Wood paneling is an affordable finishing material for interior spaces – we see a lot of it in older homes and basements. If you’re no longer into disco, but don’t have the budget to remove and replace it, painting is a great option to brighten it up. The best part about this project, is that it’s relatively painless!
As with any painting project, surface preparation is key – clean the walls thoroughly with a mild soap and water solution to remove any remnants of chips, dip, crayons or other dirt. Lightly sand the entire surface with 120 grit sandpaper to remove any rough areas and give the primer a better surface to bond to. If your paneling has ridges or grooves, you may even want to fill them in with a skim coat of drywall compound to give yourself a smooth finished surface.
Throw down some drop cloths to protect the floor, and use a stain blocking primer to help avoid any bleeding through of colour from the paneling below – and give all walls a good even coat. For rougher surfaces, use a long nap roller to get good coverage. When the primer has dried (read the label for drying times), apply 2 coats of a high quality acrylic latex paint. Acrylic latex dries quickly and remains flexible, which will prevent future cracking and peeling. Drop by the paint desk if you’re not sure about which paint to choose, and they’ll ‘paint’ you in the right direction.
If you take the time to prepare the surface properly (including filling nail holes and other damage), painting your old dark paneling can bring your walls back to life. Now pop in an 8 track and turn on the disco ball!