How to Refinish and Refresh Your Interior Wood Paneling

How to Refinish and Refresh Your Interior Wood Paneling

You can update the look of wood paneling without having to remove it. To complete this project, you will need the following tools:

  • An orbital sander
  • Goggles
  • Stain
  • Shop vacuum
  • Dust mask
  • Wood putty
  • Drop cloths
  • Fine grit type sandpaper

Prepare the Area

To begin the project, you will need to prepare the area. Preparation includes removing any area rugs and furnishings. Because sanding can create a good bit of dust, removing the furniture and carpet is a must. If you cannot remove everything, place drop cloths over those items. Also, make sure you open the windows to increase ventilation.

Sand the Paneling

Sanding is time-consuming; therefore, it usually is a good idea to set aside a time, such as the weekend, to embark on this task. Use the orbital sander first – roughening the paneling’s surface. Make sure you always move with the wood’s grain. If you cannot move with the wood’s grain because of the nature of the paneling, then sand the surface evenly. Do not use circular motions, as doing so will create uneven spots. Sand each panel individually.

Vacuum up the Dust

After you complete sanding, you will need to vacuum the area. Use a brush attachment to remove the dust residue on the wood panels. Vacuuming not only gets rid of the dust, it also permits you to find any spots you may have overlooked.

Putty and Sand the Panels

If any dings or holes are displayed in the paneling, you need to putty them. Only apply a small amount of wood putty. Again, try to keep the application even. Once the putty dries, smooth the area with sandpaper.

Stain and Finish the Wood

Next, you want to stain the wood. Once the old finish has been sanded, the rest of the job can become quite enjoyable. You just need to know something about the finishes. Any finish will work at protecting the wood and giving it a new life.

Polyurethane or Varnish Finishes

Both polyurethane and varnish create a finish that offers a glossy look and good protection. However, repairs can be difficult if these finishes are used.

Tung Oil

Tung oil absorbs well into a wood, deepening its hue. The substance, though, is not a good choice as it will not resist the effects of water, sunlight, or scratches.

The Best Option

The best type of stain to apply is a thin stain, such as Danish oil, as it is easy to add. You only need to brush or wipe it on the woodwork and then wipe it off. If the finish begins to fade and you want to restore it, you do not need to sand it off. All you need to do is clean off the surface and apply a new coat.

This is a practical finish to use as it naturalizes the look of the wood – a better choice than polyurethane or varnish. Regardless of the type of wood, this is one stain that is easy to apply and re-apply, if needed. You can also enhance the look of wood windows with this application.

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