How To Make Paneling Look Like Drywall – 5 Easy Steps
Learn how to paint paneling to make it look like drywall. No one will think twice it’s not actually drywall!
Do you have ugly paneling somewhere in your home but don’t feel like spending the time and money ripping it all down and installing drywall? If you’re like me you’ve probably been searching google for “how to fill in the grooves on paneling” or “how to paint paneled walls” or “tutorial on how to update wood paneling…” Then you’re in the right place!
Check out the tutorial below on how to easily turn that old wood paneling into an eye appealing smooth wall (that looks just like drywall) by simply spackling and painting your wood paneling.
My first flip’s kitchen had ugly paneling on the soffit but instead of tearing it down and going through the hassle of installing drywall I decided to fill the panel grooves in and paint it to make the soffit look like one smooth surface, just like drywall.
I am so happy with the results that I decided to share my tutorial on how to paint paneling (aka how to fill in the grooves of paneling). It’s one of the simplest ways to update wood paneling and so much easier than tearing it all down and starting from scratch.
Painting paneling sounds simple enough… fill the grooves and then paint right? Well yes and no. It’s very easy to do but requires some preparation to make sure the paneling will look smooth and the paint will adhere permanently as well as time to let the spackle dry before sanding.
- Lightweight spackle
- TSP (or some other cleaner)
- Spackle knife
- Respirator/dusk mask
The Supplies & Tools:
– Lightweight Spackle
I use Rapid Coat from Lowes but any type of lightweight spackle should work. I say lightweight because the heavier stuff is incredibly difficult to sand.
– Spackle Knife
I used a 4″ knife and a 6″ knife but I was only dealing with a small soffit. If you are doing an entire paneled wall, you could probably go up to an 8″, 10″ or even 12″ spackle knife and get the job done quicker.
– Cleaner, Rag & Gloves
Use a cleaner (my favorite is TSP) that will etch the smooth surface of the paneling so the paint will adhere better. I get it by the box from home depot and mix my own in a squirt bottle or bucket.
– Sand paper
I used a fine grit sanding block, you can also use 120-150 grit sandpaper
Any old primer will do. The helpful people at Sherwin Williams told me that if you use a good paint, two coats is as good as one coat primer and one coat paint.
Choose a sheen that works for the traffic in the room you’re painting gets. They range from flat to high gloss with flat paint being the most difficult to clean and high gloss being the easiest.
1. Etch & Clean
First, put on your gloves! Then use the TSP and a rag, or cleaner of your choosing to remove all the dirt, grime and grease and most importantly, to etch the smooth surface of the paneling.
Anytime you use TSP, you should always wipe the surface down with plain water afterwards and allow plenty of time to dry before spackling.
2. Fill Lines & Holes
Use your spackle knife and fill the panel’s lines and nail holes with the lightweight spackle. Take your knife and with some spackle on the end, and at a slight angle press the spackle into the grooves and then wipe clean the entire length of the groove.
You might have to do this 2 or 3 times because of shrinking – (I did two because I’m impatient)- so apply one coat, wait for it to dry, apply another coat, wait for it dry… you get the point. Do that until the lines are completely filled.
Sand all the lines, nail holes and the paneling itself (to scuff the surface even more than what the TSP accomplished) until everything is completely smooth.
Prime the paneling, I like to use Kilz for everything but that’s probably overkill. You can try a paint and primer in one but I had a problem trying that at first. While I was painting the spackle was sucking up the moisture from the paint and would easily pull out. So that’s why I say prime first then paint, but I know how impatient people can be (because I have no patience).
But like I said above, the people at Sherwin Williams say two coats of any of their paint is just as good. I just recently started using Sherwin Williams paints for my projects instead of Home Depot and Lowes and I love it! They are so much easier to use, they get less “snot,” and the people at the store are actually knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to choosing the right type of paint for the job.
The last step is to paint the paneling whatever color your heart desires and you’ll have what looks like painted drywall!
That wasn’t so hard was it?eywords: how to fill in the grooves of paneling, paneling makeover, update wood paneling, filling grooves of paneling, paneling makeover ideas, paneling makeover before and after, how to paint paneled walls, wood paneling walls, how to paint old wall paneling
there aren’t only two options: paint the paneling or remove the paneling, what if you did an easy project and filled in the lines of the paneling and make it look like drywall.