How To Paint Paneling Without Sanding?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Paneling has been around since the 1960s. And they were mostly used for structural purposes. These days, panelings are used for various reasons such as aesthetics, acoustic conditioning (they help to control reverberations), etc. When paneling gets dated, tarnished, or damaged, Knowing how to paint paneling without sanding is a viable option to help get it back to its previous beautiful state.

Painting helps to add flair to the space where paneling is laid up. Before painting a paneling, sanding is done to prepare the surface by making it rough. This helps to increase the adhesion between surface and paint. Because sanding creates a lot of mess and takes a lot of time to carry out, most people prefer to utilize a Liquid Deglosser, as it roughens surfaces just like sandpaper. And it does so without making a mess.

Key Takeaways:

  • Painting helps paneling to recover it’s beauty and glamour.
  • The sanding process is carried out to prepare paneling surfaces for painting.
  • Deglossing is a great alternative to sanding as it roughens surfaces without making a mess.

Can You Paint Paneling Without Sanding?

Sanding is a very important step when trying to paint paneling. It is the preparatory phase. Sanding helps to remove imperfections and roughen the surface of the paneling to allow the incoming paint to adhere easily. Wooden panels to be painted are supposed to be dry, sanding helps to make wood dry faster.

Also, in cases where the panel has been painted before, sanding helps to remove the old paint. This is because the new paint will not adhere to the wood if the old paint is still there. So basically, sanding helps to prepare surfaces for painting, helps surfaces dry faster for effective painting, and also removes old paint to allow new paint to adhere to the surface.

Can You Paint Paneling Without Sanding

That said, paneling can be painted without sanding if the right tools and process is used. The surface can be cleaned with soap and water to remove dust and dirt, a Deglosser can be applied to help the primer and paint mix and adhere thoroughly. Using a good primer will help for the adhesion of the paint to the panel surface.

A primer is a material used to prepare surfaces for painting. It helps to increase paint durability, ensure better adhesion of paint to the surface and give additional protection to the surface to be painted. A primer can be applied by using a spring roller or brush. Water-Based and oil-based primers are usually preferred as they help to prevent grease or wood stain from ruining the paint job.

Also, instead of carrying out regular sanding, you can employ the use of a formula called Liquid Deglosser. It is also called liquid sandpaper. It helps to remove the gloss from a surface to be painted and it also roughens it in order to enable that surface to hold paint better.

The Deglosser doesn’t just roughen surfaces, it does it in 15 to 20 minutes. This is way better than traditional sanding which takes hours to be completed. Another advantage the liquid deglosser has over traditional sanding is the fact that it doesn’t make as much “dusty mess”. Basically, a Liquid Deglosser is the best option available to people who want to know how to paint paneling without sanding.

Read More:Can You Sleep in a Room after Painting?

Supplies You Need For Painting Paneling

To paint paneling without sanding, a lot of equipment and materials are needed. They include; panel paint, primer, liquid Deglosser, soapy water, rags, putty knife, paint rollers, paintbrush, wood filler, etc.

  • Panel paint. This is the most important material in this process. High-quality latex paints are usually recommended.
  • Primers are used to prepare the surface before paint is applied. There are two popular types of paneling, which are solid wood and veneer paneling. Experts recommend the use of water-based primers with a stain blocking ability for solid wood panels while shellac-based primers are recommended for veneer paneling. It is also advised that the color of the primer should match that of the paint to achieve homogeneity in color.
  • Liquid Deglosser. The Deglosser, also called “the liquid sandpaper”, does the job of a traditional sandpaper by helping to remove gloss to allow the paint to adhere better to the surface.
  • Soapy water and rags are used to remove dirt from the surface before the painting process starts.
  • Wood fillers. They are used to fill up holes and imperfections in the wood paneling before painting.
  • Caulking gun. The caulking gun contains a caulk, which is a waterproof material used to seal cracks and gaps.
  • Paint rollers, paintbrushes, etc. They are used to apply paint on the surface. Paint rollers are ideal for large surfaces, they create a more textured finish and they distribute the paint across the surface faster. The paintbrushes are much more flexible when painting through corners and edges. They are also preferred when trying to control paint distribution.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Paneling?

Painting a panel usually depends more on the surface preparation and the type of paint used than it does on the type of panel surface. That said, the best type of paint to use for painting paneling is latex paint. This is because they don’t crack quickly, they are more durable, and surfaces painted with latex paint can be cleaned with water.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Paneling

Best Paint Finishing:

Different types of paint finishing are used on the paneling for different reasons. The most popular paint finishing used on paneling is the satin finish. This is because it gives a standard gloss and it is more durable than its counterparts. Another type of paint finish is the high gloss finish. It is very easy to clean and it gives the highest gloss of all the paneling paint finishes available. The other popular paint finishings used on paneling are the eggshell finish, matte, and semigloss.

How To Paint Paneling Without Sanding?

Painting paneling without sanding is easy. All that is required is proper materials and preparation and it is as good as done. The process used in painting paneling without sanding is shown below.

To achieve a flawless paint job on a paneling, serious effort needs to go into the preparation of the surface. The preparation process involves clearing the painting area so as to have more room to work, as well as protecting the remaining objects with a cloth to protect them from paint. Also, the edges of the surface to be painted should be covered to achieve clean lines.

How To Paint Paneling Without Sanding

The second preparatory step has to do with thorough cleaning of the surface to be painted. This is done to remove dirt, specks of dust, and other things that might reduce the adhesion between surface and paint. The third concerns safety and it should be of the utmost priority. This involves wearing protective materials such as overalls, hand gloves, and face masks.

Applying liquid Deglosser. A smooth glossy surface will not adhere well to paint. The solution to this problem is usually sanding. Deglossing is a better option which saves more time and creates less mess. Before the Deglosser is applied, the surface has to be cleaned and dried. The Deglosser is then put on a coarse cloth, with which it will be applied to the surface. After it dries up, a second coat is applied.

Primer acts as the base of the paint job. The major purpose of priming is to help increase the adhesion between the surface and the paint. When done properly, priming also helps to improve the lifespan of the paint job. Manufacturers usually recommend two coats of priming before painting.

Painting can be done using paint rollers or paint brushes. It is the most important step of the process. It is worthy to note that using too much paint on the groove can lead to drying problems. Manufacturers and experts recommend at least two coats and an ample drying time between the coats.


A very popular way of restoring paneling that has lost its beauty and allure is by painting. And before painting can be carried out, surface preparation is Paramount. The process of Deglossing shows us how to paint paneling without sanding and it does this without the dusty mess and hours of hard work involved in the sanding process.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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