How to Restore Wood Paneling

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Wood paneling might be one of those decorating options that you frown upon, but you might be surprised at JUST how many houses have this type of decor.  If you really hate it, you could just get rid of all of it, but then you would be looking at a pretty expensive remodel.  Not only would you have to hire someone to take it all out, but then you would have to put a new wall up or in the least new dry wall, paint it over, etc.  If you don’t have the money to do that, but you would like to change it, here are a few steps on restoring and painting the wood paneling.

Materials and Tools:

Soap and water

220 grit sandpaper

Multipurpose primer sealer

Interior latex paint

3/8 inch roller cover

Paint roller, roller tray

Paint brush

Step 1

The first step before any project should be started is to ask yourself if this is really what you want to do.  With this specific project, once it’s painted, you are going to be stuck with it, so it’s important that you really think this over and make sure that it is what you really want to do!  If you aren’t entirely sure, pick a really inconspicuous spot on the wood and paint over it.  If you hate the way it looks, this probably isn’t the best option for you.  If you like it, continue to step 2.

Step 2

Figure out what kind of wood paneling you have.  The inexpensive stuff tends to be “fake” wood paneling.  That is, it’s a photo of wood grain that has been glued to the wall.  The more expensive option is real wood paneling.  Either way, this can still be painted whether it’s real or fake.

Step 3

As with any painting project, you have to make sure that the surface is clean and oil-free.  In order to do this, you will simply need to mix up some mild dish detergent and some warm water.  Make sure that you get into all the crevices, edges and corners to really clean the walls well and get any dust, grime, dirt and oil off of the paneling.  Once you have finished this, let it dry.  Next, take some of your sandpaper and sand the surface lightly – you shouldn’t be using a ton of elbow grease when you do this.  Once you have completely sanded everything, you should then use a damp cloth to wipe all of the dust away.

Step 4

Next, you need to prime the walls.  Before doing so, make sure that you treat these walls as if you were using paint on them – tape off any ceilings, trim, doors, light switches, etc.  Use an edger to do the edges and use the roller for the main parts of the walls.  You will need to let this dry for at least 24 hours before you begin painting it – in some cases longer.  Check the manufacturer’s directions to see what they suggest.

Step 5

Once the 24 hours is up, you can finally start to paint your walls!  Most people are going to suggest an interior latex paint.  Satin is going to also be a good option for the type of paint because it tends to be more durable and it can also be washed pretty easily with a damp rag.  Once you paint the walls, let it dry and then add coat number 2.

Once it’s finished you will see a huge difference.  Not only in the style of the wood, but the color as well.  Most of these old wood panelings ARE so unattractive because they tend to be either really dark wood that makes a space look dreary or they have that sort of yellowish tint to it that not everyone likes.  It’s understandable!  Adding a new paint to a wall or to the paneling can create a whole new look for your space and this option is much easier, quicker and less expensive than ripping the whole thing out and starting new!  Hopefully, these tips will help you save some money and who knows, maybe you will begin to love your wood paneling rather than trying to hide it behind wall dividers, wallpaper or furniture!