Paneling paint in my part of the world is not an actual product, at least not one that I can buy at my local paint store or home improvement centre. Even so, coating paneling can be a large part of a painting contractors business.

Almost every surface is paintable the key is using a recomended primer and applying the primer according to the manufacturers specifacations.

Along with following the manufacturers recommendations is having a properly prepared surface for the primer to stick to. Below you will find how to information regarding the best process for prepping, priming and painting virtually any kind of interior wall paneling.


Before you start to roll on the paneling paint, preparation is by far the most important part of a good painting job. In the case of applying paint to paneling, improper prep could easily cause issues with your finished project. Prior to painting your first priority is to have a good clean non-pealing surface to work with.

After the surface is cleaned and any pealed paint removed, spots where paint has lifted needs sanding and the peeled spots should be repaired with paintable filler then sanded (once again) and primed. Bumps or dried paint requires sanding or should be scraped away.

In the case of paneling that has texture, (e.g., a wood grain feel) you would need to try and mimic the look of the paneling or cut out and replace problem areas with any leftover paneling you may have lying around. Not doing so will leave a flatly sanded surface on the wood grained paneling and could in your opinion end up being an eye sore.

For those who aren't quite as fussy as myself you can go ahead and make repairs in what ever fashion works best for you.

After your surface is repaired, use the how to caulk page and learn about caulking those cracks. What I mean by cracks is any separations you see (dark crevice/hole etc.) where the paneling buts up to each other or trim isn't flat against the paneling. Baseboard or casing around windows and doors would be an example of such trim where cracks can appear. Be sure to use paintable caulking.

Once you have compleated the caulking, smooth the caulk out with your finger. When caulking the key is not to squeeze out to much caulk at one time and to keep your caulking job strait and uniform. Remember to to fill any unused nail holes or divots (in the trim or paneling etc.) as you go along.

I use a small amount of caulking for the holes/divots and remove excess before it dries. It's best to apply caulking in two or three thin coats (letting the caulk dry between coats) as oppose to one thick one. Keep in mind though not to caulk anything that isn't going to be painted (e.g., clear coated oak/maple baseboards and window trim).


Once repairs are done, sanded and spot primed the rest of the walls can be primed. Paneling is made from a number of different products so be sure to use a primer for the type of surface being coated. If you don't know what type of surface your dealing with then a multi purpose primer should do the trick.

Your paint store representative should be able to guide you in the best direction regarding products to use for the job at hand.

Priming is pretty much a strait forward process just brush and roll the paneling with your primer in the same way that you would apply paint. Some groves in the paneling may need brushing (up or down verticaly, two inches or more) prior to rolling, especialy where the paneling meets the ceiling or basebord.

The roller cover used also needs to be thick enough for getting into those groves (if your type of paneling has grooves). I find that a 15mil (½ inch or so) roller cover tends to work well on groved paneling.


Before you throw on the paneling paint you will need to do some extra repairs. After the primer is on and dry, cracks, holes, bumps, nail holes and crevices that you couldn't see prior to priming will start to show up. A hand held light should help you find any needed fixes.

Make any extra repairs that you find, sand if needed then spot prime your repairs. Now your ready to sand the entire wall surface with a pole sander and 120 grit sand paper.


Your all set. It's time to apply your paneling paint. Because it's panelling use a top quality paint and primer in one to get the job done. Apply the first coat, make any repairs you find, use your paint to spot prime the repairs, let the spot priming dry, pole sand again then roll on the last coat of paint.


I find painted paneling looks elegant, especially when the paneling is used as wainscoting, has a wood grain and there is chair rail half way up the wall. Your chair rail, baseboard and trim should be painted in complementary color/s to the painted paneling.

With that said, the most important part of your paneling paint job is doing proper preparation before your paint goes on the walls.


Looking for how to painting and decorating information other than back priming. If so use the home link above.

If you would like to ask a question then use the ask a question button on the home page. By doing so you will get an answer either by me or someone else who reads this website.