How do I paint over old wood paneling and hide the grooves?

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My son's new home has dark wood paneling, probably from the 70's. He wants to brighten up the interior, but on the cheap. I know we need to prime and paint it, but what is best to use to fill in the grooves in the panels so that the finished product looks like a smooth surface?

  6 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Mar 06, 2019

    You can use wood putty/wood filler. However, it will probably look better if you just paint them as well. Sometimes the filler will shrink or crack. I would also recommend you clean with TSP before you start priming & painting.

  • Diane Silva Randolph Diane Silva Randolph on Mar 06, 2019

    I have painted over paneling without filling the grooves, and it looked fine. I think you would have to use wood filler if you want to fill the grooves.

  • Erika,


    We painted over wood panels without filing the grooves and it looks great! If you fill the grooves, you will need to fill and then sand every single seam. We decided it would be more time efficient and cost effective to just paint over the paneling. Here is a link to some before and after pictures.


    Good luck

  • Darlene Schaar Crandall Darlene Schaar Crandall on Mar 07, 2019

    I also painted over paneling. A complete interior of a mobile home we had in Texas. I did it without filling the grooves and it turned out beautiful. I always had compliments when people came over.

  • Lizbeth Lizbeth on Mar 07, 2019

    I've also painted without filling the grooves and it looks great.

  • Curt Murphy Curt Murphy on Mar 07, 2019

    There is special wall paper that is white and made for putting over paneling. It will hide the grooves and you can paint over it.

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