Hire a Pro Advice: Paint Paneling

Get help finding a painting contractor to paint paneling and learn what should be included in a contract between a contractor and homeowner. Find some design advice about choosing paint colors for paneling.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

"Painting Contractors" are listed in the Yellow Pages and many paint dealers recommend paint contractors who are their regular customers. You can go online and find a painter at a contractor referral service or type "paint paneling in (your city)" in a search engine like Bing, Google or Yahoo. Make sure the contractor has a certificate of insurance and workers' compensation insurance, if he has employees. Generally, the contractor will come to your house for an assessment of its conditions, before quoting a price in a written proposal or contract.

Here are the basic points that should be included in a written contract with a painting contractor.

  • Specific siding, windows, trim, surfaces, etc. to be painted
  • Total cost
  • Payment schedule
  • Start and completion dates
  • Paint and primer brands with grade, colors, gloss and base; how they'll be applied; and the number of coats
  • Type of caulk to be used and the extent of caulking to be done
  • Specific preparation and repair work (i.e. wall cracks, broken glass panes) to be completed
  • How the site will be protected from spills, splatters and over spray and who is responsible for removing them
  • Who is responsible for clean up
If the price seems reasonable and you are unsure about the painter's reputation, ask for several references and make follow-up calls to determine if the homeowners are happy with the contractor's work. These should be referrals for similar work.

When choosing a color consider the size and function of the room. Pale colors will brighten and expand a small or dark room, and dark warm tones can make a large room appear more cozy. Consider the furnishings and flooring as well. If furniture for the room is bright and bold, choose a contrasting color as a backdrop on the walls. If the furniture and floor is dark, a lighter shade on the walls will strike a nice balance. A flat or eggshell (also called satin) finish is a good choice for paneled walls so they'll have a subtle sheen.