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Painting over Paneling

I have 1 wall in my basement with old paneling.  I would like to know how to paint over it instead of taking it down.

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Posted 2010-11-12T16:46:33+0000  by angielee4 angielee4

Hey there angielee4,


Thanks for the question, and welcome to our community! =D


The biggest problems that the paneling is going to cause us in the painting process, is the slick surface that they usually have, as well as the deep grooves.


  • First thing is first, we'll want to lightly sand the surface of the paneling. This will not only help us get rid of that topcoat sheen, but also to prep it for accepting the primer. Around a 60-grit sandpaper will do just fine. After this step, take a damp rag, and get up all the excess dust. For this project, just remember; Clean, Dull, Dry.

Next is a bit of a decision for you, based on how you want the end-result to turn out looking.


  1.  Flat, smooth wall that will make it like the paneling was never there
  2. Keep the slight contour and design of the paneling; but just change the look and color.


  • If you opt for #1, you'll be looking at a spackling job ahead of you. You'll want to arm yourself with some spackling or plaster (preferably pre-mix & non-shrink), as well as a good putty knife to do the job as well. This will be a lot more time consuming, but will leave no traces of the paneling afterwards. Make sure that you fill all the grooves and get it as smooth as possible with your knife. Allow the dry time it recommends on the product too, it'll take a bit. After it's set, give it a light sanding to cover you for any rough spots since they make show through the paint later if you don't.


  • For #2, we can simply start the priming process. When applying the primer (and the paint later), you'll need to brush the grooves with a paint brush, since a roller would go right over it. A nice angled brush will do well, and cut-in to the grooves just like you would the corners of the wall. Since we roughed up the wall earlier, the primer will bond great!


After you finished either of those, you can go right over with the paint of your choosing!


Also, if it's just a small wall-- there is another cool way to cover it up that I made a video for a little while back. It's a paintable wallpaper that can go right over the paneling as well. Check it out if you have time!~


Let me know how that works out for you, or if you have any other questions. And post pics of the finished wall when it's done too~ =)

Posted 2010-11-12T17:41:14+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Thanks Jay! This is exactly the question that I had! I will try your suggestions and see how it turns out in my bedroom and tell u how it turned out!

Posted 2011-05-28T21:52:59+0000  by twright
We're Having a Great Day in the Paint Department angielee4!

Hope that paneling project came out well.

Since you originally asked about painting paneling, several new "paint and primer" products have hit the market.

On first glance, a product that includes primer might be considered suitable to direct application to your paneling.

However, with time, we have found that even these top-end products need primer beneath them to adhere to clear coated surfaces.

How To:
So, whenever you encounter stained and clear coated surfaces (like paneling, furniture, trim, etc.) make certain to use and oil-based primer before applying paint.
Posted 2014-06-24T16:13:33+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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