Reclaimed wood paneling is a great way to give any room in your house a rustic look and feel. It’s also an excellent way to re‑use material that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Before starting this project, we recommend painting the wall or walls you’ll be paneling a dark color to blend in with the paneling. Here’s what you’ll need for this satisfying project:
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Pry Bar
- Tape Measure
- Electronic Stud Finder
- 4-ft. or longer Level
- Miter Saw
- Quick Square
- Table Saw
- Power Finish Nailer & 2″ Nails
- Drill with ½” Bit
- Jig Saw
- Non-Contact Circuit Tester
- ¾” thick Reclaimed Wood
- Scrap Wood
- Electrical Box Extenders
- Dark Colored Paint
When taking on this DIY task be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
- Eye Protection
- Ear Protection
Score top of baseboard. Start by scoring through paint and caulk at the top of your molding with a utility knife. This will prevent damaging your drywall when you pull off the baseboard.
Remove the baseboard. Tap the pry bar behind one end of the molding and pull away from the wall. Work your way along the length of the wall until the baseboard’s removed. Depending on how securely it’s fastened, you may need to set a piece of plywood behind the pry bar to avoid crushing your drywall.
Locate studs. Nail holes under your old baseboard should indicate where your studs are located. Use an electronic stud finder to confirm, then mark locations near the ceiling. When your studs are mapped, snap a chalk line along the length of each.
Draw a level line. Place your level against the wall at eye level. Draw a line along the length of the level, extending it across the entire wall.
Install first course. Decide on a strategy for the joints between boards in each course. If your wood is cut at random lengths, cut both ends of the board square, measuring only the last board so it reaches the corner. Use a miter saw to make your cuts. Butt into the wall along your level line, and fasten with two finish nails in each stud. Install each board in the course the same way until you’re less than a board’s length from an end point.
Install last board in section. Measure between the wall and the second-to-last board to determine the length of the final board in the course. Cut to length, then nail into place. You’ll install all courses the same way except the top and bottom.
Cut around electrical boxes. When you arrive at a switch or outlet, you’ll need to cut a hole in a board — or, if the box falls between two courses, notch two boards to fit around it. As with any project associated with electrical boxes, start by turning off the power at the circuit breaker, then confirm the power is off with a non‑contact circuit tester. Remove the outlet cover or switch plate and install a box extender according to manufacturer’s instructions. Measure and lay out the position of the box on the board you’re working on. If you’re cutting a hole, drill a starter hole with a half-inch bit. Position your jigsaw blade in the hole and make your cut. If you’re notching, do so with a jigsaw, but only on one board — you’ll notch the other when you get to it in the next course. Once all pieces are in place, re‑attach the outlet or switch cover.
Cut pieces to fit casings. As you work, you may encounter boards that butt into window and door trim. If this is the case, and part of each board’s width extends above or below the trim, you’ll need to cut to fit around the casings. To do this, measure the width of the extension, cut a narrow piece with a table saw, and continue the course around the door or window trim.
Install bottom course. When you’re ready to install the bottom course, start by measuring the space between the bottom of the boards above it to the floor, repeating at several places along the wall. Use a table saw to rip bottom row boards about 1/8th’s of an inch narrower than the smallest measurement. If the measurement differs, jump to Steps 11 and 12. Butt the last course up against the one above it and nail into place.
Measure for last course. Install the top course against the ceiling, then measure the gap for your last course, taking measurements at multiple points along the wall above it and below it as shown. If the measurements are the same, cut the final course to width with a table saw and nail into place. If the measurements differ, go to the next step.
Measure taper. If your measurements differ, you’ll need to taper the boards to fit. To do this, measure the distance between the board above and the board below at several points, making sure you have a measurement for each end of the new piece you’ll be installing. Transfer the end measurements to your board and snap a chalk line between the points.
Cut tapered board. On a stable work surface, clamp the board in place and use a circular saw to rip along the chalk line.
Install tapered board. Test the fit, then nail the first tapered top course board into place. Continue this process for the rest of the row.
Your project is complete. Step back and admire your newly paneled room.