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Updating Old Wood Paneling

Category Walls
room with wallpaper
Wood paneling can looked dated and take away from the appearance of your home. You don't need to remove it to improve its look and incorporate it into your decor. This is a guide about updating old wood paneling.

Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 2 found this helpful
February 28, 2011

Is there any way to fill in the grooves in wall paneling before you paint?

By Sandra from Mount Laurel, NJ

Answer Was this helpful? 2
February 28, 20110 found this helpful

You must mean the grooves or small holes in wall paneling. Fill them in with wood filler that you can buy in any store such as Home Depot, etc.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 1, 20110 found this helpful

Wood filler, available near the paint at Walmart for about $5 a container, is a good bet for the dips where the lines in the paneling are. You will need a putty knife to smooth the surface and make it even with the rest of the panel. Wait a couple of hours and then you can paint it, or run a sander along to make perfectly smooth and THEN paint it.

Will take a little extra time but the results are worth it. I used wood filler and a sander on a cedar playground set I got for free, and turned it into something beautiful and usable once again. Best of luck with your project!

Will be easier to paint if you put a layer of Kilz on it first :).

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 1, 20110 found this helpful

Personally, I like the look of painted paneling with the groves. I see it all the time on decorating shows and magazines. I think it gives the wall character.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 2, 20110 found this helpful

I have an old house and one wall in each room was paneled with ugly stuff. I just primed it and painted it. If you try to fill it in it will probably come back out in pieces if the wall is hit or from eventual shrinkage. Most people don't even realize the walls have paneling on them.

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March 6, 20110 found this helpful

You can pick up paintable wall paper liner to put on first, then paint it. All wallpaper books have the instructions when wallpapering over panelling. I pick this up to put on 'failing walls' on older house walls. Seals it nice, lets to wall paper or paint over it.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

March 25, 20131 found this helpful

I have ugly, cheap, old paneling. I am looking for something really inexpensive to do with it. It is also too dark.

By Laura E

Answer Was this helpful? 1
March 26, 20130 found this helpful

Kiltz it-fill in all the old holes, and paint it. I have the same problem here. Some people go to the expense of wall papering over it, which I also have as a result from a previous owner. ugh.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 27, 20130 found this helpful

I painted mine & it looks great! First paint the paneling with Kiltz (smart idea: have paint store tint the kiltz the same color as the paint you're going to use). When the Kiltz is dry use the paint - one coat should do it. Don't be afraid to use a color - it's just like painting a wall in any room in your house. Good Luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 27, 20130 found this helpful

Definitely paint, the previous posters are so right. You'll love the results.

Be sure to wash the walls well before painting with vinegar and water (1-1 ratio) or TSP to remove any coating on the panel that might interfere with the primer (Kilz really is the best) adhering to the panel.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 27, 20130 found this helpful

Check out PaperIllusion on the web.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
January 7, 2009

I have one room in my house that is all paneling. Every wall is floor to ceiling. At first I really liked it, but it is mostly a spare room and when my outdoor chain link fence fell, I kept my big, completely outdoor dogs in that room as I did the repairs. Needless to say the beautiful wood paneling is now scratched and nicked and hideously damaged in more than one spot from my dogs jumping up on the door, window sill, etc.



Most of it could possibly be sanded out, but there are multiple deep grooves and it would be a lot of sanding. I had planned on covering or replacing it anyway, but now I don't know how to go about it. Should I just rip it down or should I sand it and paint it? I know nothing about this kind of home improvement, but I don't have the money to pay someone who does. Any advice would be appreciated!

Corie from Nashville

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 12, 20090 found this helpful

If you remove the paneling you may find a lot more to fill in. I would get plastic wood and fill the scratches. There is a plastic wood that is easy to sand but I don't remember the name. Then buy an electric sander, they are not expensive and will eliminate a lot of work. You can then paint or wall paper the room.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
January 13, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, we remodeled our living room on the cheap. We had the old 1970's paneling on the wall. By this time we had discovered joint compound in doing the master. We bought a like 28 lb bag of dry mix for under 30 bucks, and mixed it with water as told in a big bucket. then we mudded our walls with the spackler whatever its called. but the point is we filled in all the paneling grooves and then swirled it in there making it a decorative finish with random protrusions from the compound. then after drying we did a two color paint treatment on those walls. a rusty brick background and then i took a sea sponge and randomly went over the top of it with eggshell white. for less than $80 or so we had the room looking so cool. make it your own art expression!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
January 13, 20090 found this helpful

Nothing new to add but the last house we bought is almost all paneling and that does get to you after awhile. The first room I did I put spackling in all the grooves, primed it with Kilz and wallpapered it. Lots of work but it turned out really cute. Now 4 years later the paper is starting to curl at the seams. I had kinda hoped that it would stick good and I could possibly paint over it some day. In my hallway, I applied Kilz again and then painted the walls a light creamy color. Really brightened up a dark hallway. Last year, hubby and I decided to see what was under the paneling in our living room. There was 1/2 inch sheetrock that needed mudding and taping. So we did that and it was a lot of work and it turned out really nice. Next I will do my bedroom and bath. Havent quite decided what I will do in there. Good Luck, Karla

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January 14, 20090 found this helpful

Hi Corie,

I had natural wood paneling in my sunroom and could not stand how it looked. So I lightly sanded the paneling, primed the walls and painted. (Don't try to skip priming the walls: this extra step will provide the proper base between the paneling and your chosen paint color. Without the primer the paint could easily peel off the paneling). The resulting look is reminiscent of old fashioned bead-n-board. It looks wonderful. Also, I added a chair rail around the room and walled papered by bottom half of the room with a lovely vine and leaf pattern paper. Painting the room really opened it up and made it a very welcoming space.

FYI. if the grooves are really deep you can always fill them with wood putty to even out the wall prior to painting.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 18, 20090 found this helpful

We had paneling in our gameroom and it made the room very dark. We just used Kilz primer and Benjamin Moore taupe colored paint. It was very easy to do and really brightened up the room. We also used MDF for crown moulding and baseboard.(very easy to paint and to work with in general). The room looks great and it has been about 5 years. Just go for it.

Sandy from Pittsburgh

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
July 3, 2010

What's the best thing to use on paneling that is too dry and needs to be cleaned?

By Glenda from Belleville, IL

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 3, 20100 found this helpful

When I had wood paneling I used Old English Oil or Pledge to keep it nice looking.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 4, 20100 found this helpful

Pledge orange oil. It cleans, polishes, and smells so good. Or lemon oil. I like the orange better, it is not greasy.

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July 4, 20100 found this helpful

Scott's Liquid Gold is a similar product that is good for cleaning and shining wood.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
July 5, 20100 found this helpful

To clean dried out paneling, I use Murphy's oil soap.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

April 19, 20120 found this helpful

I varnished all my paneling and some of it came out darker than the others. If I re-varnish the lighter pieces will it match up? Should I use polyurethane to seal it?

By Ben

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
July 28, 2011

My dining room has wood (the real stuff) paneling and I want to give it a face lift. I am looking for a simple way to lighten the wood without re-stripping the whole room or painting over such quality wood. Does anyone have a fairly simple solution to my problem?

By K~K

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
February 11, 2010

I have stained and vanished custom wood picture frame paneling in the living room and some in the dining room. I would like to whitewash or paint the paneling in the living room to give it an old Western or antique type of look. Anyone have some suggestions on how to achieve this finish?

By Barbara from Greenville, TX

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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