How to Paint Paneling to Look Like Shiplap

Are you looking for an easy way to make a big impact on your home’s walls? Painting paneling is a great option! As it turns out, there’s even more of an opportunity for doing something special with this project than just giving the walls a new coat of paint.

How to Paint Paneling to Look Like Shiplap

With some basic supplies and tips on how to paint paneling to look like shiplap, you can transform that old paneling into faux shiplap – a style popularized by Joanna Gaines during her time on Fixer Upper. In this blog post, we’ll cover the step-by-step process so that you can easily create beautiful wall textures in any room. So if you’re ready to take on the challenge and give your space an extra bit of character, let’s get started!

Is Paint Paneling a Difficult Task?

Not at all! Painting paneling is actually a fairly straightforward project that can be completed with minimal effort and time. It might take a bit of practice to perfect the technique, but with patience and attention to detail, you’ll be able to achieve the look you’ve been dreaming of.

To begin, it’s important to note that painting paneling should not be done over wallpaper or on unprimed wood. Doing so can create an uneven paint job and ultimately lead to peeling and bubbling.

Things to Consider Before Starting

Before you dive into the project, there are a few key considerations.

First and foremost, it’s important to prep the area correctly by sanding off any existing paint or varnish so that the paneling accepts the new paint evenly. Then, make sure to use an oil-based primer specifically designed for wood in order to ensure proper adhesion.

Finally, be sure to use semi-gloss or high gloss paint in order to create a smooth and even finish.

Needed Tools

All you’ll need are some basic tools, such as:

  • A paintbrush or roller
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper, and of course
  • Paint
  • Latex or acrylic paints

10 Tips on How to Paint Paneling to Look Like Shiplap

1. Prepare the Wall

Start by removing any existing paint or varnish from the paneling with sandpaper. It will help ensure that the new coat of paint adheres properly. If you don’t have any existing paint, you can skip this step.

2. Apply a Primer

Using an oil-based primer specifically designed for wood will help create a better bond between the paneling and the paint, so be sure to use one throughout the project. The primer will also help to create an even-toned look when the painting is complete.

3. Tape Off the Walls

Use Painter Tape to Outline the Area

Use painter’s tape to outline the area you’ll be working in, then fill any nail holes or gaps with caulk before taping up any edging on the panels. This will give you a cleaner and more professional finish.

4. Sand and Clean

Sand down the paneling using fine-grit sandpaper, then clean off any dust with a damp cloth. This will help to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to.

5. Paint One End of Each Panel at a Time

Start by painting one end of each panel, then move on to the next one and repeat. This will help you to easily create a more even look across all of the panels, which is essential for giving the room a shiplap effect.

6. Paint in Thin Coats

For best results, paint in thin layers and let each layer dry completely before adding another coat. This will ensure that you don’t get any smudges or runs in the paint. Painting in thin coats will also help the paint to last longer and look better over time.

7. Paint in the Same Direction

With Your Brush Strokes

When painting, it’s important to stay consistent with your brush strokes so that you don’t get any uneven areas or lines. Try to always paint in one direction and use a light touch when applying the paint to avoid any inconsistencies.

8. Use a High-Gloss Paint

High-gloss paint will give your paneling a more modern, polished look and help to create an even finish that’s easy to clean and maintain over time. It will also help to brighten up the room and make it look fresh and inviting.

9. Don’t Forget the Edges

Once you’ve finished painting the panels, be sure to edge off any corners or edges with a brush and some extra paint. This will give your paneling a more professional and finished look. The edge will also help to prevent any chipping or to peel over time.

10. Apply a Clear Coat

Once you’re finished, apply a clear coat of polyurethane sealer to protect the paint and help it last longer. This will also give your paneling an extra glossy finish that’s sure to impress anyone who sees it.

Following these steps will ensure that your paneling looks like a shiplap. With a little patience and the right tools, you can create a professional-looking finish that’s sure to impress!

7 Maintenance Tips

  1. To extend the life of your painted wall project, it is important to clean and maintain it periodically. Dirt may accumulate on the surface of the Shiplap paneling, so it is best to lightly dust and vacuum your panel as needed.
  2. Regularly inspect it for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any cracks or chips in the wood, repair it immediately.
  3. The work is prone to water damage, so make sure you take measures to protect the paneling from prolonged exposure to moisture. Consider using a waterproof sealant or polyurethane coating for the best protection against water and humidity.
  4. The paneling can become scuffed and scratched over time, so to revitalize the paneling, it is important to give it a fresh coat of paint every few years.
  5. The painting can also be susceptible to sun damage. To avoid any discoloration or fading of the wood, invest in some window curtains or shutters to help block out direct sunlight.
  6. It may also be prone to insect infestations. Regularly inspect the paneling for any signs of insects such as termites, carpenter ants, and powder post beetles. If you do find any, use an insecticide to eliminate them from your painting
  7. Finally, the wall should be checked for signs of rot or mold growth at least once a year. If you find any evidence of these issues, apply a fungicide and repaint the paneling as soon as possible. With regular maintenance, the paint should last for years and remain looking beautiful.
Vacuum Your Panel as Needed

By following these simple steps, It will be a durable and beautiful addition to your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will It Take to Complete the Task?

The amount of time it takes to complete the task depends on the size of the project, the tools used, and the skill level of the painter. On average, a job that covers about 100 square feet can be completed in two days or less. It will take more time if the paneling is intricate or if there are other special considerations.

Do I Need to Prime How to Paint Paneling to Look Like Shiplap Before Painting?

Yes, it is essential that you prime before painting. Primer will help the paint adhere better, ensure better coverage, and help protect the paneling from damage. Be sure to use a primer that is suitable for the type of surface you are working with.

Help Protect the Paneling From Damage

What Type of Paint Should I Use?

For completing the task, it is best to choose a high-quality latex or oil-based paint. Latex paint is easy to work with and dries quickly, while oil-based paints are more durable and typically last longer. Additionally, oil-based paints provide a richer, more elegant finish than latex. The paint should be applied in thin coats for best results.

What Type of Brush Should I Use?

It is best to use a high-quality brush with natural bristles when painting. Natural bristle brushes are better suited for smoother surfaces and will help you achieve an even, professional finish. Additionally, a brush with good bristles will help you avoid brush strokes and streaks in your paint job.


Painting your paneling to look like shiplap is an inexpensive way to bring a modern, rustic feel to any room. Not only is the finished result stunningly beautiful, but it’s also easy enough for even the novice DIYer to accomplish. Of course, there are some considerations you should take into account before beginning this project.

Remember that proper surface preparation and quality materials are essential for a successful outcome. Furthermore, if you follow all the steps on how to paint paneling to look like shiplap outlined in this article, you will be able to successfully create a lasting and attractive look that turns heads. So don’t wait – start your project today and transform your paneling into a beautiful shiplap!

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Angela Ervin

Angela is the chief editor of Indoorense. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping and cleaning,home decorations as well as other efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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