How to Whitewash Wood Paneling for a Rustic Look – Quick & Easy Tips

How to Whitewash Paneling
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How to Whitewash Wood Paneling – Whitewashing wood paneling is a great way to give walls a rustic, farmhouse-like look. It also gives you the freedom of color and design that wood paneling provides.

To whitewash wood paneling, all you need are white paint and wood filler. With the tips below, whitewashing wood paneling will be a piece of cake for you too!

Alternatives to Whitewash Paneling

Whitewash wood paneling is a quick way to add rustic looking wood paneling to your home, but it might be time-consuming and expensive. Instead, you can try the following options to get the same look without spending much of your time and money.

  • Wax: Waxing wood paneling gives it a distressed or aged look, which can be perfect for a rustic home decor. Plus, the wax coating helps protect the wood from water damage, so it will stay looking new for longer.
  • Stain: If you want a uniform rustic look, you can stain your wood paneling with a natural stain. This will give it an even tone and make it look more natural.
  • Sealer: A sealer is another option for protecting wood from water damage and fading. It prevents the wood from absorbing moisture and provides a smoother finish. You can use any sealer of your choice, such as sanding sealer or paint sealer.

Finally, if you want the most natural look possible, cover your wood paneling with unfinished wood boards. This will create a worn-in look that blends in naturally with the rest of your home decor.

How to Whitewash Paneling

Whitewash Wood Paneling for a Rustic Look
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Whitewashing wood panels can be a great way to add a vintage look or whitewash wood paneling on your home. To whitewash wood paneling, you will need white paint, latex paint, and a sealant.

1. Get the right supplies: Whitewash requires white paint, latex paint, and a sealant. You can use white primer for the wood, followed by a coat of white paint.

For the whitewash itself, use a durable latex paint with a bright white color. Lastly, you can use a water-based sealant to finish the job.

2. Prep the wood: Use a wood cleaner to remove any dirt or wax residue from the wood surface. This will help the whitewash adhere to the wood better.

3. Apply the whitewash: begin by spraying the whitewash onto the surface you wish to whitewash. After that, wipe off excess whitewash with a dry cloth or paper towel to create a uniform finish. Let it dry completely before finishing.

Step 1: Prepare the Walls

If you want to whitewash wood paneling for a rustic look, the steps to follow are as follows:

  • Remove any existing wall coverings.
  • Cut the wood panels to the desired size.
  • Primer and paint the wood panels with a paint that matches the wall color.
  • Apply painter’s tape to the wood panels and allow them to dry completely.
  • Once the wood panels have dried, remove the painter’s tape and whitewash the wood with white paint of your choice.
  • Apply a sealant if desired. This will help protect the wood against fading and water damage.

Step 2: Prepare the Whitewash

Here’s how to whitewash wood paneling for a rustic look in a short and easy steps.

  • First, you need to remove the dirt, dust, and grease from the wood paneling with a cloth or vacuum cleaner.
  • Apply a coat of whitewash to the wood paneling with a brush. Let the whitewash dry for at least 24 hours. Once it has dried, you can finish the project by priming and painting the wood paneling as desired.

Step 3: Apply the Paint

Start whitewashing wood paneling by applying white paint using a brush or roller. This will help create a uniform and bright finish that is easy to clean and maintain.

Use a good quality white paint for best results. Avoid using primer or paint with a high gloss as it may dull the whitewash finish.

Once the paint has been applied, allow it to dry thoroughly before applying another coat. This will ensure the whitewash is durable and resistant to fading.

If the whitewash is not completely dry after the second coat, use a chisel or hammer to rough up the surface of the wood paneling. This will create texture and additional layers of whitewash that can further enhance the appearance of the wood paneling.

Finish the whitewashing job by applying a sealer if desired. This can protect the whitewash from weathering and fading while also improving its durability and longevity.

Step 4: Seal Whitewashed Walls

  • Apply a protective sealant to the walls before whitewashing.
  • Mix the whitewash and water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use a paintbrush to apply the whitewash to the wall in a smooth, continuous layer.
  • Allow the whitewash to dry completely before applying any finishes.
  • Remove any excess white wash with a damp cloth or sponge.

After whitewashing, it’s vital that you follow the steps outlined above to ensure the white wash doesn’t stain the walls or leave behind any unsightly marks.

By taking these simple steps, you can create a beautiful and natural look on your walls that will last throughout the year.

How do you whitewash wood paneling without sanding?

After whitewashing, sanding wood paneling walls removes flaws that may be visible. There are a variety of other approaches you may whitewash wood panels if you don’t want to inhale dust created during sanding. There are several possibilities, including:

Liquid degreaser: Before whitewashing, you may use a liquid degreaser to clean the surface if the wood panels have grease, oils, or other sticky materials.

Priming the surface: Before applying the whitewash paint, a primer is used to prime the surface. After the whitewash is applied, it helps prevent stains, makes the surface of the wood panel more smooth, and solves any surface flaws.

The kind of wood paneling you desire to whitewash determines the type of primer to utilize. Shellac-based primers, oil-based primers, and latex-based primers, often known as water-based primers, are the three fundamental sorts of primer that you may pick from.

Can you whitewash faux wood paneling?

With the correct planning and execution of the process, you can whitewash faux wood paneling. The corrosive effects of caustic lime used to make most of the whitewash paints are a source of worry for many people considering whitewashing faux wood paneling.

Thankfully, most whitewash paints are compatible with a variety of surfaces. Whitewashing faux wood on the wall, furniture, or the whole room can be brightened up if you prepare and prepare properly.

Can you whitewash varnished wood paneling?

Because of the original finish or stains, you cannot whitewash varnished wood paneling. The paint is unable to penetrate the wood grains because of the varnish. Yet, if you apply a thick stain to old wood panels, the outcome will not be pleasing.

What’s the Difference Between Whitewashing and Pickling?

Since they both involve applying a transparent white finish to wood, whitewashing and pickling are often used interchangeably. They are, however, two distinct techniques. To brighten the look of the wood and reveal the grain’s texture, pickling involves applying a stain to it. To achieve a similar effect, whitewashing employs a paint mixture rather than a stain.


You can whitewash wood paneling-style walls to create the look of a rustic farmhouse or simply give your paint job a fresh, clean look. In this guide, we’ve provided you with simple steps for whitewashing wood paneling walls.

Read on to learn more about the look and feel of whitewashed wood paneling walls. If you’re looking for an alternative to whitewashing wood paneling walls, try our blog on spray-on wall paint instead!

Feel free to share the blog on social media and help others achieve the look of whitewashed wood paneling walls!

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