Asked on Mar 07, 2016

Need help figuring out how to cover ugly lines in a wall...

Beth Lytle
by Beth Lytle
I currently live in a rental where we have a certain amount of control over the construction and remodelling of it. My living room is covered in panels that have ugly lines to cover the seams. I don't like it. We are painting the living room a neutral color. In one picture you can see the lines. In the other, you can also see a pipe for the heat. It is quite ugly. Please ignore the state of the floors and the door. We are replacing all. It is a slow process.
We will be installing laminate in this room, because the original hardwood is in too bad of shape to save. Any ideas for covering up these seams and/or this pipe? I want to cover the wall behind the TV (the wall with the door) with pallet wood strips. I think that would look very cool, but the rest of the room is going to just have this weird panelling. It is odd to have it in a home like this. There is also a very unattractive drop ceiling.
Considering the idea that I may cover one wall in the room with wood strips, what are your thoughts for a creative, yet inexpensive, way to cover these seams? I will be painting the walls an extremely light almond/honey type color. I believe we are replacing that messed up door with a 6 panel door. I would be open to painting the new door just about any color that would look nice/neat in the living room. I am replacing my couches, but probably sticking with that shade of brown. The rugs are only in place to cover up nasty floors that produce many splinters. :)
  27 answers
  • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Mar 07, 2016
    Is this a modular, you see those type of strips in older modulars/mobile home. I think best and easiest option would be to replace strip with a wider board/ plank. The other option would be to fill the crack with sheet rock mud and sand down to match if you can. I am guessing that is not drywall on wall but wood panels originally covered with wallpaper and painted over,
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    • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Mar 07, 2016
      @Beth Lytle That makes me curious as to whats behind the walls and under ceiling tiles. I know at one time, you could buy those wall paper panels and I have also seen older homes that has wood paneling an owners had used wood strips on seams. I understand this a rental...but if I had the option I would see whats behind the walls and pull down the ceiling. Short of that for the walls for a quick easy update I would fill cracks with sheetrock mud, and then coat walls in a textured paint. The paint will hide a world in sins. Best wishes and please post what you come up with. I would really like to see it.
  • Darla Darla on Mar 07, 2016
    There are a lot of ways to cover or disguise the vent pipe. You could paint or paper it; drywall it in; get some of that wood strip pipe cover for basements at HD or somewhere else (looks like roll-top desk tambour) or build a "box" for it out of wood strips. If you put a plank over the line on the wall, why not use it as a decorative item by hanging things on it or painting something on it?
    • Beth Lytle Beth Lytle on Mar 07, 2016
      @Darla Those are some good ideas. That's got some ideas rolling through my mind now.
  • Ruth Ruth on Mar 07, 2016
    Perhaps cut and glue strips of a matching or decorative wallpaper over the strips? It could look like the painted striped walls that have been popular. How about a standing decorative screen to cover your heat pipe?
    • Beth Lytle Beth Lytle on Mar 07, 2016
      @Ruth I like the idea of putting decorative wallpaper over the strips. That could be neat!
  • Sue c. Sue c. on Mar 07, 2016
    You have a product called Marlite panels on your walls. You can't remove the seam strips. They cover open joints between the panels. These walls are usually put over walls that flex. Before you invest in anything for these walls find out what is behind the Marlite or you may bite off way more DIY than you have bargained for. Also you can buy the strips to match what is already on the wall. As far as I have seen painting will always leave that "plastic" surface called "orange peel".
  • Mona Mona on Mar 07, 2016
    If it is a rental 1. google images of wall to wall curtains (drop cloth curtain for savings) used in rooms and see if you like that, going floor to ceiling and intermittently hang light pictures down from the rods. 2. Partitioning ;buy one or make one using boards and hinges and customize it in that particular corner where the dog bed rest and the pipe sits. Even use it to hang the leash, put up pet photos, and attach baskets high and low for dog toys and treats. Although I see he is way too big for that little ol' bed and has claimed the couch, perhaps a chair instead for you in that corner Also you could encase the pipe and add shelves on the outside to hold books and knick knacks. 3. If you like the bead board look or batten board, try and figure out a way to make the existing panels part of your new design. You could also use the floor to ceiling panels that are there and create panel frames that spaced and each one has wall paper, a different paint color or some sort of decor between the panels like those vinyl decals with sayings and expressions or patterns and the wall that isn't covered is a accent color to your panel design. **Also check on Amazon and places like that for photography back drop paper. You may be able to have the wood look with paper without having the labor and the cost.
    • Beth Lytle Beth Lytle on Mar 07, 2016
      @Mona Those are some really helpful and interesting ideas. He is too big for that bed, but for some reason prefers it! :) I have the Great Dane and a Lab and I have two dog beds downstairs. One is actually made from a crib mattress and was meant for the Dane, but he insists on using the small bed while my lab has taken the baby mattress over! I will Google these things you mention. Thank you!
  • KatAych KatAych on Mar 07, 2016
    You could get a faux column to cover the pipe. They have ones that look like "traditional" columns, but they also come in faux brick and stone, too. You could even do sort of a box cover for it and hinge one side so it can be opened if you need to get to the pipe.
  • Cynthia kloeter Cynthia kloeter on Mar 07, 2016
    I would check before painting that heat pipe and certainly wouldn't enclose due to fire hazard. Call fire department and speak with them as to what they suggest as they know best. I've done this many times with amazing results. As for seams, if same color they will blend just fine. I had them in an old house and sold within days for top dollar so apparently they never bothered anyone. and are still there many sales later. Avoid shiny paint and it blends better.
  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Mar 08, 2016
    I would try to add thin coats of spackle, feathers out, the paint.
  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Mar 08, 2016
    Contact a professional about what that are safe around the pipe, line it with the Mylar blankets to keep the heat inside the the covering.
  • Cathy Cathy on Mar 08, 2016
    Have you seen the paneling that looks like brick? You could build a box around that pipe to look like a chimney---at least it would have architectural interest that way. On those seams, have you thought maybe incorporating some stripes into your painting of the walls, putting in additional stripes to coincide with those already there---they might not stick out so much if kind of camouflaged in this manner.
  • Tamara K Tamara K on Mar 08, 2016
    OMG I have these walls in my bathroom and they are damaged and the absolute BANE of my existence!! Hate them! Whomever installed did so with who knows what kind of glue and when we went to remove these? The entire 100-year-old horsehair and plaster wall was coming with it. I hate living with these walls so thank you for this as I will be keeping an eye on comments.
  • Rae Rae on Mar 08, 2016
    I had the ugly seams and joints in my basement bath. I took down the joint coverings, did a little sanding and did a patterned wallpaper and then painted the walls. Looks like a new room. It is one of the rooms I am most proud of in my remodels. As far as the pipe in the corner check with a professional before doing any modification.
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    • Nancy Oden Nancy Oden on Mar 08, 2016
      for the pipe...i can only this that maybe you could build a wooden column type structure around it...or maybe not wood..something that would be safe..and maybe give it the look of a column...thats a hard one..
  • Todd B Todd B on Mar 08, 2016
    texture !! using a stiple brush..stiple the wall, let it dry a bit then "knock down" texture... you'll end up with a uniform textured wall...
  • Tessa Tessa on Mar 08, 2016
    I only have an idea about the pipe, although I love Rae's idea on the seams. As soon as you have the professional's recommendations, why not make the pipe a creative accent? My first thought was paint it white-ish or grass-green and hang flowerpots around it with iron tiewraps. Or if your handyman says to wrap it with insulation and build a cover, make the cover a few shades darker than your walls, (or contrast color!) and make it a corner. With plants on a stand and some wall-art.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Mar 08, 2016
    Way too much you don't like about this apt. Move.
  • Ranger Ranger on Mar 08, 2016
    Hello. Is the pipe functional?
  • William William on Mar 08, 2016
    Your walls appear to be covered with FRP (fiberglass reinforced panels). the strips cover the seams where two panels meet. These are usually used in mobile homes. You can remove the strips, fill in the gap with drywall compound, wait a few minutes for it to just set up. Use a stiff paint brush and stipple the mud to match the texture of the panels, let it harden, then paint. With the pipe, if your handy, you can build a tall shelved case that would sit at an angle hiding the pipe and look like a built in curio. Or you can purchase a tall cd/dvd cabinet that would do the same or stack two small ones that would go from floor to ceiling. Paint the pipe the same color as the walls.
  • Drd4223999 Drd4223999 on Mar 08, 2016
    You might consider building a fake brick enclosure around the pipe and then extending the brick look over that entire wall. There is a post here about making a fake brick wall that really explains the process well and I think looks great. There are adhesive foam ceiling tiles which could be added to the ceiling. I personally have never had good luck trying to fill in the seams where panels meet. I've tried it before and even though it look good initially the filler would start looking bad and be worse than the original cover strips before too long. Just a crazy idea and you might hate it, but you might consider an architectural, slightly industrial look. You could place 1x4 boards where the panels meet, perhaps making a grid on the walls and either paint the same color as the walls or a color just slightly lighter or darker. Then that color could be picked up in your decorations. You might be able to use the same idea to add a cottage look. Another idea that I've seen in lofts are very large round columns. You could do that around the pipe and create a concrete look and then carry this over that wall. I think this would be much harder to do and not as warm looking. Just thinking outside of the box here. Good luck. I'm sure it is going to be beautiful when you get it done
  • Anne Anne on Mar 08, 2016
    We pulled the "Joint strips" off and then taped and spackled. As our's is an older mobile home, not always are things real true, so we also applied spackle in a somewhat Venitian plaster technique primed the whole wall and the painted... the texture breaks up the surface just enough so you don't notice imperfections... in our hall I recently painted two trees that I will now hang our "rogues gallery" of family photos on.. we are finishing off our areas with molding at the top and the bottom.
  • Carrie Hawk Carrie Hawk on Mar 08, 2016
    You could place a piece of trim over each of the "lines" that cover seams. Then add a piece of it at the top and bottom, making a panel of a sort. To hide the heating pipe in the corner, make it look like a column. You could add one to each corner or put one on the other side of the door, giving it an entrance way appearance. You could make it box around it, add one to the other side of the door and adding a square across above the door.
  • Nikki Nikki on Mar 09, 2016
    If your not allowed to take those strips off I would definitely use a flat or eggshell paint on the walls, too much sheen in your paint will just enhance them. Or you could do some type of faux paint finish on your wall if that is your taste. I like your idea of the planked wood wall, and if it were me i would just use a flatter soft neutral color on the other walls because i think the plank wall with draw all your attention away from the other wall. I can't help but think that pipe could almost be covered with something? Maybe something to make appear like an old column of some kind? I'm not sure with what at this point, but I will be thinking about it now and I will post again if it comes to me :)
  • Nikki Nikki on Mar 09, 2016
    Does the pipe stay cool to the touch? I would assume it does... and I would definitely paint it the same as my wall color if all else fails and there isn't a more creative option. I would make sure to wipe it down good with some vinegar 1st that will help the paint stick.
  • Carol Cobb Carol Cobb on Mar 09, 2016
    What is behind the paneling? If it can't be removed, you could go over it with 1/4 inch sheetrock and build a box around the pipe to hide it. Same with the ceiling, pull it down or cover it up. Cheap fix is to paint it, if your a renter and not getting reimbursed, I would paint and frame a sheetrock box around the ugly pipe.
  • Jeani Jeani on Mar 10, 2016
    I would do a almond and linen white striped design on the walls. Then everything would blend together.
  • Sandra Dickenson Sandra Dickenson on Mar 14, 2016
    i would ask if you can take off the trim pieces and sheetrock tape and mud the seams. I would build a corner shelf that covers the vent and holds nicknacks.
  • Anita Elaine Anita Elaine on Mar 27, 2016
    Rentals are challenging! I have used fine lattice to cover heating vents like this. I would secure a 1 inch slat on the left side and use the door jamb on the right to act as anchors. Measure between, then cut lattice wider so it will bell outward. I would add clips to hold family pictures and silk flower vines . ... For the walls, I have used a Home Depot "sponge roller" for many years. I take the primer white paint and roll first. 2nd coat roll is the flat color you are wanting AND split in the paint pan a portion of it lightened. When you roll it, walls become dabbled enough to hide damage, slats, lines, scratches. It is amazing how much it covers. The shiny primer only shows slightly through your color but gives a nice glimmer. People often mistake my paint job for high-end wall paper.
  • Teresa Teresa on Mar 28, 2016
    The lines are an easy fix but will take time. Joint compound is the best filler and if you fill it in small amounts and don't over fill them it's less sanding to do before painting.