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Painting wall panelling – a tutorial

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It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Wainscoting has become fashionable again. Until recently it was associated only with the People’s Republic of Poland, but now it is one of the most popular trends in wall decoration. How should we paint the panelling to make it an attractive interior finish?

Different types of panelling

Modern wood panelling doesn’t resemble the one from the People’s Republic of Poland at all. Today, paneling is made of trendy veneer, raw boards, panels, MDF and PVC. Painting wainscoting from each of these materials looks different. Therefore, the paint with which the surface will be covered must be selected according to the material. For painting plastic paneling, alkyd and acrylic paints are best.

Which paint is best?

Choosing the right paint for painting wood paneling is half the battle. For wood paneling, a high-quality acrylic wood enamel will work best. The enamel is a water-based paint, which means that it is completely safe for health. These paints provide very good coverage, dry quickly and leave a smooth coating. Before using enamel, prepare the substrate properly to increase the adhesion of the paint. If the paneling is varnished, the surface should be matted.

Wood panelling can be painted with any paint for wood. If the effect of painting is to be as natural as possible, it should be painted with a transparent varnish, oil or wax. The transparent coating will protect the paneling and give it a natural look. Unfortunately, this way of painting the paneling highlights all of its imperfections.

Is it possible to refinish wood paneling without sanding?

Contrary to what you may think, it is possible to refinish wood paneling without sanding. All you have to do is apply a chalk paint for wood paneling. This product is intended only for wood paneling and is quite expensive (although worth the price). With chalk paint, you can achieve any effect (shading, rubbing or full coverage). This paint dries very quickly and does not require sanding of the substrate.

What color should I paint the paneling?

Painting wainscoting white is very popular (it optically enlarges the room and gives it lightness). This color goes well with Scandinavian and rustic styles.

The paneling can also be painted in colors, so you can give the interior a unique character. Metallic and pastel colors work great for this. Recently, painting each board in a different shade of the same color has become a very fashionable trend – such paneling fits perfectly into monochromatic interiors.

Painting wood panelling step by step

Painting wood paneling is not a difficult or laborious job, and it can be done in one weekend.

1. Removing wall elements

The first stage of the work is to remove all elements that are on the paneling, such as paintings and mirrors. It is also a good idea to empty the entire room of furniture, carpets and other equipment. Before painting, you should also protect the floor. It is worth unscrewing switches and contacts or securing them with painter’s tape.

2. Washing

Before sanding, wash the paneling very thoroughly with water and a mild detergent. This will help remove grease, dirt and dust that has accumulated over the years.

3. Sanding the paneling

If the paneling is painted with ordinary acrylic wood paint, you will need to sand off the layer of varnish that is on it. This is best done with a sander combined with a vacuum cleaner (this will avoid excessive cleaning). The old layer of paint can also be removed with fine-grained sandpaper.

Sanding should be done very carefully so that the varnish is completely removed.

4. Dusting off the panelling

Once the wainscot has been sanded down, it should be dusted off thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner. If there are any cavities, they should be filled with wood filler.

5. Cleaning the paneling

After dusting thoroughly, wash the paneling with water alone. This will remove any remaining dust.

6. Painting the panelling

Painting the paneling is the final step. Before painting, you should read the manufacturer’s recommendations – they are on the paint can.

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