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How to Deal with Old Wood Paneling

old wood paneling

If you are wondering how to deal with old wood paneling, it’s probably because it looks dated and makes the space feel small and confined. Popular in the 1970’s and part of the early 1980’s, wood paneling offered a way to get a unique look at a low price. You could be planning a total kitchen gut, which includes riding the space of that old wood paneling or you might be making good use out of a makeshift space. Whatever the reason, you want to at least attempt to avoid the high cost of tearing out the old wood paneling and replacing it with drywall or sheet rock.

How to Deal with Old Wood Paneling

One problem with wood paneling is not only its outdated look, but also, the fact it won’t come off the framing clean. This means holes galore and possible damage to the wall frame. So, it’s always a good solution to keep it but conceal it. If you’re converting a basement into a game room, you’ll want to have a more updated and light look, there are ways to leave the paneling in place without anyone knowing it is still there.

Nothing screams the 1970s like a room covered in wood paneling. Even if you love the look of wood, paneling across an entire wall or around a whole room can feel overwhelming and dated. Whether you want to save money by keeping the paneling or enjoy the warmth of wood but want a fresh look, there are several ways to make the paneling feel modern without tearing it off the wall. —San Francisco Gate

One of the challenges you’ll face is paneling by its very finished product, does not provide an even or continuous slate. Often, there are grooves and dark and light shades or tones in the grain. While this is part of the charm of wood, it’s going to make it more difficult to conceal. Still, it’s better to have a more modern look and this is possible, with the right approach and enough elbow grease. Here are some helpful suggestions for how to deal with old wood paneling:

  • Paint over it. A simple but not necessarily easy way to deal with old wood paneling is to paint right over it. Well, after it’s been properly prepared and primed. Fill groove with caulk or wood putty and sand smooth, then apply the right number of coats of primer and paint. If you’d like a distressed, shabby chic look, skip the caulk and wood putty but still prime the paneling before painting over it.
  • Plaster over it. While it is possible to plaster over wood paneling, this is not a project for the average DIY homeowner. It requires real skill to install right or the finish will look (at best) amateurish. It might be possible to hang drywall or sheet rock over it but here again, leave it to a professional.
  • Stain to refinish. Instead of prepping and priming it for paint, take a similar approach and stain to refinish it. Solid wood paneling is able to be sanded, smoothed, and then varnished or stained for a different shade or tone. Before you jump into this, use a scrap piece of the paneling to test it out.
  • Hang wallpaper over it. Okay, so why would you trade outdated paneling for ugly wallpaper? Well, you wouldn’t; instead you would hang modern, modest wallpaper to conceal the old wood paneling. There are many choices available but simple and neutral are the best combination.

If you cannot settle on a suitable method for dealing with old wood paneling and the only option is to tear it out, phone 800-433-1094 or visit Haul Junk Away to schedule construction and remodeling debris removal. We’ll haul it away, along with anything else you do not need or want.

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