Author Topic: Wood paneling - paint it?  (Read 4129 times)

golfer44

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Wood paneling - paint it?
« on: May 06, 2014, 06:41:34 AM »
Hi all,

I'm looking at buying a rental house that was built in 1939. It currently has wood paneling in the living room, dining room, and 2 of the 3 bedrooms. I'm assuming this is covering plaster.

I got a rough quote to rip it out and replace with drywall and I'm severely underwhelmed at the idea. Does anybody have experience painting over wood paneling? I'll be refinishing the hardwoods, and it seems like painted wood paneling with fresh hardwood floors can be a great look.

Additionally, it has a 70's vintage, yellowing drop ceiling - does anybody have thoughts on updating this to a better look?

Thanks in advance.

jawisco

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 07:08:31 AM »
Yes - you can paint paneling - no doubt that the plaster walls are cracked behind the paneling.  There are a couple of issues:

- if it is shiny/glossy, it will paint better if you rough it up a bit with a sander.

- you need to paint in thin coats as drips happen much easier on paneling - use a good primer.

My house has the same issues yours does and I have painted a lot of paneling - it looks fine, but will never be amazing. 

Regarding ceiling, I would see what you got above the drop ceiling and decide from there.  You can paint the drop ceiling and it will likely paint well - at least it will be white rather than yellow.

These decisions depend on what type of finishes your renters will expect.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 02:03:23 PM »
My house was built in 1963 and shiny, pecan-colored paneling was everywhere.  I bought it in 2004 and lived with it for a while.  In 2006, I painted it and am very glad I did.  I primed with Kilz (no sanding) and then did two coats of eggshell latex.  Once it is primed, it paints the same as drywall, except that the grooves take a little effort to get good coverage.

It's been 8 years and it has worn just fine -- no peeling or anything like that.  It's time to repaint, but that's just from the normal wear and tear of life.

Go for it!

Regarding the drop ceiling....... definitely get a good look at what's going on up there and have the ceiling tiles tested for asbestos (inexpensive test, Google asbestos testing in your area).    I have a dropped ceiling in the basement (asbestos-free) and I painted it.  Lots of work but great result.

TrMama

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2014, 03:55:41 PM »
Yes, you can paint over paneling. As mentioned above, just use primer as the first coat.

The easiest way to make the ceiling look better would be to just replace the tiles with new ones. I've never painted ceiling tiles before, but they usually have kind of a spongy texture and I bet they'd suck up paint like crazy. Replacing them is easy peasy. If you have any funky angles you just cut them with a box cutter.

Must_Stash

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2014, 07:15:19 PM »
Definitely paint the ceiling tiles if they're in good condition.  It's very fast with a big roller; I've done it and found it the biggest change for the least effort.  I used an old primer because the texture meant I didn't need a smooth application anyway.  It's really an emotional boost to have one no-fuss project on your list.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2014, 07:20:19 PM »
I can attest--painted wood paneling looks just fine. It actually resembles wainscoting, in my opinion. I'd say paint it and see if you can live with it. Our entire upstairs is painted wood paneling and I almost don't notice the difference from the dry wall downstairs.

NonprofitER

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2014, 07:52:07 PM »
Considering people on pinterest are adding white painted paneling to otherwise normal drywalled rooms, I'd say you've lucked out.  The modern cottage look is all the rage.  (I'm not being sarcastic... I actually love white paneled ceilings and walls):

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/wood-paneling-makeover/

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/painted-paneling-walls/

Gray Matter

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2014, 04:00:45 AM »
We have a family vacation cottage that was dark, dingy, and dreary when we bought it (cheap wood paneling from the 70s, dark vinyl floor tiles).  We replaced the floor with hardwood and painted all the paneling and it looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. 

golfer44

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2014, 07:23:31 AM »
Thanks all for the replies! Much appreciated.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2014, 01:40:45 PM »
Another option, but a bit more work, is to prime, then skim coat with joint compound to fill in the grooves, sand, paint.  I did this to a house and looked just like drywall after and never had an issue. Not bad for $15 worth of ready to go compound and a couple of hours of work.

But like others said the painted look isn't bad - although it is not good for resale as people will still see it as paneling.

golfer44

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Re: Wood paneling - paint it?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2014, 10:04:58 PM »
Another option, but a bit more work, is to prime, then skim coat with joint compound to fill in the grooves, sand, paint.  I did this to a house and looked just like drywall after and never had an issue. Not bad for $15 worth of ready to go compound and a couple of hours of work.

But like others said the painted look isn't bad - although it is not good for resale as people will still see it as paneling.

Might give this a shot - thank you!