Paint that Paneling for an Updated Look

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Looking back through family photos, it seems like the vast majority of them were taken in houses with paneling. While paneling is not extremely common these days, the paneling that is left hanging on is usually in dire need of an upgrade or at least a facelift. If you have paneling in your home, you may be ready for a change of scenery, or if you have a home for sale, you may wish to breathe some life back into your paneling to increase sale potential. You can accomplish this by painting your paneling for a brighter, fresher look.

The first step in a paneling facelift is determining if it can hold filler in the grooves or not. Most paneling is flexible and moves when you press on it. This is the type of paneling that will have to move forward with grooves intact. Because these grooves expand and contract seasonally, you cannot disguise the grooves by filling them in as the filler will crack and break away. Rigid paneling may be able to hold a filling compound, but nothing is guaranteed, so to do so would be at your own risk of a potentially less than stellar outcome.

If removing the paneling and hanging drywall is not an option, paint can come to the rescue when it comes to hiding those old, unsightly panels. Start by sanding with 120-grit sandpaper so that all gloss is removed and you have a coarse surface to which paint will adhere. If your paneling is made of knotty pine, you will need to take additional steps to keep the wood resin from showing through your paint. An idea to prevent this is applying shellac primer with stain block after sanding.

Once you have sanded your paneling, the next step is to prime it. This will give you some additional adherence for your paint to set well against the paneling. Apply a coat of primer and let it dry, then examine your work. Is the primer sticking as it should? If not, that means more sanding is required. Should you notice issues with your primer not adhering as it should, do not continue. Take a step back to the sanding stage and repeat the process with 120-grit sandpaper again before continuing.

With your primer applied, dry, and free of issues, it is time to paint. With the latex wall paint of your choice, apply two coats to your paneling. The paint should be allowed to dry between each application to prevent running and other imperfections. Once your second coat is in place, allow it, too, to dry before resuming the usual use of the newly painted room.

Grooves will still be somewhat visible but overall the appearance of your paneling will be much improved. Depending on your paint choice, you may also have achieved an added brightness in your home, taking the dark days of paneling and putting them firmly in the past. For very little expense, you can take old paneling and give it a few more years of life, beautifying your walls and the overall appearance of your home once more.

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