How to paint cedar paneling?

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My sister and I are remodeling an older cottage; it has all cedar walls and we would like to lighten the whole interior how can we paint the walls without it looking cheap and/or cheesy? We are also wanting to paint the cabinets...

q how to paint cedar paneling

Where do we start?????

  11 answers
  • I think she would probably have to fill all of the knots with filler to get them smooth, then wash the whole area with TSP, and give it several coats of paint

  • Anna Anna on Aug 22, 2018

    Bondo works great to fill up the knots, tsp then a good primer like zissner primer, a top coat of paint or two and beautiful walls.

  • Lori Niemi Laksonen Lori Niemi Laksonen on Aug 23, 2018

    We used semi-transparent white stain on our new cedar in our cabin and it brought out the beauty if the wood and the blemishes (water marks and such). You'll have to sand it first which shouldn't take much, I've been doing our old cabinets and it hasn't taken too long. Putting the white stain on these also.

  • Leslie Leslie on Aug 23, 2018

    Thanks to all of you!

  • Lou Lou on Aug 23, 2018

    Looks more like knotty pine than cedar, but the tips are good either way. I wouldn't worry too much about the knots, but I would fill all the nail holes, as they will show through the paint. You might want to paint the cabinets a couple of shades lighter (or darker) than the walls, or a completely different contrasting color.

  • Valleycat1 Valleycat1 on Aug 23, 2018

    I once painted some cheap glossy paneling. Just used a really good primer then a couple of coats of good paint. No sanding (we were willing to just rip out the paneling if my paint idea didn’t work). Still looked great when we sold the house 10 years later.

  • Kristin Gambaccini Kristin Gambaccini on Aug 23, 2018

    KILZ brand paint and primer would work well to cover the color and wormholes!

  • Hayden Scharrer Hayden Scharrer on Aug 23, 2018

    First off, make sure you prime those walls first. Although most paints now come with paint and primer in them, it's not going to be enough to block the tannen. You can use primer such as Killz and give them one coat of primer using a roller, then use any latex paint you would typically use.

  • Ted Rowland Ted Rowland on Aug 23, 2018

    Okay. I am going to dispel mythology here. You can leave the knots without filling them, and it will look like painted paneling, which is a desired look. Do not use TSP indoors. You will have to rinse so much that it will be ridiculous. TSP will interact with paint, and says on the box, Do not use on painted surfaces. Dish soap will remove any greasy prints around handles or whatever, and will be okay with normal rinsing. You are going to want to go to Sherwin Williams, or a paint store, and ask for the type of KILZ, or Zinser primer to convert from oil to latex. (Latex will not stick over varnish or poly urethane). Both KILZ and Zinser come in 3 different formulations, one for oil priming for oil paint, one for latex over latex, and one to convert surfaces that are varnish, oil, and poly urethane, to a surface that can accept latex paint. YOU CANNOT JUST PAINT OIL BASE PAINT OVER THIS EITHER. That is a myth. Have them TINT YOUR KILZ to the same color as you will paint the walls and cabinets. You must wear a mask that filters paint odors, and raise the windows while doing this. Leave for 4 hours after priming. You can use a 3/4 inch lambs wool roller, and go up and down with the groves, and use a 2.5 inch sash brush. Coat 2 coats KILZ, and 2 coats of good latex paint. It will look like a million bucks when you are done. Happy painting.

  • BrokeCrazyLady BrokeCrazyLady on Aug 24, 2018

    I've always thought part of the charm of an old cabin was the woody smell. I'd consider painting the wall at the back of the picture with a really light color, tossing down a few bright colored throw rugs and lightly sanding the walls but leaving it raw wood (not even sealing it.) If it really is cedar, you've got a bug repelling scent that is quite pleasant; even if it is knotty pine as someone else suggested, it would still smell great in the cabin without using costly oils and candles.

  • Jennifer | CrazyDiyMom Jennifer | CrazyDiyMom on Sep 21, 2018

    Just be sure to use a primer that will cover the sap that wants to peek through the paint. Ask me how I know  We used Zinsser (the kind that says it will cover wood/sap) and then chose our favorite white paint color. We didn't fill in the gaps between the boards because we liked that look. Ours took a good coat of primer and then 2 coats of the white paint and it turned out great!


    Good luck! It's very time consuming, but worth it in the end!

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