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Do I Need to Sand Wood Paneling Before Painting It?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Jimmy, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    JIMMY: Couple of weeks ago, I was listening to your show and a person called in and they wanted to paint over wood paneling. And I missed the first part of it. I have paneling in my den. It’s red-oak paneling and my wife has been wanting to paint this stuff forever but you said you had to use a primer. I got that part of it, you know – and a good quality paint – but I think you said you had to sand the paneling first. Is that correct?

    TOM: Well, only sort of lightly sand it. We’d like you to rough up the surface just a little bit because it tends to be fairly glossy, as you know. And so yeah, if you rough up the surface just a bit with some sandpaper and then you apply a good-quality primer and a good-quality paint, you’re going to get the best outcome in terms of that project.

    JIMMY: OK. Because she cleans this paneling every year and she uses an oil-based cleaner to clean it.

    TOM: Well, OK. So on top of that, then I’m also going to suggest that you wash it down with TSP – trisodium phosphate. So, I would give it a sanding and then I would wash it down with a mixture of TSP, which you’ll find at home and hardware stores, usually in the paint aisle. And this way, you’ll clean it of all that oily debris that may still be on the surface that could impede the ability of the primer to stick properly.

    JIMMY: OK. So I don’t know what TSP is. What is that?

    TOM: It’s trisodium phosphate. It’s essentially a detergent. It comes in a powder and you mix it up with water. It’s very soapy but you wash it down with that, rinse it off and you’re good to go.

    JIMMY: Alright. I appreciate it.

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