How to Paint Wood Wall Paneling Like a Pro

Wood-paneled walls can look dated and old over the years. If you are in a similar situation, can you paint wood paneling?

Fortunately, you can repaint the wood panel to look brand new. However, painting wood paneling can be challenging, especially if you have no home repair experience.

Painting Over Wood Paneling: Should you Do That?

Whether or not you should paint over wood paneling depends on your personal preferences and the condition of the paneling. If the paneling is in good condition and you like the natural wood look, you may choose not to paint it.

However, if the paneling is damaged or you want to change the room’s look, painting over the wood paneling can be a good option. Additionally, use the brand of paint from the painting companies you trust or highly recommended by professional painters.

How to Paint Wood Paneling?

Painting over wood paneling requires simple equipment readily available in your local hardware store. It’s best to gather all the materials you need, such as primer, latex paint, sandpaper, and more before you begin your work.

Most wood panel painting project starts the same.

First, you need to clean the area where you will paint and cover objects that you don’t want to be hit by paint splutter. Next, you sand the wood panel to get a smooth and even surface when you begin to paint.

Then, you must apply the primer and wait for it to dry. Finally, add the first coat of paint, let it dry, and then apply the second coat. The step-by-step guide below will explain more about each action you need to perform.

painting wood paneling


Preparation is the Key

Before painting over wood paneling; it is crucial to prepare the surface properly. This involves sanding the paneling to remove any gloss or imperfections, cleaning the surface with a degreaser, and applying a primer to help the paint adhere better.

Once the paneling is prepared, you can apply the paint using a paintbrush or roller. It is important to use even brushstrokes and allow the paint to dry before adding a second coat.

If you are unsure whether to paint over the wood paneling, research or consult a professional to determine the best action is always a good idea.

Think of The Supplies You Will Need for Painting Paneling

Painting wood paneling can also be done as part of your kitchen remodeling project. To paint wood paneling, you will need the following materials:

  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Plastic sheets or drop cloths
  • TSP (trisodium phosphate) or other degreasers
  • Masking tape
  • Primer
  • High-quality latex paint of the color of your choice
  • Paintbrushes or rollers

Clean the Molding and Paneling

To start, use a sponge or soft cloth to dust the paneling and molding to get rid of any surface dust or debris. It might be necessary to use a mild soap or cleaning solution if the paneling and molding are very grimy. Mix a small amount of the cleaning solution with warm water in a bucket, and dip the cloth or sponge into the solution.

Then, gently scrub the paneling and molding with a damp cloth or sponge, taking care not to damage the wood. Work in small parts to prevent transferring dirt and grime, and rinse the cloth or sponge periodically. After scrubbing the whole surface, remove any soap or cleaning solution using a clean, moist towel.

Priming the Wood Surface and Fill Nail Holes

Sand the paneling to eliminate any shine or flaws on the surface using sandpaper or a sanding block.

This will aid the wood’s better adhesion to the primer and paint. To fill the nail holes, start by selecting a wood putty that matches the paneling color. You can find wood putty at most hardware stores.

Use a putty knife to fill the nail holes with the wood putty, pressing the putty firmly into the holes. Then, smooth the putty and remove any excess, ensuring the surface is level with the surrounding paneling. Once the putty is dry, sand the paneling surface with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth any rough edges or imperfections.

Protect Surrounding Areas

Cover the floor and any nearby surfaces with drop cloths or plastic sheets to protect them from spills and drips. Use masking tape to cover any electrical outlets, switch plates, and other fixtures you do not want to paint.

Meanwhile, use newspaper or paper towels to cover windows, doors, or other areas you do not want to paint.

how to paint wood paneling


Prime the Wood Surface

Apply a coat of high-quality primer to the paneling with a paintbrush or roller. Use a primer that is intended especially for wood surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and let the primer dry thoroughly.

Usually, drying takes several hours.

Paint the Paneling

Apply a layer of premium latex paint to the paneling using a paintbrush or roller once the priming has dried. Be sure to apply the paint evenly and in the direction of the wood grain.

Paint a Second Coat

If a second coat of paint is required for complete coverage, let the first coat completely dry before applying it. Remove the newspaper or paper towels and masking tape when the paint has dried.

Then, remove the drop cloths and admire your newly painted wood paneling!


Painting wood paneling is simple if you have prepared the right equipment and materials. However, if you don’t have the time to learn how to paint wood paneling, you can always hire Majestic’s team of expert painters. Contact us today and get a reasonable quote!


Owen is a customer experience manager at Majestic Cabinets. Having several years of experience in the home improvement field, Owen is keen on sharing his knowledge and secrets with others. Doesn't matter if you’re a homeowner with little to no knowledge in the field or an experienced contractor, you can always learn something new and interesting from his stories. Owen hopes that his articles will give you a bit of insight on home improvement.