How to Paint Over Grooved Wood Paneling

If you want to know how to paint over paneling successfully, first you need to take a good look at the paneling and know what you are working with. Wood wall paneling often has deep grooves. Some people don't mind the grooves and leave them when they paint over the wall, but others want a smoother effect.

Hiding the Grooves
Keep in mind that filling in the grooves will add an extra step to painting over wood paneling. That said, filling in the grooves and painting the wall is still less work than tearing out the paneling altogether. Just buy plenty of spackling and joint compound before you start painting.

Spackling the grooves is the first and most important step. You may want to work on a test area, as your success with this job will depend on the depth of the grooves in the panel and how much time you want to spend making the spackle even with the rest of the panel.

Once you've taken the time to fill in the grooves, sand the wall to give the primer and paint a rougher surface. Use a primer tinted the same shade as your final paint and apply several coats until the panels are thoroughly covered. By the time you've added the top coat, you shouldn't see any grooves at all.

Working with the Grooves
But what if you have deep grooves between the paneling and the spackling job is too much to handle? Sometimes, your best option is to work the grooves into your overall design plan. Instead of fighting the grooves, paint each panel in different shades to create a contrast. That way, it looks like you intended to create a striped effect.

Use a paintbrush to tackle each individual panel so you can be more precise. Paint each panel, or stripe, skipping over stripes that will be in different colors. When the stripes of the first shade dry, go back and add the second color. Use painter's tape to mask the first set of stripes so you get clean lines.

See also Painting Paneling: Contractor Gives Tips on Painting Over Paneling.

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