What Kind of Paint Do I Use to Paint Paneling?

What Kind of Paint Do I Use to Paint Paneling?

Is that tacky, outmoded fake-wood paneling making you stir-crazy? Relax. You can make that paneled room look less like a box and more like a living space with a simple coat of paint. Before you start, there are things you need to know. This fact sheet will help you select the right kind of primer and paint before you begin.

Surface Preparation

Don't skip the primer

Clean and sand the paneling first.Then apply a latex-based primer that will cut the gloss of the paneling's surface.


Working with the grooves

After the priming step, the sky's the limit. You can paint your paneling with any wall paint. Satin finishes go well on paneled walls. Latex paints work the best.


Don't take a shortcut by skipping the primer coat. It will cut the gloss on the paneled surface, make your chosen paint adhere better and prevent the wood grain from showing through your final coat of paint.


Applying drywall mud or another groove filler will make your final effect look more like a painted wall than a painted box. Follow the directions on the container, apply, sand smooth, and then apply your primer coat.

Special Areas

If you're painting paneling in an area that is subject to moisture, like in a kitchen or bathroom, use a paint that is formulated to resist moisture and the growth of mold. High-traffic areas will benefit from a paint that is washable to remove hand prints.