Can you recommend a non-toxic way to prepare wood paneling for paint?


Can you recommend a non-toxic way to prepare wood paneling for paint?

Asked by Jo Shoesmith

My dog recently had lung cancer and fortunately surgery has cured him (we hope). I want to be very careful about indoor air quality from now on. I have 1970's style dark wood paneling ALL over the house - all walls and ceilings. I would like to "lighten up" the house and plan to use eco friendly primer and paint. Everything I read about preparing the paneling for primer and paint says that I must sand the paneling to give it a rougher service so that the primer and paint will adhere to it. I am concerned that sanding the paneling will release harmful particles in the air-the very thing I am trying to avoid! Can you advise me?

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Nancy Raynaud, ASID, CID, LEED Green Associate, GREENleader AP's picture

In my experience, I have used one or two coats of Benjamin Moore Fresh Start registered All Purpose 100% Acrylic Primer 023/N023.

  • When I remodelled a dark brown room with permanent pen and crayon marks on the walls into a light blue and lavender childs room, this product worked great!
  • This primer will give you a bright white base to add color over without it appearing dingy or discolored.

I think it may cost a little bit more than other primers, but if you want the change done quickly or if it is DIY, then it is worth the extra cost to not have to apply multiple coats of primer.

The cleanup will be all water based. Try it on one room first, of course, or do a large test patch before ordering all the paint.

Follow with a zero VOC Natura registered Interior Paint in an eggshell finish in all rooms except the trim, kitchen and bathroom--which should be semi gloss.