Painting Wood Paneling Filling in the Grooves

What You'll Need
Drywall mesh tape
Drywall compound (setting-type)
Putty knife
Sanding pads

Painting over wood paneling is one of the easiest ways to get rid of that outdated and unsightly 70s-era choice in wall design. But, while painting it will get rid of the faux wood look of the paneling, the grooves will still be there to remind you that back behind all those layers of paint, it’s still there, lurking.

There are a number of solutions available for filling in the grooves on wood paneling, but not all work as well as you might hope. Here’s one of the most effective ways of filling in those gaps and grooves so after you’re finished painting, nobody will ever know the room once housed wood paneling.

Before you begin filling in the grooves on the wood paneling, it needs to be prepped. Thoroughly clean the wood paneling with heavy-duty spray cleanser. If the paneling is very dirty, you may have to clean it twice. Once finished, remove all traces of cleanser using a cloth and clean water. Allow the paneling to completely dry before moving on.

Sand the paneling so the glossy veneer is removed. This will help the drywall compound and the primer adhere to the paneling much more effectively. When you’re finished sanding, wipe the walls with a clean, damp cloth to remove the dust.

When the paneling is dry, apply drywall mesh tape over the groove. Fill in the groove using the putty knife and drywall compound. It’s important to use the “setting-type” of compound as it shrinks less and dries faster. Do this on each gap and groove in the paneling.

Once the first coat of drywall compound is dry, sand the area, wipe it down and apply another coat of compound. Continue this course of action until you are able to sand the compound so that it meshes seamlessly with the paneling. Run your hand along the paneling and you should barely be able to feel a difference.

Wipe down the walls once again to remove any dust left over from the sanding process. Now, the wood paneling is ready to be primed and painted.

Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, N.J. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.