What kind of paint do I use to paint paneling?

Written by susan kerr
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What kind of paint do I use to paint paneling?

Is that tacky, outmoded fake-wood panelling making you stir-crazy? Relax. You can make that panelled room look less like a box and more like a living space with a simple coat of paint. Before you start, there are things you need to know. This fact sheet will help you select the right kind of primer and paint before you begin.

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Surface Preparation

Clean and sand the panelling first.Then apply a latex-based primer that will cut the gloss of the panelling surface.

Don't skip the primer
Don't skip the primer


After the priming step, the sky's the limit. You can paint your panelling with any wall paint. Satin finishes go well on panelled walls. Latex paints work the best.

Working with the grooves
Working with the grooves


Don't take a shortcut by skipping the primer coat. It will cut the gloss on the panelled surface, make your chosen paint adhere better and prevent the wood grain from showing through your final coat of paint.


Applying drywall mud or another groove filler will make your final effect look more like a painted wall than a painted box. Follow the directions on the container, apply, sand smooth, and then apply your primer coat.

Special Areas

If you're painting panelling in an area that is subject to moisture, like in a kitchen or bathroom, use a paint that is formulated to resist moisture and the growth of mould. High-traffic areas will benefit from a paint that is washable to remove hand prints.

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