To paint over wood paneling:

  1. Lightly sand the paneling with 100-grit sandpaper to remove any gloss.
  2. Use a damp cloth to wipe any sanding dust off the walls.
  3. Prime the walls with a quality primer and allow to dry.
  4. Apply two topcoats of wall paint.

For a smooth look, after priming:

  1. Fill the paneling grooves with drywall joint compound and allow to dry.
  2. Sand the joint compound smooth.
  3. Apply a second coat of joint compound and allow to dry.
  4. Sand the second coat so it’s smooth with the wall.
  5. Use a damp cloth to wipe any sanding dust off the walls.
  6. Prime and paint the walls.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Loraine asks, “What’s the best way to paint over dark paneling?”

When I was kid, the old, dark paneling like this was so popular. Nowadays, people want to brighten things up a little bit. And whether you have real wood paneling, like this, or sheet paneling, the process to brighten it up is pretty much the same.

You need to start out with 100-grit sandpaper, and just sand all of the gloss off the wood surface, wipe it down, follow that with a good quality primer. And after the primer’s dried sufficiently, then would be the time, if you had the sheet paneling, to eliminate all those little grooves by using drywall joint compound.

Six-inch drywall knife, probably take a couple of coats with a little sanding in between to create that nice, smooth surface. Then, two more coats of a very good quality wall paint, and you’ve brought your paneling and your home right into this century.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More

Comments are closed.