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How To Paint Wainscoting Panels In Your Home

White painted Wainscoting panels on blue walll, behind couch and occasional table

Fallen in love with the aesthetic look of wainscoting panels? We don’t blame you! They can add instant character to plain, flat walls, and suit both classic and contemporary interiors.  

White painted Wainscoting panels on blue walll, behind couch and occasional table

But DIYers take note! Painting wainscoting panels is more challenging than it looks. If a high-end finish is what you’re dreaming of, read on before you crack that paint tin.  

What is the best paint for wainscoting?

Using the right paint for half-wall paneling is the key to achieving a high-end finish. So which paint is recommended for wainscoting? 

Oil-based paint vs latex paint

Traditionally, oil-based paint has been a popular choice for half-wall paneling.  

Pros include: 

  • Provides a durable, rock-hard coating 
  • Slower drying time allows brush strokes to level out  
  • Easier to achieve a glass-like finish  
  • Great at hiding stains 

Cons include: 

  • Potent odour that is hazardous to work with and hangs around for weeks 
  • Requires harsh chemicals to clean up  
  • Can go yellow after only a few years, especially gloss 
  • Hard to remove and repaint 

High-quality latex paint is now the preferred option for painting wainscoting panels because it’s an easier paint to work with and clean up, is a better choice environmentally, and doesn’t release toxic fumes.  

Pros include: 

  • Self-leveling reduces visibility of brush strokes  
  • No overpowering fumes  
  • Only requires water to clean up 
  • Durable and won’t yellow over time 

Cons include: 

  • Less durable – especially if you don’t use a premium paint 
  • May require more coats to achieve desired finish 
  • Not great for blocking stains 
Photo by Volkan Vardar on Pexels

Tips for painting half-wall paneling

Prepping the wainscoting before painting is important. Use a high-quality undercoat to eliminate chipping with no uneven finish or bleeding edges. Wainscoting panels are usually at chair height so crisp edges are important to achieve a polished, high-end look. To ensure a clean paint job, it’s crucial to tape the edges perfectly.  

Wainscoting panels have lines and seams that make it almost impossible to paint with anything but a brush. Achieving a finish that’s free of visible brush strokes can be incredibly challenging for an inexperienced painter. Patience, technique, and skill are required. 

Rollers can be used on larger areas. However, specific rollers must be used with perfect pressure to get your desired look. This also depends on if you are using matt, gloss, or semi-gloss. The choice between matt, semi-gloss or gloss is really a matter of preference. 

Give Your Wainscoting Panels the Perfect Finish

Want a high-end finish? Outsource your wainscoting painting – Perth specialists AJ Cochrane & Sons have decades of experience and meticulous attention to detail. Get in touch with our team today

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