Covering up old paneling? Whats Best? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 11-20-2008, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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Covering up old paneling? Whats Best?

Good morning,

I am not sure if I am in the right spot or not. I purchased my Grandmother's house about 3 years ago. City rowhouse, brick construction, plaster and lathe interior walls. etc. I just ripped up the rugs last week, I remember them being put down when my mother was pregnant with my brother making them 35 years old. Anyway, there is 50's asphalt tile on the floor which I would like to cover with hdwood floor eventually. But in the kitchen, part of the dining room and the two back bedrooms are covered in 60's/70's paneling. I HATE it! I want to cover it up/paint it something but do not want to tear it down. FEAR of what is underneath it. On thought I had, (DIY network) was to sand the walls, fill in the grooves with spackle and paint. Not sure how long it would last before the spackle/mud/joint compound would fall out? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

Cheers
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post #2 of 36 Old 11-20-2008, 09:35 AM
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Dr. Evil,
I am not a cover it up person. I know you said you don't want to tear the paneling off, but I would recommend it. Chances are it wasn't done to hide anything. Back then, paneling was the in thing to do, along with z-brick. Most people used an adhesive like liquid nails along with some small paneling nails to hold the panels on. I would try removing one piece at least. Pick one in a corner and see how it comes off. You should be able to scrape off the glue and patch and sand the walls. No need to cover up that plaster. I think in the long run it will be easier than trying to patch in all the grooves in the paneling. The other thing a lot of people would do is to sheet the walls with 3/8" drywall right over the paneling. That would be another option for you if you don't want to tear the paneling off.
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post #3 of 36 Old 11-20-2008, 10:03 AM
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I believe that if you put a couple of coats of primer on the panelling then did a skim coat of drywall compound, you would not have any problems with adhesion. After the skim coat cures out for a couple of days, I would put another coat of primer, texture the wall then do the final painting. Another thought would be to only remove half the paneling and put chair rail on top of the lower half and paint it, like wainscotting.
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post #4 of 36 Old 11-20-2008, 11:00 AM
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Hi Evil

If the panelling is in good condition you could consider cleaning it and painting right over it. We put up used panelling in our hall, to cover up old ripped up dry wall, and just painted over it, leaving the grooves there. It actually turned out looking pretty good. I would be concerned with any kind of filler loosening and falling out down the road, particularly at the panel joints.

Gerry
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post #5 of 36 Old 11-20-2008, 05:01 PM
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I have NEVER seen anyone cover up paneling so that it looked good afterwards. If you want to cover it use 1/2 inch wallboard.

You can prime, Spackle, skim coat drywall compound, or whatever, but to my eyes it will NEVER look good. I think it would be easier to just go over it with the thinest wallboard you can find.

G
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post #6 of 36 Old 11-20-2008, 07:57 PM
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Consider this carefully

I've done this, but wouldn't recommend it. The first time I tried to cover paneling, I scuffed it with rough sandpaper on a belt sander, then I coated the whole room with spackle and tried to sand it smooth (lots of sanding). No matter what I did, I couldn't get it to where the grooves wouldn't show. Finally I used a roll-on texture (thick paint with sand in it) in an attempt to cover it all. I never was happy with it. You could still see the grooves if you looked closely. I tried it in another room, filling the grooves again, but this time I shot really heavy texture on the walls with a texture gun and knocked it down. This looked better, but I still wasn't all that happy with it.

Since then I sold that house, and my new place had paneling throughout the entire house. From my previous experience I decided it was just as easy to remove all of the paneling and replace it with sheetrock. It wasn't any more work and the results are much better (and sheetrock is relatively cheap). It also gave me an opportunity to upgrade electrical, plumbing, and add more insulation.
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post #7 of 36 Old 11-20-2008, 08:14 PM
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There is a heavy type of textured wallpaper that I have seen the pros use that covers all your paneling seamlessly. Skim coat, sand smooth, prime, paint. No chance of grooves showing, came out beautiful.
Me? drywall and be done with it.

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post #8 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 02:41 AM
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What about leaving the paneling up and......

put 1/4 drywall over it.
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post #9 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the input. I have considered many of the options posted. With the 3 top runners being, leaving the paneling and covering with thin sheetrock, taking down paneling and replacing with sheetrock, and sanding and painting the paneling. As I said my big fear is what it looks like underneath. My concern would be getting the sheetrock level (as in with removing the paneling), Matching up the baseboards, (as in with rocking over top of the paneling) and the paint peeling, (as in painting over top of the paneling). So ideas are still rolling around.

Does anyone know any thing as TSP (?) if I have the correct initials. Cleaning solution for removing grease, etc.

Thanks AGAIN!
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post #10 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 09:52 AM
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TriSodium Phosphate (TSP) is a good cleaning agent. Have never used it to clean grease. My main use has been, along with chlorox, to clean patio furniture.

G
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post #11 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
 
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George,

I said grease, I didn't mean car grease or anything like that, I was refering to kitchen grease. (read as years of build up) I would like to paint my kitchen cabinets but wanted to make sure of course they were clean. Do you know how TSP is for that?

Thanks
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post #12 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 10:07 AM
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I wouldn't do anything to it until I found out what IS under it. If you just slap up drywall you can't be sure the screws will hold. You will be making some problems with the electrical boxes, door jambs, window trim, etc.
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post #13 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 10:30 AM
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For cleaning the wood panelling, you can also use Murphy's Oil Soap.
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post #14 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 10:41 AM
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For all the trouble of cleaning and prep, and the fact
that it will always be, "covered up paneling", it just
ain't worth the effort.

Tear it down. We used primed bead board paneling to
replace our old wood paneling, it is the same thickness
so there is no problem with the trim or electrical.
It is not expensive, and it paints like it was drywall.
And it took less than a day to do two walls. From
start to painting.
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post #15 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 10:55 AM
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I am going with the folks that suggest that you rip that stuff out of there are replace with sheet rock. Start from the ceiling and work your way down so that your moldings cover up any gaps (there should be slight ones).

I have seen several houses where the trick of filling in the grooves with wallboard mud was used, it looks horrid. They used TSP, sanded, primed, applied in thin coats, sanded etc... to get it all to stick and the stuff is still chunking off...

Rip it down to the studs, repair or exterminate any surprises you might find and do the job right the first time. In the long run you will be MUCH happier with a proper remodel than a half (Symbol for the Democratic Party) job. (NOT going political here, just trying to find polite euphemism..).

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post #16 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 11:00 AM
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I'm going with the "tear it down" crowd on this one. I just did that in my family room and it makes a huge difference. Covered paneling will always look covered. Leaving it up and sheetrocking over it is just going to be a lesson in frustration when you need to change things later down the line.

As for cleaning kitchen grease, washing with Dawn dish soap generally does the trick without the harshness of some of the other cleaners. Probably takes a bit more elbow grease but it won't mess up your finish or anything like that, assuming you want to keep the finish as is before painting.
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post #17 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 11:32 AM
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One other note here, I lived in an apartment and
the paneling was installed over unfinished sheet
rock to start with.

Some times the surprises under things are not
bad.
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post #18 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
One other note here, I lived in an apartment and
the paneling was installed over unfinished sheet
rock to start with.

Some times the surprises under things are not
bad.
BH, I do know (kind of) what is underneath the paneling, old dried out plaster and lathe. AND I know in my HEART that removing the paneling is the TRUE way I should go. The fact is I would actually LOVE to tear down the plaster and lathe, (there must be 3 or 4 layers of wallpaper that is dried out and coming loose all over the house) BUT I don't know if I trust my skills to do it. It would actully be to my advantage to tear it out that way I could upgrade the wiring and add outlets that are needed EVERYWHERE. (House built around 1910 - 1920) But as I said I don't know that I trust my skills for a complete gut job. So I guess I am stuck with the paneling, limited outlets, and 70's kitchen. Have to see if I can learn somewhere and go from there!

THANK YOU ALL for your input

Any other suggestions are MORE than WELCOME!
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post #19 of 36 Old 11-21-2008, 02:02 PM
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I really think it would take less skill to tear out and
start over that to try to match trim and get a good
finish on the project.

It would be like new construction once you got all
the crap out of the way. Plus you could do a proper
job of it with new wiring and insulation, vapor barrier
and all.

In the long run it will be cheaper than tearing it
out later to do it right.

It might be best to leave it for later and do some
of the other things first.
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post #20 of 36 Old 11-22-2008, 06:20 AM
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" I really think it would take less skill to tear out and
start over that to try to match trim and get a good
finish on the project."

I think that this is a very good statement. DO NOT sell yourself short. The tear out takes no skill. Installing wallboard takes some skill, but you can learn that part rather quickly. The only hard part is the joints. A little practice and you will be an expert.

The tear out may be dirty and messy, but just think of how the whole thing will look after you are finished.

Do not under rate advantages of updating the electrical system. You will probably get major insurance rate savings as well as safety peace of mine. The bonus will be the increased outlets and switches plus the higher amperage rating. Houses built in that time frame have very poor electrical systems comparred to modern.

George
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