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Wood paneling has its fans and haters. Most of us detest the fake version. And real wood paneling, in spite of its warmth and worth, may not be your personal preference. Paint dramatically brightens a wood-paneled room, but how do you know when it's a wise remedy, and how does one go about doing it correctly?
Fake Paneling? Paint It or Pitch It
Masonite panels, scored and pressed in 4'x8' sheets, merely mimic wood planks. To potential home buyers, fake wood paneling is a major turnoff. It is only worth painting if it is in good condition and you need a quick, inexpensive fix. Often, it's best to remove it, especially if:
Real Wood Deserves Careful Consideration
Whether made from solid planks or veneer sheeting, real wood paneling is expensive material. When you paint wood walls, it is considered an irreversible step. Widen the base of prospective buyers—including those who love real wood paneling and are delighted at the discovery of the unpainted version—by covering the wood instead with drywall then paint.
If You Decide to Paint
Follow these steps for any type of wood paneling:
Remove grease and dirt from the wood with a no-rinse TSP cleaner. Sand lightly with 120-grit sandpaper to promote a bond for the paint. Finally, wipe down walls with tack cloth.
Apply an oil-based primer, using throw-away brushes and rollers to reduce cleanup.
Finish with a quality-brand latex wall paint in a semigloss sheen.
To paint or not to paint wood paneling depends on the home. Consult your real estate agent as to whether paint would improve or ultimately detract from your home's perceived value.