I've done my fair share of refinishing kitchen cabinets and painting paneling through the years. Painting paneling, or any stained wood, takes some doing as the tannin from the wood and the stain will bleed through the paint if the walls are not properly sealed. This could be ugly as dark streaks will appear in the finish.
Check the paneling first. There are two basic categories: 1. synthetic finish & 2. real wood or wood laminated (thin wood venear) .
The synthetic finish is a type of contact paper which is adhered to a wood or thick cardboard backing. I haven't had any luck paint over this type of surface so I typically replace it with either drywall, wainscott or something of the like. It's just plain easier and typically less expensive than fighting to get the paint to adhere.
The real wood / laminated paneling is a different story. This can be redone with excellent results but some real effort is required.
You will first need to wash the paneling to remove any oils. Look for a cleaner which is safe for wood floors, preferably one which leaves no residue. Rinse the walls with clean water when you are done.
Next, lightly sand the walls with 100-150 grit sand paper. The goal here is to rough the surface to give the primer / sealer something to adhere to, not to sand the stain out of the wood. I like to use a pole mounted sanding block when I do this. It saves the wear & tear on my back and keeps me from inhaling too much sawdust. Did I mention that you'll want to wear a dust mask when you do this? Vent the room, too, by closing the door and opening the windows.
Now get yourself some Kilz or similiar, pigmented shellac / stain sealer. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the water based products. Water based sealers are easier to apply and clean with but your will be very disappointed with the results. The shellac works great but it stinks to high heaven. A good hangover has nothing over the headache from a good days work with this stuff. Using shellac based sealer in a closed room gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'taking a trip without leaving the farm'. You'll need good ventilation so make sure the weather is warm enough to open the windows.
I typically apply 2 coats, leaving a full day between coats to allow the sealer to dry. Check your work after the second coat has dried. You may need to do some spot priming if any bleed through occurs.
Once the sealer has dried, the walls are ready for the finish coat. Apply the paint as you normally would.
My best advice here is to take your time. Improper preparation of the original surface will allow the sealer & paint to 'push' right off when a finger is moved across the surface. Also watch for surface to surface areas such as door casings. You'll be applying 3-4 coats of sealer / paint by the time you are done. The additional thickness added by the paint may cause the door or window to bind. You may need to plane down some of the surfaces or not paint the surface (i.e. leave stained) if this is the case.
Sorry for the long winded reply. Feel free to drop me a PM if you have any questions. Best of luck!
Ok Hilltop - I'm going to come at this from the total opposite bend. We moved into a 1965 mobile home on our homestead. I didn't wash the walls or do anything at all to the paneling, just put up a flat paint, one coat. No priming or sanding or any of that.
Not to say there's anything wrong with all that work - just for me it wasn't worth the time for result. By the time the furnishings were in, not all that much wall space shows anyway. Couch, stereo system, pictures, bookshelves, etc. really take up the space anyway.
It looks fine to us. I suppose if more wall space showed I'd be more concered. We also painted the hallway with semi-gloss, gave much better coverage than the flat paint.
Once again, not to insult any of the folks who gave such wonderful and thorough advice here - just sometimes simple is easiest depending...
Kilz has a new oil base product that does not stink. You could just crack a window and do it now. Some paneling do not need priming some do. I nail any loose spots and caulk all holes and gaps so you do not have ugly gaps where trim meets paneling or two pieces lap etc. You can do this after priming when they become obvious.
I agree with preparing the walls properly, but it really depends on what type of paneling you have as to much preparing you will need to do. My neighbors painted thiers...they told us that they just cleaned it, rough sanded it, and then painted it. The walls arent covered in furnishings, and they look great even now...that was like 5-6 years ago. I really like Murphey's Oil Soap for a wood cleaner, but beware it will strip the finish if its worn(if thats not your intention, it could be a problem). It doesnt smell too bad either, and it doesn't irritate my sensative skin. Redhead, dry skin, winter, you get the picture. Just be carefull, you dont want to have to do this again every year...better to go the extra step now then have to re do it all later. And be sure to pick a washable top coat, b/c I don't care what kind of life style you have, it will get dirty. HTH
I use Sherwin Williams paint almost exclusively. They have a great primer that will cover the paneling just fine. It has just a paint type odor that will dissipate in a few days. It covers extremely well.
Stop in their store and tell them what kind of project you are working on, and they will recommend a primer and paint for you.
They might be a little more expensive than Walmart, but you get what you pay for, especially with paint.
I recommend sanding it a bit. You can buy this expensive stuff to paint on it to give it a bit of texture, but........ You don't have to sand it that much, just a little to roughen it up. The problem with painting paneling is that it is so smooth and paint comes off real easily. After sanding i would sporadically paint it very very thinly with some flat paint. You are working at creating texture for the paint to adhere. That's my experience anyway peace & love,,,,,,,,,,
Being I make my living painting I would go with cowboy joe. Doing it right the first time you dont have to worry about the next time just paint it over. By sanding and priming you get the paint to stick better and dont have to worry about bleeding. If the panelling starts to bleed though you can repaint it 20x and not be able to stop it until you use an oil based primer or shellac. You can also purchase a product called will bond its basicaly liquid sand paper (deglosser)
and will keep the dust down.
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