Hire a professional paint contractor to help you with this task, especially if you have a lot of paneling in your home.