How to Paint Over Glossy Wood Paneling

  • 168 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 140-220
What You'll Need
Soft cloths
Wood putty
Putty knife
Sandpaper, medium-grade
Old sheets
Plastic sheets
Masking tape
Painters tape
Painters mask
Primer, oil-based
Paint, oil-based
2 Wide paintbrushes
2 Rollers

Wood paneling adds charm and elegance to a room. The downside, though, is that the paneling tends to darken a room. One solution available to you is to paint over the paneling. This saves you much time and money as opposed to removal. Much of the work lies in preparation of the room before you paint. The steps outlined below will help you accomplish the task efficiently.

Step 1 – Degrease and De-gloss

Thoroughly clean the paneling with a degreaser. This helps to clear accumulated oil and dirt. It ensures proper adhesion of the primer and paint. Once you’re satisfied that the paneling is clean, apply a de-glosser. This ensures that the paint lasts longer. Use a soft cloth to apply de-glosser in the direction of the wood grain. Let the de-glosser dry.

Step 2 – Repairs

Drive in nail heads that have popped out with a hammer. Fill nail holes with wood putty. Apply the putty to cracks in the wood as well as gaps in between the paneling.

Step 3 – Sanding

Use your sandpaper to smooth the dried putty. This ensures that the primer and paint adhere properly to the paneling.

Step 4 – Tape off Areas

Move all furniture to the center of the room. This creates plenty of space for you to move comfortably as you work. It also puts the furniture a safe distance away from contact with paint. For extra safety, drape the furniture with old sheets. Place plastic sheets on the floor and secure with masking tape. Use painter’s tape to cover areas on the wall that you do not intend to paint such as crown moldings and baseboards. Remove covers to electrical outlets with the help of a screwdriver.

Step 5 – Apply Primer

Wear a painter’s mask to prevent inhalation of fumes, especially in the case of oil-based primers. Open all windows and doors in the room to ensure proper ventilation. Apply the primer with a wide paintbrush, in the direction of the wood grain. Be sure to reach all corners and edges with your brush. Use a paint roller to spread the primer evenly over the paneling. One coat is sufficient. Allow the primer to dry completely. This may take up to half a day.

Step 6 – Apply Paint

Use a separate paintbrush and roller to apply paint, in the same manner as primer. Allow the first coat of paint to dry as required, then apply a second coat. Let the paint dry completely. Allow at least 3 days for the paint to cure before you hang any pictures on the paneling.

Step 7 – Finishing

Remove the tape and plastic sheets. Return all furniture to its original position. Re-install covers to electrical outlets. Use a paint remover or thinner to clean your paintbrushes and rollers. Place them outside to dry in the sunshine then store away safely.