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Yes, and yes, you can. However, I'm not a big fan of this project. If you like the look of painted paneling, no matter if the 'grooves' are filled, then this is a good project. However, if you think you're gonna get the look-and-feel of drywall, you're mistaken. Paneling will 'flex' even if slightly bumped. This means you'll get cracks in the compound. On top of this, you'll see the uneveness of the wall, well, depending on the angle(s) of light.
BUT, if you're so moved to do this project, here are a couple of links.
How o paint paneling I and How to paint paneling II
My best to ya and hope this helps.
Jay J -Moderator
PS: God Bless America!
Jay J is absolutely right regarding the "feel" of the painted paneling and the possibilty of cracking drywall compound.
I went through the same decision last year for our mobile home in Florida. The paneling had been painted by the previous owner but I wanted to dress it up a little.
Therefore, I filled in the grooves with compound and painted the whole area with a primer. I then hung "Paintable Wallpaper" and after a couple of days, to let the paste dry thoroughly, painted that. It's quite a bit of work but perhaps not as much as replacing the paneling with drywall and not as costly. As stated by Jay J, the walls still "flex" but they are flat, nothing will fall off and the visual effect is excellent.
Incidentally, the heavily textured Paintable Wallpaper is "Blown Vinyl" and can be obtained at any good DIY/Paint store including Home Depot and Lowes at around $11 per roll. It could be pre-pasted but please, especially if you are in a high-humidity area, ignore this and paste again with heavy-duty paste.
Finally and briefly, I also simply painted one wall with a vinyl "Textured" paint, after filling grooves, that advertised "flexibility". We are travelling down there next week, from Canada, so we'll see if the paint is still on the wall!!
Hope this helps and good luck. Alan.
ps Being originally from England, I must confess that I am a really big fan of Blown Vinyl wallpaper. It has been used for many years over there to provide a good cover for "imperfect" wall surfaces. If you would any further info, please post.