How to Make Old Paneling Look Good

Alexander Callos

Over time wood paneling on interior walls will become worn and dirty looking. But that old paneling can be looking brand new again in just a few simple steps.

Add paint to old paneling for a fresh look.
  1. Clean the paneling with a wood cleaner. Spray the cleaner up and down the paneling. Wipe down the paneling with a clean rag. Scrub between any grooves in the paneling. Apply a gloss remover in small sections on the paneling and rub it in the direction of the grain on the panels with a clean rag. Wait 30 minutes for the gloss remover to set.

  2. Apply interior primer to the paneling with a paint brush. Dip the brush in the primer and cover the surface of the paneling with a thick, even coat of primer. Apply a second coat if the paneling is still showing through. Let the primer dry overnight.

  3. Slide a tube of silicone caulk into a caulk gun and cut off the top of the caulk with a utility knife. Push on the trigger and run a bead of caulk in each of the grooves of the paneling. Move the caulk gun slowly up each groove. Wipe away any excess caulk with a putty knife. Let the caulking dry overnight.

  4. Apply a coat of paint by using smooth strokes with a brush. Wait at least 45 minutes for the first coat to dry. Apply a second coat in the same manner.

  5. Add a glaze to the paneling. Mix glaze and paint in a half-and-half mixture. Spread the glaze over the paneling in small sections with a paint brush. Wipe off the excess glaze with a clean rag and repeat the process for each of the remaining sections of paneling until there is a shine on each piece.