What I love about the playroom in The Rental is the space to put up the ride-on train or the bouncy house. What I didn’t love was the paneling. It was actually gray faux wood grain paneling which I had never seen before. Grey is totally in, right? Sadly, the walls were in rough shape between the splintering and stains…
…and the holes from where dartboards had hung in two different locations.
The landlord gave me permission to paint, then reneged because “it couldn’t be painted back”. Then I sent him the pictures above, and he reauthorized me to paint out the paneling. I went with a light grey to keep the room as close to the original as possible.
Everything I read online lead me to believe this would be a simple Saturday project. False. There was no hugging it out Saturday night. It took me all of Saturday and most of Sunday to complete. I had planned to spend Sunday enjoying the fruits of my labors while the kids played around in their new digs, but instead, I had to toil away all day trying to finish this beast while they screamed upstairs with dad because they missed their toys.
Step One: Fill holes with drywall compound.
I read you could use caulk or compound. Because there were so many holes, I went with mudding over large sections of the walls. After the compound dried, I sanded it flat and sanded creases in the paneling grooves so the mudding wouldn’t look too obvious after. There were just so many holes. Some of the little holes you can actually cover with latex paint alone if you swipe it right, but holes of this magnitude required serious attention.
Step Two: Nail in all the loose paneling and trim, then caulk the seams.
Every four feet or so, there will be a seam between the panels. If you don’t fill it, it will look like a noticeable black canyon between painted sections. I usually run my finger over caulk lines, but these paneling joints were so rough and splintery, I had to put on rubber gloves to do it. Some folks like to caulk over every paneling groove to make the walls look flat. I kind of liked the idea of the beadboard look, so I went with that.
Step Three: Cut in with shellac primer.
There are a couple of reasons to use primer. I usually think of primer as coverage for changing color, however, some primers are meant to seal in stains or odors and others are like a glue to help latex paint stick. The paneling is smooth and glossy, so shellac primer was recommended to help the paint adhere.
I used this awesome paintbrush which was recommended by Young House Love. They were only $5, so I bought one for the shellac and one for the latex paint. I wasn’t about to turpentine it up trying to salvage the shellac brush. I did clean and save the latex one, though. It worked great.
What was not so great was the shellac primer. Not only does it give off the most pungent, horrid alcohol reek which filled the whole house and had us worried about everyone’s brains (the fumes are supposedly non-toxic), shellac based primer is So Hard To Work With! The shellac primer I got from Sherwin Williams was the consistency of 1% milk. Thin and runny, it dripped down the walls, splashed here and there, bubbled, foamed, you name it. I hate that stuff! UGH! When I had used the whole gallon, I didn’t get another. I went to Home Depot and bought Zinsser oil-based primer. It worked so much better. I will never shellac again.
Step Four: Roll with shellac primer.
What should have been quick and easy, was messy and involved trying to get this watery poison onto the walls without creating puddles on the carpet. When you do this yourself, just put on a thin coat. The primer is like the wallpaper paste that will allow your paint to stick, so don’t expect it to look good. Just make sure all the surface area is covered.
Step Four: Cut in with latex paint.
I used Sherwin Williams Olympic White (grey) which turned out pretty blue. I’m not impressed with Sherwin Williams. I think I’m going back to Benjamin Moore after this. My second cut brush did a fabulous job. The cutting in just took forever because I had to do all the paneling grooves with the paintbrush. My brush was great, but the paneling groves were extremely thirsty. It ended up feeling like I painted the whole room with a brush. So much work. You can see how I painted on into the night. I think the whole project took me between 16 and 18 hours.
Step Five: Roll on the rest.
Step Five took half an instant after all the other steps. This was the kind of speed and ease I’d envisioned after reading online about painting paneling.
Step Six: Try to stop.
After the walls were done, everything else looks bad, or rather, even more bad. I want to rip off the textured ceiling, paint all the trim, change all the outlet and switch plates, swap out the windows. I have to remind myself, this is a Rental. Cool your jets, Craw. The grody switchplates which had looked bad before now looked unbearable, though.
Determined not to spend too much (more) money on The Rental, I bought $0.37 plastic face plates at Wallmart and sprayed them with the left over spray paint from the table and chairs. Fluffy begged for the rainbow plate.
They actually turned out extremely cute and whimsical. I love having that extra little touch in the room. I’ll admit, the spray paint did not adhere as well to the plastic as it did to the sanded wood, so these are going to get pretty roughed up.
So now the playroom looks like this!
Well, often like this:
And sometimes like this:
or even this:
Which I think we can all agree is preferrable to this: