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Question DetailsAsked on 3/29/2017

Covering faux brick, faux wood paneling

Can I cover faux brick and faux wood paneling with that heavy wall liner without mudding the grooves? One person, Rebecca, said it worked great, and I was wondering if anyone else had experience? I also read it should be applied with vov, and the paneling primed with oil base or shellac. The paneling and brick are not dark. Should the wallcover be primered as well and with what, or will a paint with primer do?

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3 Answers

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I would recommend not - for a couple of reasons:

1) when anyone leans or rubs or pushes furniture against it at the grooves it will bend or crease inward or tear, giving an uneven appearance over time or possibly a tear which can then be VERY hard to repair invisibly.

2) the grooves, being almost always an unfinished surface on the panelling, can promote moisture access to that stripe which is different than on the rest of the wall - leading to dust accumulation and discoloration in stripes or "ghosting" similar to what happens over cold studs in the winter

3) ditto to above, but the moisture getting to the back of the paper can cause it to stretch, causing slack and a noticeable bulge at the grooves.

4) priming the panelling is commonly a good idea (almost all types need sanding first to provide "tooth" for the primer to hold onto). The reason for the priming is many wood or paper product panels have a fibrous surface texture which the liner paper does not stick to well - some smooth surface ones it does fine, so I would test a bit, and see what the paper manufacturer says. My recommendation - a primer like Kilz - shellac is incompatible with so many things and more than a bit of a pain to handle and clean up after, so I can't see using it. Note not all panelling can take oil-based primers, and not all paper adhesives will like to adhere to oil - so I would check what the manufacturer recommends. Some say nothing (more commonly those using a liquid adhesive for the paper), some say a primer like Kilz, some say a urethane clear coat.

The wall covering (liner paper) made for this use is susposedly paint-ready - though because of the nature of it (is is absorbent) I would not count on a single coat of paint doing it or making it totally water-resistant, so either a primer and one finish coat or two finish coats (as recommended by the manufacturer is what I would recommend.

As for "paint with a primer in it" - in my opinion, those are a total scam - a primer is "thinner" than normal paint and is intended to soak into the surface and bond to it, and provide a generally uniform texture and tone for the finish coat, which has greater wear resistance because it is designed to "hide" or form a resistant skin. Many primers also have a stain-blocker to prevent stains, glues, resins, etc from coming through. Trying to put both in one just means it does neither job well. Plus priming (after proper surface prep) gives yuou a chance to eyeball the wall and detect and correct (with drywall compound as necessary and/or sanding and reapplying primer) any flaws BEFORE you finish coat - trying to do both in one coat eliminates that quality control step.

My personal preference - though cost and labor (especially for DIY jobs) comes into play - is just take the hour or few and remove the panelling/faux brick, reset electrical box depth or put on box face extensions as appropriate, and put up drywall for a more durable, consistent, moisture resistant product.

Here are some links to previous questions about covering panelling and wall liner FYI:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


Thank you for your answer. Unfortunately, I have an entire house full of this paneling, so sanding would be a mess, and drywalling would be far too expensive. I guess I'll just go for painting it, the more country look... lol! Do you have any advice on that, or is primer and paint pretty much it? Again, thank you.

Answered 3 years ago by mary7458


Wow - if wholehouse is done in this, sounds like someone was going for the cabin look - or it was a DIY job.

I had missed that you were talking faux brick too (assuming it is rough surfaced, not flat surfaced across the brick flats) - have you checked what is under that ? Depending on how it was applied, might peel off pretty easily and have panelling or drywall under it, because I can't see wall liner (paper or the solid thin sheet) covering that decently - I would expect ripples and waves all over from the uneven brick surface unless the front surface of the bricks is perfectly flat - comes both ways, rough and smooth. And assuming the "brick" is plastic or a fiber composition or fiberglass, plastering over it to get a smooth surface would be doable only with wire plastering screening (actually a stiff punched steel mesh) under it to make it stick, but expensive and takes up 1/2" or so of thickness so similar issues with doors/windows and trim and outlets as overlaying with new drywall - probably as much trouble as removing and drywalling.

Some of the other question responses talked about other things to use to fill the grooves - you might try one small room which does not show as much and try one or more to see how they work before you tackle the whole house. Personally, I would not have great hopes for drywall compound, but there are levelling compounds which stick to almost anything (but are a MESS if they get on the floor or trim or such). That would take care of the groove issue, then you could use (after prepping the faux surface per manufacturer recommendations so it will bond) the wall liner as a surface to paint over.

I can't see drywall compound or such sticking to it adequately - though there are some leveling compound products out there which claim to serve as a base for drywall compound over other surfaces than drywall. Only one I have used for this is - oh, what is it called - thinking DuRock but that is a drywall tradename. Ahh - Por-Rok I think - a latex based adhesive gypsum compoundfor filling voids and gaps. Durham's Water Putty might work well for filling the grooves too - I would contact the manufacturer about that because I have never used it for that purpose.

You could also always try a room or just a wall without filling the grooves and see how it does for a bit - but unless one of the heavier liners I would be afraid of denting or tearing when anything rubs against or impacts it over the groove gap. Trying just one room (hopefully one where looks are not so critical so if you don't really like the end result but don't hate it, it can stay - say in a kid's room or such) also lets you decide how you really like the look before you commit to the whole house.

Other things people do in this instance -

1) just paint it, like you said - would need some overall touch sanding to roughen the surface (about 120 grit sandpaper usually, a power palm or pad sander makes it a lot easier) then prime. Latex is a LOT cleaner and easier to do, and you probably want latex finish paint so less hassle because you do not have to re-roughen the primer surface before the finish coat. Over a faux product I would definitely use a stain-blocker product like Kilz to prevent possible bleed-through of the existing finish color.

2) use printed vinyl wall liner - like wallpaper and has a pre-printed pattern on it, but the vinyl is MUCH thicker and tougher (andmore washable) than normal wallpaper, but also glossier. Is more like a plastic-coated shelf liner material. NOT paintable - so you would have to find a color/pattern you like. And does not get rid of the groove issue though is stiffer so would bridge them better, but would eliminate the finish painting.

3) Realizing outlet depths would have to be reset or box extenders used, and trim would have to be removed and redone, and there would be issues with door/window frames not extending to the face of it, but a lot of people just put a thin (1/4) drywall layer over this sort of thing (though probably would not work well over the brick again unless smooth/planar faced) and continue from there. Not a very "professional" approach to me, but is done a lot to avoid the labor of removing the existing wall covering.

4) find another panelling of whatever material you like to overlay the existing (maybe different for different rooms) - anything from real wood veneer panelling (grooved or not), board and batten, metal, plastic, they even make fabric-covered panelling similar to office cubicle finish.

5) glue on fabric covering - though would have to be be quite well stretched to avoid dimpling over the grooves, and same problem with it indenting into the groove if rubbed or pushed against, and of course would not work on rough brick.

6) one of the all-time favorites in "possibles" lists like this - jack up the house number by the door and slip a brand new house of your dream design and size in under it. And of course, if you are getting a brand new house, you need a new car and furniture and clothes to match, right ?

Professionally - a wall covering shop might have more ideas, as would (for a price of course) an Interior Decorator. Some paint and wall coverings shops have ann interior decorator on staff to help customers - usually free unless they come to your home to plan a redecoration.

Check out Pinterest too - there have to be a ton of similar situation posts there. Both faux paneling and beadboard would be applicable search terms.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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