I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for dealing with wood paneling?

I have wood paneling in all but 2 rooms of my house. We were thinking of keeping it in our kitchen and doing a faux waincoting, but it's everywhere else in our house too. I want it gone! I'm tired of looking at it.
  18 answers
  • Clay B Clay B on May 15, 2012
    Put smooth screen bead (there is a smooth and grooved version), over the paneling grooves, then prime and paint. Will give it a cottage feel, board and batten look. Be sure to use a latex caulk with silicone on the backs of the screen bead, and smooth with your finger/tool, otherwise you will see gaps between the bead and the paneling. Use BIN or Kilz primer before painting (open windows and have fans so you can breath, this primer stuff stinks)

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 15, 2012
    Is this T&G or that 4 x 8 fake stuff from the 70's?. If it is the 4x8 I'd rip it out and throw up some drywall.

  • Jan C Jan C on May 15, 2012
    We have wood paneling through most of the main rooms in our house as well. In dining room we put in a chair rail and painted different colors, dark on bottom, light on top - looks good. We also took spackle in the kitchen and put on a faux finish with short streaks, crisscrossed on top of each other and changed the actual texture of the wall. Then painted it and it looks good too. It took 5 gallons of spackle (which is cheap at walmart) and paint and that was all and it changed the look completely. Made is look rustic and we love it.

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on May 16, 2012
    A friend has the most beautiful home that her late husband built on 25 acres. They were so happy there but the house looks gloomy with good deep paneling in every room. What I would do would be to hire a company to come in and wash all the walls after the ceilings are newly painted. Maybe even bleach them some and put a new protective coating on them. Might even get some new lighting. That is what I would do with my late husband's laboring work.

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on May 16, 2012
    And if curtains or drapes are used let them be sheers or linen in white.

  • Custom Interiors Custom Interiors on May 17, 2012
    Depending on what other faux techniques you have going on, paint lower chair rail and do a venetian plaster look above. Just a light tone on tone glaze to highlight and age (darker if you want bolder). Consider some of the metalic products which can be used in this technique as well.

  • Hamtil Construction LLC Hamtil Construction LLC on May 20, 2012
    I have heard of people who have filled the panel grooves with wood filler and then sanded, oil primed, and painted the paneling afterward. For me, it's too much work and kind of risky without guaranteed results. That's why several times over the years we have simply installed a layer of 1/4" drywall over the paneling. We then tape and paint like typical. I could envision the suggestion of Custom Interiors. To treat the lower half as a wainscot. Possibly could paint the lower half as is, and then fill the grooves smooth on the upper half? I could see an issue with that if the whole panel has woodgrain on it, though. Texture would still show..

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on May 21, 2012
    I am with KMS Woodworks on the quality of the paneling. I still say, 'there ain't nothing like the real thing baby'. If it is T&G wash it and preserve it'; if it is 4X8 then barter if off to someone who will help you wash. Freshly painted ceilings and good lighting are a must in any room.

  • Susan M Susan M on May 24, 2012
    I used mud for sheetrock and filled in the groves. Then textured and painted on some of ours in our old home. I even faux painted a wall that everyone at first was real

  • Lynn T Lynn T on May 24, 2012
    Go to your paint store choose your. Olof. Paint right over it even if it is lined. It works

  • Tracy C Tracy C on May 25, 2012
    I have that problem too. I've decided to buy paintable wallpaper and go over it with that. I picked bead board for 1/2 the walls then something smoother on the other half (it's an attic area in my little cape cod so it has the slanted ceiling on both sides with about 5' of flat ceiling) I know the wallpaper absorbes alot of paint but the other way to go is to rip off the paneling and drywall. I'm pretty sure this will still end up being easier and less expensive since I'm better at wallpapering.

  • One thing to remember, before following our advise here....think about conditions in your area of the country as what works in Atlanta might not be suitable to NY. Skimming paneling is never the best solution...in our market it will likely fail over time...with most paneling you can apply 2 coats of Kilz oil-based primer...then top coat it and it looks pretty good without filling in the grooves. HandyANDY has done this alot both for clients and on my flip houses...the results are excellent and it takes a minute to recognize that its paneling. In the southeast, with our mold issues, it's a bad idea to overlay paneling with drywall. If you're going to do this, don't use a paper-backed drywall or you will surely be growing mold inside the wall as the paper will act as a vapor barrier, causing condensation to form on the inside surface which will be "trapped" against the paneling. For all your projects, try to get professional advise in your local market....and check or confirm it on Hometalk!

  • Karrie B Karrie B on May 28, 2012
    Sometimes tearing the panalling off is more of a Nightmare than you want. A few simple ideas are, first you could fill in the indents with compound, sand, prime and then you can either paint it, or wallpaper, Adding chair rail after would also give you more options. We have been doing this same thing in our new home.

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on May 29, 2012
    There is no way to know what is behind the paneling. I had a man take down all the cheap paneling from a bedroom and a breakfast room in exchange for a blue bathtub and sink in an antique house I had bought. Only to find out the previous owner had used liquid nails to hold it to the plaster. YUK. I bought a torch and carefully torched all the hard lumps of liquid nails off, washed down the walls to the high ceiling and used a huge bucket of mud for fill in all the holes. After sanding all the new plaster in the nail holes you have to prime them. Then the paper hanger came and wallpapered the entire walls in a pink basket weave. Of course the ceilings had been painted. The room was prettier than beautiful AND looked better than new. I wallpapered the breakfast room myself. With today's styles I would have painted both rooms. Now that is the procedure for removing cheap paneling that is put up with nails and liquid nails if that is what you have. Let us know what you decided to do or what you ended up HAVING to do.

  • Amy Amy on May 29, 2012
    check out this blogger: http://maryellephotography.blogspot.com/2010/04/pemberley-appreciation-i-freakin-love.html she painted an entire room, and the difference is pretty amazing. we painted some paneling as well in a house we lived in some years back. It changed the entire feel of the house. My advice is paint it. If you hate it you can always try tearing it down later.

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on May 30, 2012
    Whatever. I still like the beautiful wood better. If they had furnished the room with new furnishings like the painted room, the wood room would look richer and nicer. That is, if Kimberly R's paneling is good stuff. That's my opinion.

  • Therese C Therese C on Jun 04, 2012
    Sometimes it is easiest to sheet rock right over it if you do not want the labor of tearing it all out.Use thin sheet rock..1/4", tape it, mud it, sand it and paint. Sounds like a lot of work but in truth it is very quick to do. The reason I would leave the paneling up behind the sheet rock is because when you hang your curtains, artwork, whatever..using smaller sheet rock or porch and deck screws,they can be driven into the sheet rock and grab onto the paneling behind for more stability as standard sheet rock tends to loosen when hanging anything on your walls or installing curtain rods.

  • Nancy S Nancy S on Jun 08, 2012
    Paint it.. we did.. it lightened up our rooms so much.. I don't think we did anything but maybe put "KILZ" on the walls. It blocked out all the color and the paint went on smooth.. after it was painted.. I felt like it was that way all along... it makes a big difference in how you feel about a house.. paneling was good in the 60-70's but it's way out of line now..