Paint over knotty pine paneling or remove it and sheet rock?

13 Replies

I have a flip coming up in an A neighborhood (solid middle to upper-middle class, nice neighborhood).

I hate paneling.  But do I paint it or remove it and put up drywall?  Maybe one of you wizzes can show me in photoshop what it would look like painted.

'A' neighborhood flip?? No brainer for me, tear it down and drywall. 

Im no pro in this, but does this help? I think it looks good if done correctly. 


On a rental I would paint it.
A flip, probably would drywall it up.  

Check out this article on painting it: Painting Wood Paneling


@Larry T.  I've painted it twice in rentals. If it is the "wood paneling", the paint goes on easy and it looks pretty good. If it is actual wood, the stuff will suck up the paint like a sponge and you'll need to do about four coats. We're in the middle of a rehab right now where the paneling is the actual wood and I couldn't believe it still looked spotty with four coats.

For a basic, buy-and-hold rental the paint will be fine. If you're flipping in a middle to upper-middle class neighborhood, I would rip it out and drywall.


Thanks for the advice all, and thanks for the Joe, that helps.  It still looks so...60s-ish.  I'll take it out.

I would paint the paneling (with a paint sprayer- do not roll). It will brighten up the room and I feel that the white paneling is very much in style. I have seen it sanded down also (sand beyond the stain), and once you get that natural wood look back you can then laquer over it with a clear finish. This can also look very good but is more labor intensive. 

Good luck and I hope it turns out well @Larry T.  !

@Larry T. None of the above. Why remove it? Shrink the room size by 3/4" by just putting 3/8" drywall right over the wood. Much less work, same result. You don't need 1/2" drywall this way either, since it is backed by the wood. 

You might need electrical box extensions, but they are cheap and easy.

@Larry T.  I would save it and paint it. It will come out awesome and have a cottage feel. You will need to use Kilz primer sealer for the first coat and then a white semigloss finish coat. 

If you do go with the drywall plan, as @Walt Payne  said, don't rip it out, just laminate 1/4" or 3/8" over it and be done in 1/4 of the time. 

If you do decide to paint it, the only think I have found that will seal the knots and keep them from bleeding through later is the shellac primer from Zinsser. I've tried other primers, and the shellac type was all that would work.

I actually think taking it out may be your best option. I would carefully remove it and salvage the wood for some cool projects. Or you could put it up on craigslist and make a few bucks back.

Hey thanks everybody for the ideas.  I plan to bring in a staging person to give me her opinion, too.  It might be that painting it and add some pictures/mirror or whatever would break it up enough.  But I am leaning to drywall.

@Walt Payne   Thanks for the idea of going right over the paneling.   I'll discuss that with my contractor.

Depending on the overall style of the house, painted paneling can add a nice texture and give character to an otherwise neutral house. You could also whitewash, but that's a very beachy/cottagey style in my opinion. Also I think painted paneling is in right now. Sort of that shiplap style. 


I think it will be great to paint it. I just did it in a house I renovated. It was a 600k neighborhood. The buyers loved it. I used Ben Moore dunmore cream with white semi gloss trim. I also lightly sanded the walls first and used a killz primer. Good luck


@Larry T.  where is it specifically?   I think you can get away with painting it depending on the area.  I would drywall it if you're in Brighton / Pittsford or a more posh burb.  

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