How To Paint Glossy Wood Paneling

Glossy wood paneling was a staple in homes in the 1980’s. Today’s modern interior design concepts favor brighter interiors, rather than glossy wood, which often tends to darken a room. Removing wood paneling can be a tough job, though. Most people would opt to paint over the wood paneling. However, it’s not a simple matter of applying paint over the paneling. When painting over glossy wood paneling, about 90% of the job is in prepping the surface for painting.

What you need:

  • Wood cleaner or degreasing solution
  • Gloss remover
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood putty
  • Primer
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • Newspapers and/or plastic sheets, and drop cloths
  • Masking tape

Degrease and de-gloss. Painting over a glossy surface would result in peeling and chipping paint in the long run. The first thing you need to do when painting over glossy wood paneling is to remove any grease and gloss. Clean the panel surfaces with wood cleaner. This will help degrease the surface for better adhesion by the primer and paint. You can also use any household cleaning solution, as long as it’s strong enough to take away any much or grime that may have accumulated over the years.

Then, apply the gloss remover over small portions of the paneling. This should be rubbed in the direction of the wood grains. Make sure you don’t apply the gloss remover on large areas. Leave the paneling to dry for about half an hour.

Cover imperfections. If your wall has some imperfections, now is the time to fix these. Hammer in nails that may be sticking out. Use wood putty to cover all dents and holes. Then use sandpaper to smoothen the putty.

Apply the primer. First make sure to move all furniture toward the center of the room, and cover these with drop cloths (any old sheets will do, as long as the furniture is protected from spills or splatters of paint). Cover the floor with plastic sheets or newspapers with masking tape holding these firmly in place. Cover other parts of your wall that you are not painting over with masking tape, as well.

Apply one coat of primer. You can use a paintbrush to paint over large areas. Then use a paint roller to spread the paint. Let this coat dry for about an hour (depending on the primer’s specifications. If the wood grain still shows through the primer, apply another coat of primer. Let the primer dry for about half a day before applying paint.

Apply paint. Use the same technique as with the primer. Use a paintbrush to apply paint, and then smoothen this out using a paint roller. Let the paint dry for about a couple of hours (depending on the paint’s specifications). Apply a second coat of paint. After the paint dries, your wall is good as new.

Be sure to protect yourself with a mask, especially if the primer is oil-based. You should also open windows and doors to ensure adequate ventilation while you are painting over your wood paneling.


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