Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

 
 
or
Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 LCD 8305
2 Member Services 5960
3 ContractorDon 1085
4 BayAreaAC 300
5 the new window man 255
6 Roofman1 200
7 Jefferson 160
8 sooty 150
9 SalisburySam 130
10 Dpolican 120

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 5/22/2011

What's the best way to cover up fake wood paneling?

I just bought a house and want to replace the tacky fake wood paneling in the basement. I don't plan on taking it down because I don't want to deal with the cost and time it takes to put up drywall. I want it to appear as though it's drywall so I'll need to acheive a smooth surface. Many suggest using drywall mud over the grooves between the panels, sanding the paneling, applying primer, then painting. Another suggestion is to use siliconized acrylic-latex caulk to fill the grooves.. This method sounds much easier, but I couldn't find more than one example of anyone doing it. Has anyone ever tried either of these methods? Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question


19 Answers

Voted Best Answer
13
Votes

I've used wall liner (it applies like wallpaper only thicker) to cover a multitude of "wall sins" over the years. In my opinion it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. It doesn't look cheap or tacky, it's inexpensive, non-labor intensive and not messy to install.

I used it for the first time about 15 years ago to cover a faux brick tile on my lower kitchen walls that couldn't be removed. It was either tear the wall down or take a chance on $40 worth of wall liner. It did the job beautifully and lasted. Since then I've used it to cover paneling, a badly gouged wall after a kitchen remodel and a wall that looked like a pegboard after floor to ceiling shelving was removed.

Friends and family (and realtors!) have been amazed by the transformation after applying this simple inexpensive product.

Answered 3 years ago by Rebecca

0
Votes

Years ago when money was realy tight, I primered & painted over cheap photofinish paneling (small interior hallway), Next re-do was to cover it with the thinest wall board available, then tape and texturie it before primer & paint.... very labor intensive. Applying caulk may work depending on the texture you visualize as a finished product.

Answered 3 years ago by tessa89

0
Votes

I would suggest asking someone at your local hardware store. I know there is some kind of sheet product that is meant to go over panelling and can then be painted. It's not standard drywall. Sorry I don't have any details.

Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
Votes

Thanks for the suggestion. I've heard of the product you're speaking of. It attaches very tightly to the paneling and forms a tight surface over the grooves. You can then paint over the top of it. That might be the easiest way to do it. I'll definitely have to ask around at some hardware stores.

Answered 3 years ago by Austin

0
Votes

If you use it, let me know how you like it. (Also tell me how much it costs, please.) I think my contractor is going to be using it in my bathroom because the very old drywall walls are covered in twenty bazillion layers of wallpaper. I tried and tried to scrape, steam and pray them off, to no avail. He says if we work on it much more not only will we still not succeed but we will probably break into the drywall. Then we'd have to actually tear all the walls down to the studs and start over!

Another very good reason to think twice (and decide not to) before putting up wallpaper.


Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
Votes

"I think my contractor is going to be using it in my bathroom..."

Commonsense, most likely your contractor will install "green board" in the bathroom.

There may be an inproved wallboard product now, but 5 years ago greenboard (special sheet rock/wall board) was advised for bathrooms or indoor laundry areas where humidity is higher than normal..

Answered 3 years ago by tessa89

0
Votes

Tessa,

Thanks, I do know what greenboard is, and my contractor will be putting this product over the existing greenboard.



Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

1
Vote

Thanks for all of the suggestions! I finally decided on a method for covering up the wood paneling and bought all the materials last night. After extensive research on products, I decided to go with Zinsser brand primer and paint. The primer is called B-I-N and is a shellac-base, primer-sealer. It was a little more pricey, but it sticks to any surface without sanding and dries in only 45 minutes. If I would have used a regular primer, I would have had to either sand all of the walls (labor intensive) or use a deglossing agent to get the primer to stick to the paneling. The problem with deglossing agents is that they're most effective within an hour after being applied. If you decided to go with a deglosser or something like "liquid sand", you'd only be able to degloss in sections that you can prime in an hour.

For the paint, I'm using Zinsser's Perma-White, Mold and Mildew proof interior paint (satin latex). It's oil based, stain and moisture resistant, and guaranteed for 5 years. It's actually self-priming and requires no sanding, just like the primer.

Last night, I spent some time cleaning the walls (room size is 18x15 by the way). Every website I visited about covering up wood paneling emphasized this step. I used a 1/2 cup of Trisodium Phospate (TSP) mixed into 2 gallons of hot water. I then just used a sponge to clean all of the walls. After letting the walls dry, I started culking all of the nail holes and scratches on the paneling. I used a silconized acrylic-latex caulk that is paintable. The dry time is two hours so that's all I accomplished last night.

My next step will be to prime all of the walls. After priming, I'll fill in all of the 1/8" deep grooves between the paneling with the culk mentioned above. I want the wall to appear smooth like drywall. After the caulk dries, the only thing left will be paint. I'll post again once I've completed the projected. If you're curious, I purchased all of the materials for this project for only $94 from Lowe's. This includes the primer and paint, 2 brushes, 2 rollers, 2 paint trays, TSP, latex gloves, paint edger, culk, culking gun, and 2 heavy duty vinyl drop cloths. I figure the ROI is going to be well worth the hard work this will take. [:D]

Answered 3 years ago by Austin

0
Votes

I saw this a little late, but I'm wondering if joint compound like Easy Sand would be a better solution for the grooves after you prime.
Bobbi

Answered 3 years ago by Landlady544

1
Vote


I'm curious to know how Austin's project is progressing. Caulking, leveling and sanding each groove sounds a lot more labor intensive to me than just putting up drywall and only dealing with a thin groove every four feet. Though his method would save a lot of money over drywalling.

Honestly - for anyone who's never tried wall liner - in my opinion it's the most "bang for your buck" outside of just tearing down the wall.

The gray painted wall in these photos - behind the computer - was the last wall I've applied liner to. Prior to installing this wall liner the wall had floor to ceiling wall shelving all the way across. By the time I removed all the screws and pulled out all the little plastic thingys the screws went into it looked like a giant pegboard. It cost me $13 dollars to repair this wall. One roll of wall liner and some leftover paint from another room.


Answered 3 years ago by Rebecca

2
Votes

Oh, and I forgot to say that I did it all in just one night!

The stuff is great! I've used it over brick and to cover a total mess of a wall after a kitchen remodel.

Answered 3 years ago by Rebecca

0
Votes

It does look very good in the pictures, and I am familiar with wall liner. It's used a lot by professional wallpaperers to go under wallpaper and give it a very smooth finish.

However, I do have to say that if I moved into a house thinking a wall was drywall and then found out someone had put liner over panelling I'd be pretty upset. It's cosmetically and economically a fantastic "fix," but it's just not structurally sound. Sooner or later - several months or years - the ambient humidity in the room is going to cause the grooves in the panelling to show. Anyone who puts a nail into the hidden groove, trying to hang a picture, is going to tear the stuff.

But it does look good in those photos. I'd sure do it in a rental unit, but I wouldn't do it in a house I owned. The only real fix is to take the panelling down and work on the wall underneath.

Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

1
Vote

I don't think Austin was looking to do this project for resale - just for asthetics. I also beg to differ on the "lifespan" of wall liner. The first place I ever used it was in a kitchen (lots of heat and humidity) over a faux brick application. It lasted the 10 years I lived there and I only removed it before selling because the wallpaper that I'd applied over it had become dated.

The next house I lived in we did a major ($25,000) kitchen remodel that tore the drywall up pretty bad - we knocked out a closet/pantry, opened the wall to install ductwork, etc. After installing new drywall over the holes and spackling the "dents" the surface was still less than ideal so I applied a patterned wall liner (behind the stove no less!) I planned to paint over it but it looked so good I just left it "as is". Six years of scrubbing spatters off of it it still looked as good as the day it was installed. And I did disclose to the buyer that the wall liner was disguising a rough wall - that they were free to paint or wallpaper over it, but if they removed it they should be prepared to do some drywall repair. He was perfectly happy with the liner.

I think I have photos of the kitchen too.

Answered 3 years ago by Rebecca

1
Vote

Yep - have a photo of the kitchen too. It's not as good a photo as the computer/excercise room, (there are some reflections on the wall from the appliances) but it gives you an idea. Like I said in the previous post - when this photo was taken the wall liner on the wall behind the stove had been in place for six years. No fading, no seam lifting, no problems whatsoever. And we splashed a LOT of spaghetti sauce and gunk on that wall over the years!

Answered 3 years ago by Rebecca

0
Votes

another view:

Answered 3 years ago by Rebecca

0
Votes

I tried the method of filling the grooves,sanding and priming. It took 2 coats of primer because it was a dark paneling that bled through. Very time consuming!!! The next room,I bought a heavy wall liner that you put up horizontally. It made a very nice smooth surface and then I papered over it. It worked perfectly and I will use that method again. It says it can also be painted over , but I have not tried that.

Answered 11 months ago by Guest_92514874

0
Votes

We put drywall mud over the grooves between the panels, sanded , applied primer, then painted. We did this in our kitchen came out great. Also had paneling in our rec room downstairs, decided to not to mud just painted it....Loved the texture look of paneling but not the "wood" look, just painted it and it too came out great. Hope this helps




Source: Janice

Answered 9 months ago by Guest_91397122

2
Votes

Our house had fake wood paneling. We simply cleaned it with TSP, applied texture paint, and then painted it. Its been 10 years and nothing is falling off, so there is not problem with getting something to adhere. You can see the verticle lines, but it looks more like wainscotting.


Try it, it costs very little. If you don't like it, pull it all down and put up drywall.


Keep in mind that if you simply cover it with 3/8" DW, you may have issues with your plugs and switches.

Answered 8 months ago by Guest_90635204

1
Vote

Hi Guy,


I realize this post is 2 years old, but if it were MY house and I was planning to stay there for a long time, I would do what you don't want to do and remove the paneling!

Sure, it takes effort, but you'll find that doing something right the FIRST TIME will serve you well in the future! You WON'T have to go back years from now, when you develop a leak running down the wall BEHIND the old paneling that requires you to PULL DOWN your creative cover-up AND the wet wood behind it!

Resale value improves if you do things the way they SHOULD be done! Keep records of all improvements done correctly and add them in when you are ready to sell.

Don't let laziness now be huge headaches in the future- these things have a way of coming back to haunt you in future. Good Luck!

Answered 3 months ago by Guest_93801121

0
Votes

My parents have a room with wood paneling and they primed it first and then painted it a pale yellow color and left the grooves in it. I think it looks great and the grooves add texture and interest. It doesn't even look like wood paneling anymore.

Answered 1 month ago by Guest_9699092




Related Questions