How do I paint old, cheap paneling from the 1970’s?

Kathey Davis
by Kathey Davis

I have a den that has this ugly paneling that continues into my ding room, kitchen and hallway. I would like to paint all of it as I can not afford to remove and drywall this large an area.

  7 answers
  • Julie Bounds Julie Bounds on Jul 26, 2018

    I bought a house "Lost in the 70's"...The entire living area was paneled. I would never have been awake in this situation as "dark" rooms put me OUT. I got energized before the furniture arrived, cleaned the walls with Super Clean (available at Wally's, I think the bottle is purple) - does a wonderful job...wear gloves, and dilute it. Then when the walls were dry, my old friend and great handy man, Wilbert, painted them for me in my favorite color Sherman Williams Silver Mist...the whole house. It is fabulous and soothing. I don't even notice the "Lines", I just see my color. Have been having rooms done with wall board and INSULATION as the funds become available. This is Home...just enlarge and look at my view of the lake in my front yard...Good luck, Julie

  • Suelane Suelane on Jul 26, 2018

    Hi Kathey,

    This is doable. Here is a link that give you step-by-step and is clearer than me explaining it! :-) Good luck, you will like the change it makes!

  • Dee Dee on Jul 26, 2018

    If you want to get rid of the lines you can use spackle or wood putty, sand and paint. I think a painted paneling with the lines looks great. And a lot easier to do. Remember to use a good stain blocking primer and a good paint. Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore or the new Advanced Behr are good choices. If you can spray paint it with a paint sprayer it will not have roller marks. Remember to use a good mohair roller not a cheap dollar store roller.

  • William William on Jul 26, 2018

    Make sure the paneling is clean and dry. Prime with a good stain blocking primer like Zinsser 123 or BIN. Then paint like painting regular walls. If the paneling has grooves you can fill them with non shrink drywall patching compound. Just put on enough to fill the grooves. Let it dry overnight. Next day use a damp sponge to smooth the patch. Then prime and paint.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 27, 2018

    I painted my disabled neighbor's for her that was all over the living and dining room walls. I did wash them with ammonia as she used a wood stove and had to get the residue off. She already had a gallon of white Kitchen & Bath paint and wanted the chalk paint look, so we added 1/2c of baking soda. I painted the lines first and cut in the ceiling, corners and around the trim with a brush, and then rolled on the first coat. Gave it a second coat with an extra gallon I had on hand. Looked great, and boy was so much brighter in there.

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Jul 27, 2018

    I've painted a lot of paneling over the years. If it was fair to good quality, use a coat of primer, then a coat of paint. You might need a tinted primer. Cheap, paper-covered paneling won't paint as well

  • Jan Marie Jan Marie on Aug 23, 2018

    When I painted my paneling I cleaned first and let dry, then primed with Kilz so that the wood stain would not seep through, and then painted with a satin finish taupe color paint. I painted the grooves with a brush and then rolled the rest working in 4 foot wide sections because I didn't want the brushed areas to dry before I rolled on the rest of the paint. I used a roller with very short nap for smooth walls. Good luck with your painting. Your paneling looks to be a good quality paneling so painting it will probably not cause you any problems. I would probably pick a warm shade to blend in with your rock fireplace. I loved the look of my painted paneling.