One of the most common problems I see in homes is paneling.  Faux wooden paneling found its heyday in the sixties and seventies, and has become the nightmare of the modern decorator.
In those days, wooden paneling was often put up in lieu of drywall because it was easier and cheaper.  The problem with paneling is that it’s dark, dull, outdated, and difficult to replace.
Not everyone has the money or energy to take on the project of tearing out walls of old paneling and replacing them with drywall.  It can be a financial and mental drain.
Thankfully there is a cheaper solution.  Painting paneling has been an overlooked solution to this common problem.  I’ve met many people who did not believe that their wooden paneling could be painted, and many more that believed that painted paneling would look terrible.
Neither of those is true.  Paneling can be painted, and it can look great.  You can turn that dark and dingy paneling into something bright in the course of a few hours.  But there are several special preparation steps that need to be followed to get great and lasting results.
Here is what you’ll need:
·        Liquid Deglosser
·        Oil-based (Shellac-based) Primer
·        Latex Eggshell or Satin Finish Paint
·        3/8″ Nap Paint Roller
·        2″ Nylon-Poly Brush
·        Painter’s Tape

First Step: Deglossing
Begin by cleaning the paneling and taping off ceilings, adjoining woodwork, windows, etc…

·        Tip – Be certain that your area is well ventilated.  Turn on fans, open windows.

Wooden paneling has a natural gloss or shine to it.  The first step in ensuring that your paint will adhere to the surface is to remove the gloss.  You could sand the entire surface with fine-grit sandpaper…  But that is entirely too messy and labor intensive.  There’s an easier way.

Liquid deglosser is a great product that can take the sore muscles and dust out of the equation.  Once applied, it removes the gloss from painted and wood surfaces, allowing primer and paint to better adhere to the surface.

Using a lint-free cotton rag, apply the deglosser lightly to the surface of the paneling in five foot strips.  Allow the deglosser to sit on the surface for the directed amount of time (follow label instructions), then move to step two.
Work across the wall in sections…deglossing and then priming the deglossed area.  Deglosser is only effective for a set amount of time (usually no longer than an hour) so the primer must be applied over the deglosser in that amount of time.

Second Step: Priming
Select the right primer for your project.  For wooden paneling, I suggest an oil-based primer.  This adheres better than water-based and provides superior stain-hiding coverage.  But remember the tip about maintaining a well ventilated area.

Apply the primer with a brush and roller.  Use the brush to “cut in” and prime into the grooves of the paneling.  Roll out the remainder.

·        Tip – If you are intending to paint a darker colored top coat, use a properly tinted primer.

Third Step: Painting the Paneling
Finally, apply the eggshell or satin finish over the dried primer.  Be sure to allow primer sufficient time to dry before beginning to apply the paint.

Cut in along the edges and into the paneling’s grooves with a 2″ brush, then roll out the remainder of the wall with a 3/8″ nap roller.
If necessary, allow the base coat at least 6 to 8 hours to cure before applying a second coat.
When finished, remove all tape as soon possible.  If the paint has dried and formed a skin over the edge of the tape, run a utility knife along the edge of the tape to separate them.

Painted paneling can make a tremendous difference in the look and feel of a space.  Update (and upgrade) your outdated and dull rooms by painting paneling.