Palladino recommends applying paint with a sprayer, and then back rolling, instead of painting by hand. "Spraying puts on nearly twice as much paint as a brush or a roller, and makes the application last longer," he explains. In addition, for color retention and moisture resistance, he prefers satin sheen paint rather than flat paint, which is more porous and soils more easily.
Interior paneling is yet another challenge in Eichler homes. With the passage of years, the lustrous lauan often becomes worn, stained, and discolored, and tends to darken with age.
"If a homeowner had a picture hanging on the wall for several years, the area behind the picture is always darker than the areas around it," says Paul Benson of Paul Benson Paining of San Rafael.
Blending in a stain color into the lighter wood and applying a coat of polyurethane can often repair this type of discoloration. Stripping the paneling, re-staining, and coating with a protective topcoat can oftentimes bring the panels back to their original glory.
While the original Cabot stain wax product that Eichler used was discontinued during the past decade, Eichler owners report using other products with success for re-staining projects, including Minwax, Watco Danish Finishing Wood Oil, as well as Cabot's opaque 2000 series stain. These products are usually combined with a wood cleaner and a finishing application, such as Touch of Oranges and Howard's Feed-N-Wax. Test strips are always recommended.
For those who are facing damaged paneling or simply want a lighter, brighter room, there are two options: replace the paneling and then stain or paint with a lighter tone, or paint over the existing paneling. For the latter, seams of the lauan panels can be taped and textured to actually simulate the appearance of sheetrock.
"There's value in maintaining the integrity of the Eichler home by keeping the wood natural, but the problem is that some of these rooms get really dark because they're not very well lit," Benson points out.
"A good 50 percent of Eichler owners I work with are interested in painting the paneling -- to brighten it and give it more appeal. The lighter color palettes can really transform an Eichler interior."