Renovation-Headquarters Banner

How To Cover Old Wood Paneling - Part 3

  1. Sand the paneling to remove the gloss. This will allow the joint compound, the paint primer or the wallpaper sizing to get a better grip on the wall.

Note: When sanding you should always take appropriate health and safety precautions - wear a dust mask, as shown in Figure 7 and safety glasses or goggles as shown in Figure 8.

dust mask
Figure 7 - Dust mask
safety goggles
Figure 8 - Safety goggles
  1. Vacuum the walls, floor and ceiling to remove as much of the sanding dust from the wood paneling as possible. Wipe the wood paneling with a damp sponge or cloth until the walls are clean of all dust.
  2. Using drywall knives fill the grooves in the paneling with joint compound. Tape the joints between wood panels and the corners with the joint compound and allow the joint compound to dry overnight.
  3. Additional information on taping drywall joints.

  4. Because drywall joint compound shrinks when it dries it will be necessary to apply another layer of joint compound over the grooves. It will also be necessary to feather a new layer of joint compound over seams and in corners. Allow this layer to dry over night before proceeding.
  5. Note: You should sand lightly between coats of drywall compound. After sanding vacuum and use a damp sponge to remove any joint compound dust from the wall.

    Note: It may be necessary to add a third coat of drywall compound. Follow the same procedure as you did in Step 7.

  6. Turn the power off at the circuit breaker panel or remove the appropriate fuses from the fuse panel so that there is no live power at any of the switches or electrical outlets (receptacles).
  1. Remove the switch and outlet (receptacle) cover plates.
  2. Sand the joint compound, feathering and leveling it with the surface of the wood panel.
  3. Vacuum the walls, floor and ceiling to remove as much drywall joint compound dust and the sanding dust from the wood paneling as possible. Wipe the wall with a damp sponge or cloth until the walls are clean of all dust. Don’t forget to vacuum inside the electrical boxes.
  4. If you are going to paint, use a quality paint primer, as the first coat. If you are going to wallpaper you can use wallpaper sizing to cover the surface of the wood paneling.
  5. Inspect your work. If after applying the paint primer you can see the grooves or portions of the grooves you need to either add more joint compound or sand the surface better. If you add more joint compound or sand the surface repaint the areas that you worked on with the paint primer.
  6. Note: Always remember to vacuum and use a damp sponge or cloth to remove all dust after sanding.

  7. Once you are satisfied that the surface is smooth and you cannot see the groove lines or the seams between panels any longer apply the finish coat of paint or wallpaper.
  8. Replace the switches and outlets (receptacles) in their electrical boxes and replace the switch and outlet cover plates.
  9. Once all of the cover plates are back in place power can be turned back on in the room.

  10. If you have a suspended ceiling replace the L trim and associated ceiling supports and panels. If you have another style of ceiling replace any moldings that you removed in Step 1.
  11. Note: If the ceiling molding was damaged or needs fresh painting it is best to do it before you reinstall it. You can fill the nail holes and do some paint touch-up after you have installed the molding. It is easier to do paint it before installation rather than trying to keep the molding paint off the walls or wallpaper.

  12. Replace the baseboard.
  13. Note: If the baseboard was marred or needs fresh painting it is best to do it before you reinstall it. You can fill the nail holes and do some paint touch-up after you have installed the baseboard. It is easier to do paint it before installation rather than trying to keep the baseboard paint off the walls or wallpaper.