Wood paneling can make a home feel warm and comfortable. However, if your house is full of paneling that is dated, damaged, or made of an inferior veneer, it’s worth considering an upgrade. Since removing it could be costly, consider a coat of paint. It can instantly make that dingy paneling look fresh and bright for a fraction of the cost.
To Paint or Not to Paint?
Whether or not to paint wood paneling and moldings is often up for debate. The answer is a resounding yes when it comes to the cheap wood veneer that was so popular during the 1970s. When discussing higher-quality, solid wood-paneling, the decision can be more complicated. Firstly, there’s no going back, as it’s pretty much impossible to completely redo the process if you ever change your mind. Also, solid-wood planks have numerous joints that can open up and show hairline cracks if the planks contract during periods of low humidity.
If you decide to paint over the wood paneling in your home, follow the proper steps to ensure it’s done correctly. It may seem like cleaning, sanding, and priming are unnecessary, but paneling requires extra attention if you want the wall to look its best.
If the paneling has old paint that was likely applied before 1980, do not sand the paneling unless you have the paint tested to confirm that it does not contain lead. If old paint tests positive for lead, skip the sanding and simply apply a good primer to ensure the paint job will stick.
Source: The Spruce