Lighten Your Pine Paneling With Whitewash Stain

Many people still prefer lighter ceilings or walls over medium or darker color tones. Whether you live in a contemporary home, log cabin, or a tiny home, whitewashing is a popular option. Your typical choices are staining or painting the walls and ceilings.

Knotty pine paneling lends itself to staining rather than painting for several reasons. Stains are available in many colors and are easy to apply. Let’s take a closer look at benefits of staining knotty pine paneling.

What Is Knotty Pine Paneling

Knotty pine paneling is made with boards that are ¾” thick and 4”, 5”, 6”, and 8” widths in varying lengths. It is unlike the old ¼” thick paneling that came in 4’x8’ sheets that were popular from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Knotty pine paneling is milled from sustainable trees that are grown on federally approved tree farms. Once the trees are milled into boards and cut to size, the sides and ends are milled with a tongue and groove/end-matching design. This design provides these advantages:


  • There is less time spent measuring and sawing boards
  • The paneling is virtually a “no-waste” product
  • The panels are end-butted anywhere on or between the wall framing
  • Joints fit snugly to prevent air leaks
  • Each piece is correctly kiln-dried for stability and staining


You will also enjoy the benefit of affordable pricing compared to hardwoods such as oak, cherry, hickory, or maple. Knotty pine paneling is a win-win product.

Why Stain Your Unfinished Paneling

Unfinished knotty pine paneling looks terrific for walls, ceilings, and other applications. Staining to add color rather than painting unfinished paneling offers these benefits:


  • Quality stains are less expensive than leading brands of paint
  • Stains penetrate the wood grain while paints stand on top of the wood
  • Stains retain the natural texture and tone of the wood
  • Staining protects and preserves wood better than painting it
  • Many times painting requires a primer coat that doubles the work and increases the cost
  • Staining wood generally only needs one coat

Stain typically keeps its color for a long time, and it doesn’t chip off like paint can after a few years. This product is easy to apply with a brush, cloth, or roller. One last pro is that stain doesn’t lump up on the ends of boards like paint can.

“Whether you live in a contemporary home, log cabin, or a tiny home, whitewashing is a viable option.”

Types Of Whitewash For Pine Paneling

Whitewash stain is available for you to apply to paneling, or you can order pine paneling in a pre-finished condition. One of the favorites is white ash color and a related stain called classic gray which is very light gray in color.

Sherwin Williams and Minwax brands are excellent choices to stain your wood. After staining, apply two coats of clear top coat finish for a long-lasting durable surface. Some painters prefer to first apply a coat of pre-conditioner to the wood. After it dries, apply the stain color of your choice. The pre-conditioner helps even out the light and dark areas of the wood to make them look more similar.

Whitewashing knotty pine paneling lightens up rooms whether you apply it to ceilings, walls, wainscoting, or backsplashes. It also looks great on many other woodworking projects.

Do Not Paint Unfinished Knotty Pine Paneling

We hear about homeowners painting over old pine paneling that was varnished or finished with polyurethane. Here, we’re talking about applying stain to new unfinished paneling, which is a different process. We advise against painting pine paneling because:

  • It takes much longer to paint paneling than staining it
  • Paint can chip off within a few years depending on abuse
  • Some paint primers contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that smell bad
  • The VOCs can cause temporary memory loss, visual impairment, dizziness, and irritation
  • Paint hides the grain and color of the wood
  • Painting paneling costs much more than staining it
  • Paint does not let the wood breathe

Some people who may give you advice about pine paneling may not be aware of these disadvantages.

Where To Find Quality Pine Paneling

The best combination of quality knotty pine paneling and price is not found at lumber yards or home improvement stores. Look online for what The Log Home Shoppe has to offer, and you will be pleased.

We produce pine paneling that is kiln-dried properly for stability and effective staining. It is milled to exacting standards and each piece is hand-inspected so you receive what you expect from the best. We also produce knotty pine trims, molding, decking, flooring, and interior doors that complement your walls and ceilings.

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