To paint faux paneling, clean the paneling, tape off the surrounding areas, and fill the seams between each piece of paneling with caulk. After the caulk cures, use a thick-napped roller brush that is recommended for rough surfaces to apply bonding latex primer to the wall. Allow the primer to dry, add a second coat of primer, and paint the wall with two coats of latex paint.
Smooth the caulk to match the surrounding area immediately after applying it. Apply the paint in two thin, even layers to achieve a smooth finish, and use an angled brush to paint tight corners. Shellac primer is an alternative to bonding latex primer. Avoid using water-based primer when painting fake wood paneling, and use oil-based paint when using an oil-based primer.
To paint the grooves in the paneling without a thick-napped roller, load a small paintbrush with paint, and tap the paintbrush along each groove. Avoid using an angled paintbrush to paint the grooves, as the wood damages the brush. Finish the walls with a regular paintbrush or roller brush.
If the paneling is very glossy or splintered, sand it before applying the primer. The primer often appears spotty or uneven. Painting the wall covers the uneven appearance of the primer.