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How To Paint VJ Boards

How To Paint VJ Boards

The second most common question we are asked both here and on social media, is how to paint VJ boards. Now I don’t claim to be a professional, but we have picked up some great tips over the years and can save you a bunch of time with a few of these hints we are happy to share.

How To Paint VJ Boards

We painted the walls in our home, it was my very first experience painting on such a large scale. Some of the job I really loved, and some of it I loathed, but all of it was essential for a good result. A word of warning prior to beginning if you own an older home. It is important to ensure that you home is not painted with a lead paint. If your home was built prior to 1970, and you know it hasn’t been painted in the last 20 years, speak to a professional before you begin painting. In all cases, if your home hasn’t been painted since the 1980’s I would still advise having it checked. Lead was used in a smaller percentage in paints until the 80’s, so there is never any harm in being sure.

Preparation Is Key

The very first job when painting VJ boards is to thorough prep the area. Start by giving your walls a light sand. The sand will ‘rough up’ the face of the wall which will give the paint a better surface to stick to. Once the sanding is completed, give your walls a wash down with sugar soap which is available in hardware shops and supermarkets.

This is the one part of my whole painting experience I hated, be warned it is not a pleasant job, but an essential one to ensure a seamless finish, you need to fill the gaps. When the builder first mentioned filling the gaps in VJs many years ago, I honestly though he meant all the way to make the walls smooth, but alas that is not correct.

how to paint vj boards

You need to fill the gaps of the VJ to ensure even paint coverage. A word on fillers, use a flexible filler as the VJ will expand and contract with the weather. Dry weather and the board will contract, wet weather and it will expand. As pointed out above when we recently painted our ceiling VJs, this is what you are looking to fill.

Be sure to wipe off any excess filler with a damp cloth, and take care of your fingers when applying, painting our whole house had my fingers bleeding in the end. It’s a good job to share around!

Brush Selection

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Choosing the right brush is the key to cutting down the time it will take, and this is how we did our home. First you will need to purchase a long nap roller like the 3/4″ nap above, a short nap roller like the 3/8″ or 1/4″ above and a good quality brush. If you want to paint the walls quickly and effectively this is the best brush combination to do the job. We also often use a mini roller so add this one to your painting arsenal. If you have a steady hand, a regular brush will be fine for cutting in, but if not purchase a brush designed for cutting in.

Team Work Is The Key

Effective, quick painting of VJs is done as a two-person job. You certainly can paint the VJ on your own, however the method we are about to describe will not work, painting with a brush will then be your best option. But if you have a DIY partner or can rope in a friend for some help, you won’t regret this two person method.

how to paint VJs boards, queenslander

Hannah Puechmarin Rachael Honner

First paint the wall with the long nap roller, the longer nap will allow the paint to get into the grooves of the VJ, then straight after, have your partner follow you with the short nap roller to smooth out the texture of the paint. Continue like this around the room until you have completed your first coat, allow to dry and follow the same method for as many coats as you need to ensure even coverage.

Cutting in can be done first or can be done after the walls are rolled, we used a combination of both in our home and had similar result for both. When using the roller, ensure you have plenty of paint loaded on, however not so much it drips. Trial and error is the best educator.

Painting VJs can be as simple as that, though no doubt a purest might not agree with the method we used, it was effective and quick.


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  1. That colour is wonderful on your walls – what is it?

    1. Hi Emily, it’s called from Dusk till Dawn. x

  2. Hi Nicole, looks beautiful! Any tricks on painting chipped paint on VJ walls?

    1. Hi Ec, thanks for your question. Yes, you need to prep that surface before you paint it, for example, sand back the chips until you have an even surface to paint. Don’t forget to wash the walls after you have sanded them!

  3. Hi 🙂 Just wondering if you had to brush between the boards at all, or the roller was thick enough that the paint got in the gaps?

    1. Hi Jacqui, using a roller with a think nape and then a quick brush through gave the perfect results.

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