Paint wood panel: A Complete Guide To Painting Wood Paneling

A Complete Guide To Painting Wood Paneling

By Emily Medlock

Emily Medlock Contributor

Emily Medlock is a freelance writer, published author, and certified life coach. Her passion is in home improvement, historical fiction, interior design, and helping others.

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Painting wood paneling can be just what you need to refresh your home. While paneling isn’t a popular choice for primary rooms today, it is an easy choice. But most paneling you see has been there for decades.

Paneling was a popular choice in the 1970s so most paneling in homes has been around since then. So maybe it’s time to take that paneling and update. Let’s find out how to paint old paneling to create an entirely new room. 

What Is Paneling? Why Painting Wood Paneling Is Important

Paneling is a wall covering material that comes in panels. It is cheap, easy-to-install, and has been around for decades. Paneling comes in all sorts of different styles, though it was traditionally made to look wooden.

There are real wood paneling options, which is what the first paneling was made from, but many paneling options are now made from other cheaper materials. Modern-day paneling is also quite thinner than traditional paneling. 

Because paneling is such a broad term it can be difficult to know where it is possible to paint the paneling that you have. Talking to a professional is your best bet for a customized estimate, but this will cover most paneling.

Is Painting Wood Paneling Hard?

In general, painting wood paneling is a little difficult. This is because there are so many different types of paneling. Some paneling is made like hardwood from the 70s and is placed board by board.

But other paneling is thin and almost cardboard-like. This paneling can warp and is very difficult to paint. The real wood paneling isn’t difficult to paint as long as you remove the previous finish with a sander.

How To Paint Wood Paneling

Image form tutorial – here.

When it comes to the work of painting paneling, it isn’t all that different than painting anything else. If you’ve done any painting then you’ve done it all. In fact, it’s very similar to painting the exterior of your home.

Here are the steps you can take to paint paneling. 

Step 1: Clean It All

Before starting to paint, get a damp rag and wash the paneling, ceiling, trim, and molding. You can probably just use water but if you notice grime then get a cleaner and clean it well, rinsing it when you finish. 

Step 2: Use Wood Filler

This is especially important if the paneling is wood grain. You need to fill any holes with a good wood filler and do the same with cracks. Allow it to dry and sand it down to be smooth. If the holes are large, you may have to use something stronger. 

Step 3: Caulking 

Since most paneling is old, it probably needs a good caulking job done to the trim. Check for any gaps around trim and molding and use caulk to fill them. Caulking isn’t difficult but it does have a learning curve. 

Step 4: Priming

After everything is dry, you can begin by priming the paneling. Taping the trim can be done before this but isn’t necessary if you are painting in the same color. In this case, just put window covers up. 

You should only need one coat of simple primer in white for a good base. One can of primer will cover most rooms, especially if it is a thin primer as most primers are thin and only need to be applied in one coat. 

Step 5: Painting

You probably need more than one coat of paint as paneling isn’t the easiest thing to paint. So make sure you calculate enough to do at least two coats of paint. It’s better to get too much than not enough as you can always return unopened cans.

After you have two coats under your belt decide if you think it needs another coat. Let it dry and notice any blotching spots. It may just need to be touched up. After the wall painting is done, you can start painting the trim if it’s a different color. 

Note: when painting the paneling, it’s a good idea to paint the crevices first. This is hard to cover and to reach. You may need to use a small brush. After this is done, go over everything with a roller to make it even. 

When Is Painting Wood Paneling A Good Idea?

Most of the time. However, some paneling is nearly impossible to paint as it will either warp or absorb every ounce of paint that you put on it. Then there’s some paneling that won’t accept the paint at all.

It’s a good idea to test a small patch before you do the entire room. Find an area that isn’t seen and test it out exactly like you would paint the whole room. Let it dry and see if everything looks good. 

If it does then you can continue. If it doesn’t then it’s time to consider other options if you don’t like the look of the original paneling. You can either tear it down or find something else to cover it up with.

Other Ways To Cover Paneling

If painting the paneling isn’t working, there are still other ways to cover it up. It should be easy to remove, so that is always an option. But if you prefer to simply place something over it, here are a few choices. 

Wall Liners

Aside from paint, wall liners are the most common way to cover paneling. A wall liner is a heavy-duty pre-pasted wallpaper that can be placed over paneling with or without grooves. Wall liners can be standalone or painted.

Think of wall liners as a primer for paint that works really well. However, wall liners don’t have to be painted. They can come in designs that look like wallpaper only they are easier to apply than wallpaper. 


A mural is a wall covering that can be made of cloth, plastic, or another material. It covers a surface and is usually a landscape or another detailed picture. Murals can be purchased online or made special by an artist.

The most common type of temporary mural is a canvas one. Canvas murals are easy to put up and can be taken down at any time. They work like a large tapestry or curtain that covers an entire wall.

Sand And Refinish

If you are lucky enough to have traditional paneling, it will be made of solid wood. So you can sand it down good and then refinish it with a new varnish. This will make your walls look very high-end.

If you have newer thin paneling this won’t be possible but you can try it out on a small area. Just know that after you sand it that there’s no going back so don’t do it unless you are sure about refinishing. 


If your paneling doesn’t have deep grooves, you can probably put up simple wallpaper. Be careful if there are grooves as the wallpaper can tear, even after it has been up for a while. If there are grooves, use a wall liner.

You can get a wall liner to use as a primer for the wallpaper which will have different design options than wall liners do. Choose carefully because wallpaper isn’t easy to apply and take down no matter how long it has been up.  


You can add another set of paneling either above or below the paneling you have up already. This can act as wainscoting or the old paneling can act as wainscoting. Use trim to separate the two in a traditional way.

If you want to create fake wainscoting, you can add some trim over the paneling. Then, you can add lines to either the top or the bottom. Another option is to paint only one side leaving the other side the original color. 


An alternative to painting is whitewashing. While whitewashing is a type of painting it isn’t as touchy as it doesn’t have to cover as well. So try it out on your paneling as it can also be painted over any color of the paneling.

The original color will show through at least a bit depending on the ratio of paint to water that you use. So use thicker whitewashing for dark colors you want to mostly cover up and thinner whitewash for light colors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can You Paint Wood Paneling With Grooves?

Painting wood paneling with grooves can be done, it is simply more difficult than painting wood paneling that doesn’t have grooves. It’s a good idea to start with the grooves and a small brush that can sink into the grooves. 

Is Painting Wood Paneling Hard?

This really depends on the type of paneling you have and the type of paint you use. It can be very simple but it also may take more effort than you would assume. So set aside some time and you should be okay.

Is Painting Wood Paneling One-Person Job?

It can be a one-person job to paint wood paneling. But most jobs, including this job, is easier if you have at least one helper. More than two and someone may just be there for moral support.

Can I Make Painting Wood Paneling Glossy?

Making wood paneling glossy when painting isn’t always easy. But if you use glossy paint and finish with a shiny clear coat then you can achieve that glossy look fairly easily. Don’t forget to prime for best results. 

Should I Remove The Paneling Entirely?

In most cases, removing paneling isn’t a bad idea. If you don’t like it, the best thing to do is remove it. It isn’t difficult to do even if you don’t have a lot of experience. The problem comes when you are adding something else. 

Because other options, like drywall or plaster, are difficult to do if you have never done it before. You can always hire a professional, which is highly recommended if you are hesitant. They can get the job done in no time. 

Of course, you will also pay a lot more to have someone do it for your than you would to just pay for materials. So if you can do it, then painting paneling is a job that can be done in one day with a partner. 

Everything You Need To Know To Paint Wood Panelling


By Kathryn Schultz/

Once a popular trend, wood-paneled walls are now a feature that immediately makes a home look dated. Unless you’re going for a groovy 1970s look (nothing wrong with that!), you may be trying to solve the challenge of how to modernize your space without having to sink a lot of time and money into removing all of the paneling. Luckily, with a quick trip to your local hardware store and just a few extra steps to your painting routine, you can update your space for a relatively low cost.

For this project, you’ll need spackle or caulk, a putty knife, primer, 150 grit sandpaper, a paint roller and brush, and the paint of your choosing. If your walls are already painted, you need to ensure that the paint does not contain lead. Per the EPA, it is best practice to assume that all homes built before 1978 were painted with lead-based formulas. If you want to be sure, you can purchase a lead testing kit at a hardware store, or hire an inspector to assess the paint by calling 1-800-424-LEAD (via EPA). If you find that the wood panels were painted with lead-based paint, you will need to skip sanding the walls and purchase a good primer instead.

1. Prepare the area


For a polished result, it’s crucial to start with clean, dry walls. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the entire wall. If there are stubborn stains or greasy spots, try wiping the problem area with a rag and a solution of dish soap and water. According to HGTV, any lingering grease may be visible through the paint, so it’s imperative to be thorough with your cleaning. Next, lay down a drop cloth to protect the floor and tape over any areas that you don’t want to be painted, such as outlet covers or trim.

2. Fill the grooves

Alena TS/Shutterstock

Use the spackle or caulk of your choice to fill any cracks, nail holes, and the telltale grooves in between the wood panels, using a putty knife to scrape off excess spackle.  The Home Depot points out that a caulk gun is great for filling the grooves in between the panels to create an even finish and minimize any traces of the wood panels. For best results, HGTV recommends waiting a full 24 hours for the spackle or caulk to dry completely before painting.




If you have determined that your walls do not contain lead paint, it’s time to sand. As The Home Depot explains, most wood-paneled walls have a shiny finish that must be sanded off so that the paint can properly coat and stick to the surface. While wearing a respirator and protective eyewear, use 150 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the entire area. Once finished, use a damp cloth to clean away any excess dust before moving on to the next step.

4. Prime the walls


The next step is to cover the walls in primer, including the trim if you plan to paint it. The Home Depot recommends an oil-based or stain-blocking latex primer, which is especially important if you skipped sanding. According to HGTV, you can use a paintbrush to ensure that the grooves in between the panels are thoroughly coated in primer, and apply a second coat to the entire area if you can still see the paneling through the first coat. A paintbrush is useful for smoothing over any drips or excess primer.

5. Paint the walls


Finally, it’s time to paint! Starting at the top of the wall, use a paint roller to apply a thin coat over the entire area, being sure to quickly smooth over any drips. In the same fashion as priming the walls, that handy paintbrush can be used for detail work to get in the grooves. Of course, be sure to follow with a roller for a smooth finish, HGTV advises. Let the paint dry completely before applying a second coat. Per the Home Depot, remove any painter’s tape before the final coat fully dries.


Original solutions for painting wooden surfaces in white, with the addition of antiquity or scuffs

White colors have always harmoniously blended into the surrounding interior, room decor, creating both style and simplicity, coziness and comfort. At present, it has become a fashionable trend and such painting in white tones is very popular, but at the same time preserving the wood pattern and texture itself.

We will paint facade panels for your house, wall paneling and imitation timber for interior decoration in the workshop. A large selection of colors will allow you to find the best solution for you. We will protect the tree from negative factors. Let’s add aesthetics. They say about us: “Lesobaza has furniture quality painting!” And it is true! See for yourself!

Paint shop Lesobaza.rf

White lining made of wood

Antique white lining in a modern interior

We would like to invite you to get acquainted with three very simple and therefore unique ways of creating artificial aging of wood and getting scuffs on the wooden planes of walls, floors, possibly for doors and furniture decor.

It is not so difficult to paint a tree and give it the look of an aged, dilapidated from time to time and a passing era, in this process you can “catch several birds with one stone” this is not to fork out for buying expensive antique trifles, but to give the necessary look to what we have in our house, in very affordable ways and means.

Artificially aged furniture

Beautifully aged furniture


Artificial aging of wood, in other words, brushing allows you to make the wood texture more expressive.

It is the brushing that makes it possible to highlight the wood pattern, emphasize its uniqueness and originality. And painting with different schemes, for example, using the patenting technique, will add sophistication to the material. We have been engaged in this interesting direction in decoration for many years. We constantly experiment and get really outstanding results. See for yourself!

Paint production Lesobaza.rf

This is also an affordable way to somehow diversify the atmosphere in the house, prolong life and take a fresh look at old furniture, which only yesterday was planned to be taken to a landfill or sent for firewood. White furniture, and even with traces of past times, will never lose its relevance and attractiveness. This is sophistication and sophistication, the presence of taste.

Paint shop Lesobaza.rf performs aging or patination of wooden surfaces of furniture and finishing panels, for interior decoration of houses and facades.

For a unique coat of aged whitewash, a water-based white or interior acrylic paint is a must. Such paints create an elastic film on the surface, do not have a sharp, suffocating smell, and there are no contraindications for using them indoors.

Board patination

renovation of an old chest of drawers

These methods are quite simple, without huge investments, but the end result is a stunning effect and a stunning appearance with its beauty and originality. Only by resorting to the use of these methods when independently “transforming” an ordinary piece of wood into something unusual and “expensive, exclusive” acquisition, you will see how paint radically changes the appearance of planed and rough, unhewn wood.
We will need:
– white water-based paint;
– quite convenient dishes for draining and mixing the compositions;
– brushes and rags;
– wax candles;
– spatula, metal scraper, any object for removing excess layer or applying compounds.

Antique decor

This action is suitable for both wood already processed on a grinder, as well as for products with a rough surface. This painting with rags is perfect for light Scandinavian interiors, for country style, and, well, for modern interior design. The whiteboard looks noble, refreshes the surface and brings flawlessness and neatness to the style, but at the same time you can easily admire the non-repetitive natural pattern.
– If the paint is thick, then it must be diluted with a solvent corresponding to the type of paint;
– then, in order to get an even layer on the tree, it is necessary to dip a rag into the resulting composition and distribute the paint, wiping the wooden surface with it;
– dry the surface well and apply another layer of paint for a more spectacular appearance. If this is not enough, then after the final drying of the surface, again with a rag, we distribute the composition.
It is not forbidden to use expensive professional brushes that do not leave behind streaks, smudges and uneven layers of paint.

DIY wall painting

Fashionable do-it-yourself wall painting

Unsanded, rough wood works best with this method, as this surface can achieve a rustic aged effect very quickly.
* we free the prepared material with a soapy solution and a brush from dirt and accumulated dust;
* as we already know that viscous paint must be diluted with a solvent to the desired consistency and convenient work;
* a certain volume of paint is poured onto a well-dried plane of the board and, using spatulas or pre-prepared scrapers,
spreads over the entire area of ​​the board.
An unpolished surface, after such a procedure, acquires a very beautiful and uneven tone, the paint spreads in different directions and the layers are distributed unevenly, for example, grooves and depressions are filled with paint almost to the brim, and it barely touches raised places.

Spatulas for wood

To create magnificent “antique” furniture, as well as for semi-antique restoration work, white paint is simply necessary, and skillful hands and imagination work wonders and masterpieces.
– strongly pressing the candle so that the candle trace remains on the processed board, we produce rubbing of the surface;
– apply white paint with a brush and wait until it dries completely;
– in order for the paint to move away from the places where the candles were walked, it is necessary to make an effort and press the rag when wiping a dry surface.
In the gallery of finished photo works, from the company Lesobaza.rf, you can see and appreciate the results of our work on designing in aged types of wood, painted white.
Applications of bright glass mosaics, ceramics can be applied to the white surface of walls and furniture, a pattern can be added to the children’s room, suitable attributes for the interior can be placed. This is all in general only in a favorable and new light, it will emphasize your choice.

Thank you for reading our articles and for choosing our company. Lesobaza.rf we will always come to the rescue, call us.

Wood aging with a candle

Antique white wood

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How to age a tree. Worn paint effect


#Ideas + Decor

#Paint + Protection

#Finish + Inside

#Color + Interior

Tips for repainting a wooden house

Wooden buildings require special attention and regular maintenance. Facade paint can last for many years, and even a decade, but even the best paint loses its qualities sooner or later. We recommend scheduling surface resurfacing before cracks, peeling paint, or signs of wear appear. We offer you to familiarize yourself with our recommendations that will help you complete this work quickly and efficiently.

Check that you have all the necessary tools and supplies for painting. You will need:

  • good quality outdoor brushes
  • paint
  • detergent
  • washing brush
  • plastic or cardboard for surface protection
  • masking tape
  • scraper
  • sandpaper
  • stepladder

Choose the right paint

First of all, decide what kind of paint your house is painted: water-based or solvent-based, matte or transparent? Do you know the exact shade? The easiest way is to use the same paint and shade or something similar. For example, if your facade was painted with water-based acrylate paint, you can only use water-based paint, organic solvent-based paints will not work for you. On the contrary, for solvent-based paint, you can use both the same and water-soluble paint.

Do yourself a favor when determining the color of your exterior paint and try it out in action. After that, there should be no doubt. Paint a piece of wood panel or plank and see how it looks when you attach the panel or plank to the wall you plan to paint. The color will change depending on the hour of the day, the season, or the direction the wall is facing.

A rule proven by practice and time – when repainting surfaces, one should choose the same or darker color. This is especially important for translucent coatings, as the original color will affect the final result.

If you want an opaque, weather resistant matte finish, choose a paint like Pika-Teho. Paint based on natural oil will protect the wooden facade of the house from bad weather for a long time. Thanks to its special strength and elasticity, Pika-Teho will adhere perfectly to the tree, saving you from worrying about painting for at least 20 years.

Vinha is an opaque, semi-matt wood exterior protective coating suitable for walls painted with acrylic, oil paint or clear wood enamel. The durable and wear-resistant Vinha coating is perfect for refinishing. Even the matt finish Vinha does not hide the beautiful structure of natural wood.

Painting work begins with surface preparation

First of all, clean the walls of various contaminants. Use the Tikkurila Homeenpoisto mildew remover, which not only removes mold and dirt, but also roughens the surface so that the new coat of paint is better absorbed into the wood. The brush, equipped with an extension handle, is a very handy tool for cleaning large surfaces. Make sure you remove all dust and dirt. Let the walls dry completely.

Carefully inspect the walls for peeling paint. Remove loose paint with a spatula, clean the walls with sandpaper.

Treat sanded surfaces with Valtti Primer. It will soak into the wood, slow down the effects of moisture and stop the spread of such a defect as blue.

Cover window frames, plinths and other surfaces that you want to protect with protective film.

Ready to paint!

Check the weather forecast before starting work. The best weather for painting is cloudy, not too cold, not too hot. Make sure it’s not expected to rain and try not to paint the façade in direct sunlight.

Now you are ready to work: mix the paint thoroughly before and during the work.