Have a wood paneling wall in your house that you are dreading painting? Read on to see my tips for how to paint wood paneling walls (the easy way!)
In our house, we have a lot of random walls with wood paneling – one wall in our bedroom, the wall going up the stairs, two and a half walls in the hallway (yes, half a wall is paneling and the other half isn’t! The walls are separated by a doorway), and the entire spare bedroom. I don’t know why only these walls have paneling, but for
When I started working full time from home and needed a home office, the most logical room to use was the second bedroom that was previously used for storage. I knew I wanted to paint the pale yellow walls, but I never really considered how annoying it can be to paint paneling walls. I figured it would be like any other wall and you can just grab a paint roller and go, but the paint did not want to go into the panelling grooves!
How to Paint Wood Paneling with Grooves: Tools Needed
- Wall paint in your choice of color – I used ‘Greige’ Blue Moose Paint from Giant Tiger (love that stuff!)
- Paint roller and cage. I
recomendone with an extendable arm
- Plastic Paint tray
- Paint edger (optional, but SO helpful!)
- 2.5” angled paint brush
I get most of my painting supplies at the dollar store, paint edger included! I did find out while painting this room that I do not recommend the dollar store paint rollers. The brushes are great, but I didn’t love the quality of the rollers. In the future, I’ll stick to buying multi-packs of rollers from an actual hardware store. But the paint tray, brushes, etc. you can likely find at a dollar store to save $$$.
If you’re Canadian and have a Giant Tiger near you, I HIGHLY recommend the Blue Moose paint! Blue Moose Paint has very limited colors – but I LOVE the colors they do have. It’s a very quality paint-and-primer in one that has an added vanilla scent, so you don’t have the nasty paint smell. An added plus is that it’s only $17 CDN for a gallon with
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Painting Wood Paneling with Grooves: Getting Started
1. Wash + prep your walls
Wash your walls! Warm, soapy water works or an all purpose cleaner. Now is also the time to remove any outlet and switch covers.
If you are painting wood paneling for the first time, or going over a very dark color – you may need to prime your walls. If you are painting over previously painted wood paneling, you can likely skip the primer. Since I was painting over light yellow walls and using paint that includes a primer, I opted not to prime.
2. Painting around Trim
I HIGHLY recommend getting a paint edger to go around your doors, windows and trim! It takes forever to tape it all off or even if you very carefully cut in around
The edger is SUPER simple to use – just dip it lightly in your paint tray, and place the wheels towards the trim. This lets it glide nicely right up against the trim, without touching it at all. It made crisp, clean lines. I found that the edger did a pretty good job of getting paint in the paneling gaps.
If you aren’t using the paint edger, use an angled paint brush and paint very carefully around
3. Brush over all paneling edges.
The trick for how to paint paneling walls is to use a brush in each paneling ‘groove’ before rolling. This ensures that paint gets into each crevice, whereas many spots were missed or the paint was uneven when using a roller.
Depending on how high your walls are, this can be the most
4. Use a paint roller for the remainder of the walls.
By the time I finished brushing the crevices on one wall, the first side was dry and ready to paint. This may depend on how fast your paint dries (the Blue Moose paint I used claims to dry to the touch within an hour). At this point, you can paint the wall like you would any other wall and roll right over the paneling.
How many coats of paint you need will depend on a few things: If the wall has ever been painted before, if it’s real wood paneling vs. laminate paneling, etc. I got pretty good coverage on my walls, except for the last wall I painted. I used a really light coat of paint on this wall because I was literally scraping the bottom of the gallon for any paint remaining.
Some people say multiple light coats of paint are better, but I honestly prefer doing thicker coats once – I have never had any issues with adhesion or dripping. I gave it one more coat of paint and voila!
Tip for painting ANY walls: Wrap your paint tray in a plastic bag or tin foil before pouring in paint, for SUPER easy clean up after. All you have to do is tie up the plastic bag or remove tin foil, and you can reuse your tray many times!
5. Touch up any missed areas
Depending on how porus your wood paneling is, there may be some parts that sucked up way more paint, or a few places that need touch ups near the gaps in the paneling. Once the entire wall was dry, I went back with a paint brush and touched up some parts of the paneling.
In the areas around the trim that were missed, I used a small craft paint brush to touch up the areas.
That’s it! It takes an extra step and a bit more time, but now you know how to paint paneling wood, the “easy” way! I love
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best color to paint wood paneling?
This depends on a few things – your preference for color, and what room the wood paneling is in. If you are painting wood paneling in a basement or a room without much natural light, go for a lighter color to brighten up
If you have a lot of natural light in the room and just want to update the look of your space, you can opt for an accent wall of a dark color (so you have a chance at needing fewer coats of paint!) and paint the remaining walls a neutral color – like my choice of Greige. I plan to paint our bedroom paneling as an accent wall later this year when we give our master bedroom a makeover!
What kind of paint do you use on wood paneling?
If it’s very porous, never before painted paneling – make sure you get a good primer first! Kilz primer is excellent. It’s also a good idea to opt for a paint and primer in one for extra coverage.
I find most people have a brand preference for paint, so experiment to find what works best for you. Behr, Sherman Williams and Valspar are all great options found in both the US and Canada. For Canadians, look for Blue Moose at Giant Tiger or Beauti-tone from Home Hardware.
How can I paint over paneling without sanding?
Sanding will definitly help your primer and paint stick to your paneling. Whether you need to sand will vary on the condition of your paneling. If it’s in rough shape, you should sand it to smooth out any knicks first. Since mine was already painted before, I didn’t bother sanding.
Most primers (including Kilz) claim you can apply without sanding. If you have shiny wood paneling it is always a good idea to give it a light sand first.
Can you paint over laminate wood paneling?
Yes you can! You will want to use a primer, and give it a light scuff sanding first. This will help to remove some of the shiny finish. It takes some extra prep work, but once that’s done – you can follow these steps just the same!