Painting varnished paneling...
My finace' and I are buying a home that was built in 1976 and the living room has paneled walls. They are nice but we want to distress them and do not want to have to sand the finish off. I don't know a lot about varnishes or clear finishes, but I do know that we have to rough them up before painting. I understand that we have to primer with an oil based primer, then sand, then prime and then sand, and then paint with an oil based paint. (I hate using oil based paints) Since we are going for a distressed look, we would have to paint a second coat of a different color.
What I am trying to find out is after reading around, I have read about liquid sandpaper, then I have also read about TSP...
What would be the easiest process to go about refinishing a room that is 28'x16', with a lot of paneled wall.
I also wonder if I should spray versus using rollers?
Re: Painting varnished paneling...
I have painted many 1970's dark paneled rooms over the years. My favorite primer is BIN. BIN has incredible adhesion on slick surfaces and has minimal film build up. My preferred meathod of application was by HVLP sprayer. BIN is very fast drying,being shellac based. Its solvent is denatured alcohol. By the time I had sprayed around the room, it was dry at the starting point and I could give immediately a second coat , completely blanking out even the darkest of paneling. I would follow up with a coat of oil enamel, giving a beautiful, factory like finish with very little film build up.
As to prep, make sure that any oily substances, such as oil from fingers, is removed from the surface. Obviously a general washing with TSP would be a good idea. I light scuff sanding with fine sandpaper is also a good idea. There are sanding prep liquids that can do the same function. Most are rather smelly and will give you a buzz.
When you speak of "distressing", I think you are talking about glazing. Glazing, or antiquing, allows you to give a highlighting transparent coat of color to the paneling. It will get caught in the grooves, imperfections, knots, etc. It can be evenly brushed on and left, or the excess can be wiped off the surface , leaving the glaze only in highlighted areas. The glaze can also be striated with a course brush to give a kind of grained look. Generally, color of a stronger color is added to the glazing. I prefer to use oil based glazing liquid as it gives much more working time then latex based glalzing liquid. The oil based version would also give better adhesion if the base coat is oil paint.
Usually, a glaze is then topcoated with a varnish. The glazing around areas such a light switches, tends to wear off with time if not protected.