You can texture over wood. Whether you want to make paneling look like a regular paintind wall, texture over plywood or composition wood or improve the look of interior wood siding, texturing over wood is similar to texturing over drywall. There are some differences that you should be aware of.
How to Texture Over Wood
Prime all wood surfaces before texturing. On cedar or redwood, you must use a shellac or oil primer otherwise the tannin in the wood will stain through your texture and even through the paint. Texture will not adhere well to shiny wood paneling so it should be primed to accept the texture. Most wood is more absorbent than plaster or drywall, and whether you spray on a texture or do it by hand, it is likely to flake off later on. Apply your primer and let it dry for the recommended time before texturing.
Fill in the gaps and grooves in wood paneling with texture after you prime it. Use a 4" putty knife and apply drywall joint compound to each groove. Try not to get too much excess on the surrounding wood. Because joint compound shrinks as it dries, you will need to do this twice, letting it dry in between coats. Use a drywall sanding block or pad sander to sand the paneling smooth. You can skip this step if you plan on putting on a fairly heavy texture by hand but if you are going to spray texture, it will not hide the unsanded areas.
Buy or rent a texture sprayer to spray texture on wood. You can do an orange peel or splatter texture (refer to the instructions on the texture sprayer for the correct tip to use for each finish) or a knock down, where you spray on the texture and then flatten it down with an 8" or 10" drywall knife. Spraying texture is a very messy job and you will need plenty of plastic sheeting and masking tape to cover door openings, electrical outlets, floors, windows and everything else before starting. If you are not texturing the ceiling, remember to mask that off as well. Dried texture can be cleaned up with wet rags but that is messy and time consuming and may ruin some surfaces. Masking thoroughly is the best plan of attack.
Thin the texture according to manufacturers recommendations before running it through the texture sprayer. You need at least two clean buckets and a mixer attachment for your drill to thoroughly mix the texture. Use one to mix the texture and the other filled with clean water in which to rest the mixer attachment and any other tools to prevent them from drying out in between uses.
Use a light, even pressure when spraying texture. Remember you can always go back and fill in parts that are too light, but getting it too heavy on any area is a real mess. Use long, sweeping strokes. Be especially careful not to apply too much in corners.
Hand applying texture takes longer but you can achieve many different effects. For hand troweling texture, it is easier to buy the ready-mixed joint compound which is already a correct consistency. Fill your mud pan with enough compound to do a large area. A 6" drywall knife is generally the best tool to use for putting on a Mediterranean type heavy texture. Work in random areas and patterns so you don't get ridges or lines at the juncture of areas worked on. Do one whole wall at a time if you can.
Prime all textured finishes before painting with PVA or drywall sealer. Even though the underlying surface has been primed, the texture also needs a coat of primer so the finished painted wall will be washable and look its best.