Painting wood paneling - The best and fastest way (2023)

How to paint over faux wood paneling

Painting wood paneling is an easy and inexpensive way to revamp a room with wood paneling.

Although many home improvement websites tell you to clean wood paneling with TSP, sand, prime, sand again, prime (if you removed some of the primer during sanding), and then paint, I've found that it does a lot of work. more work is more than is needed for most wood paneling.

If you want to paint your wood panel and you don't have days to dedicate to the project, read this post about the best and fastest way to paint wood panels.

Frequently asked questions about painting wood panels

Before we dive into the wood panel painting guide, please read these FAQs.

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Are wood panels obsolete?

Wood paneling was all the rage in the 1970s. While some trends stand the test of time, wood paneling does not.

In my current house, I have wood paneling on two of the walls in the family room. They are classic 1970's dark wood paneling, with some 'planks' thicker than others. Some people would call it faux wood, but this type of wainscoting is actually a composite wood product, much like plywood.

For about a year and a half I waited for this style of wainscoting to come back into fashion. Finally, the mid-century modern style is back, the colors of the 70s are back. Why not wood paneling?

But after living with wood paneling for a while, I realized my wood paneling style wasn't about to make a comeback. It was very dark, lopsided (by the way, why are some boards thick and others thin?) and kind of ugly.

So I decided not only to paint my wood paneling, but also to fill in the lines to make the walls appear smooth.

Click here for more information on howI filled in the lines on my wood panel to make it look like drywall.

Just to clarify, I don't actually think all wood paneling should be painted. If you have beautiful stained solid wood paneling that you love, don't! Wood accents in a home are warm, earthy, and downright elegant. But if your costume is more of an eyesore than an accent, maybe it's time to paint it up.

Now that we've covered all of that, let's move on to the basics of painting wood paneling.

Can panels be painted without sanding?

Yes. It is not necessary to sand the trim before painting it.

(Video) How To Paint Wood Paneling - Ace Hardware

Unless there is a good reason to sand the wood panels, e.g. B. because it is rough or there are holes that need repair, I have found no reason to sand the wood paneling before painting.

Also, sanding the wood paneling will make your room feel dusty, which means a lot more work for you. This fine dust is dispersed throughout the room, absorbed by the home's heating/cooling system, and then deposited throughout the home. That means your entire house needs to be dusted (and if that fine dust really bothers you, you probably want to wash all your bedding that isn't in a drawer or closet).

Also, I'm always concerned about asbestos in household products made before 1978. You may want to do your own research, but suffice to say, for this reason and those listed above, I don't recommend sanding wood paneling before paint.

Is it necessary to prime the panels before painting?

Yes. You must prime your wood panel before you paint it.

I generally don't recommend using a primer when painting walls. I didn't find it necessary and I don't have time to do extra steps that aren't necessary.

But there are some exceptions to this. Fairing paint is one of them. I always recommend using a primer before painting your wood paneling.

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There are four main reasons why you need to prime wood paneling before painting.

First of all, the primer contains special adhesive elements that stick to wood paneling better than paint. If you were just putting paint on the wood paneling, the paint would probably peel off easily if scratched with a fingernail or other hard object (toy car, furniture, etc.).

Second, the primer prevents stains or dark wood stain from seeping into the paint. This will ensure that the wall color is consistent.

Third, using a primer allows you to use less paint. Wainscoting soaks up a ton of paint if not primed first. You will paint and paint and paint and wonder where it all went. If you apply a primer before painting the wood paneling, you can get away with just two coats (like a regular wall).

Finally, if you want to paint the wood panel without sanding it first, you'll need to use a primer.

What color do you use for the fairings?

After the wood panel is prepared, you can use any type of good quality latex paint to paint it.

I usually useSherwin Williams Superfarbefor most of my wall projects. I like the opacity it gives and it works exactly as paint should.

(Video) How To Paint Wood Paneling The RIGHT Way - Living Room Makeover

How to paint grooved wood panels?

If your panel has shallow grooves, you can paint the entire wall with a roller. OKWoster, choose a 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch nap roller for finishing. Remember, the deeper the groove in the fairing, the higher the corrugated roller must be to enter the groove.

Now I painted some wood panels where the groove is too deep for a roller to reach. In such cases, you should use a brush. Brush all the lines and then roll the rest. It takes a lot longer to do it this way, but sometimes you just don't have a choice.

Since it takes much longer to paint the trim with a brush and roller, I would suggest painting the trim with a roller first. If that doesn't work, continue with the two-step method.

To learn how to paint wood paneling, check out this guide.

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How to paint wood paneling

Find out how to paint wood paneling - the quickest and easiest way!


  • Imprimador PrepRite ProBlock
  • super miss


  1. Using a good quality primer, brush the primer into the wood finish, making sure it gets into the grooves in the finish.
  2. When the primer dries (1-2 hours), paint the surface of the panel with a paint roller. If the paint only goes into the grooves with the roller, skip step 3.
  3. Paint the grooves with a brush.
  4. Edge the ceiling, baseboards, and around doors and windows with a brush (see this post for more on brush edging).how to paint a room).
  5. When the paint is dry (1-2 hours), repeat steps 2-4 for a second coat.


Be sure to choose a suitable primer for smooth surfaces. This will help the paint adhere well to the wood paneling and reduce the chance of the paint being abraded off.

(Video) How to Paint Paneling Easy-DIY

What is the best color to paint fairings?

Choosing a color to paint your wood paneling can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Consider the overall style you are going to choose for the room to determine what color to paint the panels.

As I mentioned earlier, painted paneling works particularly well in a country, luxury, farmhouse, or even coastal-style home.

Therefore, I would recommend painting the panels a light shade. Good color choices for a painted finish are white, light gray, yellow, or light blue. For more wood panel paint color ideas, check out these posts:

white lacquer colors

gray ink colors

Greige Lackfarben

blue ink colors

coastal colors

Painting costumes - before and after photos

Here is my living room before painting the panels. It had very dark wood paneling on two walls and beige wallpaper on the other two. Also, it has a lot of trees outside that block the sunlight. Overall this made the room very dark.

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After painting with primer I decided to fill in the grooves. This is what the fairing looks like with a primer.

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You can see the benefit of a good primer - you can't see the color of the wood with just one coat of this primer!

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(Video) How To Paint Wood Paneling - Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer

This is how the wall looked after filling in the grooves. You can find more about that in my post below.Make wood paneled walls look like drywall.

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And this is how the wall looked after painting. It looks like a wall, right? This is exactly what she wanted.

The room looks like this now:

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Don't worry about the weird "work of art"...

I think the room looks much better now that my wood paneling is painted. It looks fresh and up to date and is much brighter!

Final Thoughts on Faux Wood Panel Painting

Painting your wood paneling is a simple project that will make a big impact on the space. It refreshes instantly and keeps it clean and shiny. Plus it's cheap! Start painting your wood paneling today!

Want to see all your color options in one convenient place?Look mineAmazon Store, where you can get everything you need to start painting, includingSherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paint colorful decks!

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(Video) How to Paint Paneling | Wall Ideas & Projects | The Home Depot
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