DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION ARTICLES Painting Paneling
So many folks are interested in " updating " their older wood paneled den walls, but are leery of painting the paneling. Well my motto has always been that once you have the necessary info and the right tools and plenty of time… " GO FOR IT"! Again, once you know the correct paint tips, the results will be an eye opener!
Start by washing the paneling with a vegetable based soap to remove cooking grease and furniture polish that has built up over the years. When finished, the walls should be dull and smooth, not filmy. Next you'll have a choice of either lightly sanding the wood using 0000 sand paper (extra fine) or getting the same results by using a product, which de-glosses the surface and adds tac to the wood. If you sand by hand, be sure to go with the grain of the wood. Using the liquid sandpaper? Please READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS VERY CAREFULLY…this stuff is REALLY strong and can be toxic if you don't have the windows open and the A/C on blow and go!
Next you'll apply an OIL BASED PRIMER. If there has been excessive cigarette smoke or a heavy build-up of cooking grease on the walls, use a SHELLAC BASED PRIMER. These two primers are different than paint and require separate clean-up tricks, so be sure to ask the paint store clerk to assist you on selecting the right one for your job. Also insist that the primer be tinted to a shade as close as possible to the finished topcoat color. Speaking of color, I always advise AGAINST a white or a really light color.
Using a medium color, (one that is found in the middle of most paint charts) will give the room a more comfortable and homey feeling. Remember that the color you select will always look lighter on the walls, especially if the paint is oil base or alkyd! And don't forget the ceiling; a ceiling that is painted a pale tint will compliment the paneling and give the room that extra touch of class. Again, stay away from white, it tends to be cold and looks gray.After the primer has dried for at least 24 hrs. you're ready for the last step. The type of paint you select for the top coat will be based on how you intend to use the room; here's an example: for homes with sticky little fingers or cleaning concerns, use an ALKYD SEMI-GLOSS otherwise latex enamel or even latex flat paint will do.
Now for the most important step… leave yourself enough time to finish the job. Remember this is NOT a one-day project!
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Deborah Burnett appears regularly on HGTV, National TV and worldwide radio with design ideas and decorating tips. She is a nationally recognized health and wellness design authority and keynote presenter bridging the gap between science and evidence based epigenetic design which explores how the body and brain are affected by the interior environment. As a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine she specializes in research and design pertaining to how color, light, sound and daylight affect sleep.