What's under paneling in a 100 year old home?

by Betty
We purchase a lake home in Wisconsin. We live in Arizona and are wondering how difficult/laborous it will be to remove old paneling from every single room? What's behind it or can we paint over it? Any suggestions?

  8 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 20, 2018

    If it is nailed in it will not be that difficult to remove.If you do not want to remove it, clean ,prime allow to dry, and paint with two lights coats allowing again to dry in between coats

  • you can paint paneling but if you want to tear it off, hopefully, there is SOMETHING behind it. My friend had a house that the paneling was the wall and the ended up sheet rocking the whole place. You may have a type of lathing underneath.

  • I can guarantee that 100 years ago they did not have paneling that is on the walls now, that was an upgrade somewhere along the way - chances are it could be lath and plaster - what is common in other houses in the area? I would take down the paneling in one room to see. Chances are they will be all the same throughout the house. I would have inquired before purchasing the house or checked during inspection. Yes you can paint over paneling. Here are some great options for you!




  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Mar 20, 2018

    Lift a piece of the panelling to see what is behind it (probably plaster and lath) removing the panelling won’t be hard, replacing it with drywall will take some time and effort....but will also give you an opportunity to see if the insulation is up to snuff, wiring etc

  • Gail Gail on Mar 20, 2018

    I would paint over it OR put drywall over it. Quite possibly at the age of the house. It's plaster & lathe, which would likely be cracked all over & disentigrating. Take down the paneling which could be holding that in place & you could have a royal mess on your hands.

    In an area behind a door or in a closet, if you really want to see what's behind the paneling, would be the smarter place to look so you could put it back if need be without a lot of wall repair to do that would show.

  • Rose Broadway Rose Broadway on Mar 20, 2018

    For a house that age I would paint! Here are some ideas that may help.


  • Ann Ann on Mar 20, 2018

    We have a 185 year old home. We had the same paneling question. What hubby did was take off a small area that was inconspicuous, we found shiplap 😄 After we found what we wanted, the labor wasn't too bad, I guess it depends on the size of the room you're doing. Good Luck and be careful, old homes have a mind of their own

  • DD DD on Mar 20, 2018

    If you are restoring to original look it should be removed and don't be surprised to find a mess behind the paneling. The good news is you get the chance to look for other problems that will be easier to fix before you redo the plaster walls. If you do not want to redo the plaster after investigating wiring and pluming once the paneling is down you could do 1/4 inch sheetrock in place of the paneling. From experience in renovating a newer home always expect the unexpected and what can go wrong probably will.

    Good luck keep us posted on how things go