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How to Update the Look of Wall Paneling

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Jim in Oregon with a paneling question. Tell us what you’re working on.

    JIM: I’ve got a house that was built in the early 1950s and I moved into it in the 70s. And it didn’t have any insulation in the walls of the house, so I took the interior paneling off, which was – ¼-inch plywood was all it was. And then I put insulation behind that and of course, rewired it at the same time.

    And then when I put the ¼-inch paneling back, after I put the insulation in, then I put – of course, it was in the 70s, the big paneling era. So I just put paneling over the top of that. Now I want to kind of upgrade it a little bit and I’m not too sure if my best route would be to clean the paneling really well and paint it or clean the paneling really well and have somebody come in and spray it, like you do sheetrock. Or maybe I should put ¼-inch sheetrock over the top of it and tape it off and then spray it. Or possibility of putting – on every stud, put a 2×2 on the stud and then put the insulation in that looks like Styrofoam with the tin foil on each side and then a panel of – or sheetrock over the top of that. So, I’m kind of looking at dollars and cents in which way to go.

    TOM: Wow, you have a lot of choices. Do we want – we really want a cosmetic solution here?

    JIM: Yes.

    TOM: That’s the case, there’s no reason you can’t paint this.

    Paint on paneling can look quite attractive if it’s done well. Right, Leslie? But I think priming is probably important.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You’re right about wanting to clean it. Then you’re definitely needing to prime it with a very good-quality primer, because you want it to adhere very well to the paneling. And depending on if this is actual wood paneling or some sort of wood-like paneling, you just want it to stick well. And then I would go with whatever paint over it.

    The issue here is whether or not you like the look of the vertical lines. If you like them, then you’re going to love it painted. Because somehow, white paneling looks fantastic, especially if you’ve got a décor and a home style that lends itself to that look. It can really work for you.

    I really wouldn’t paint it any other color because then it’s like, “Oh, that’s painted paneling.” Where suddenly, in white, it’s like, “Oh, it’s got a country chic-ish charm to it.” But it’s really up to you whether that’s a look that you like and will enjoy. If you can work with it, then I definitely say go for the paint.

    JIM: So if I painted white on it, my big-horn sheep hanging on the wall and the antelope and stuff would stand out really well then.

    TOM: Yeah, I bet they would.

    LESLIE: That’s a whole ‘nother conversation for another day.

    JIM: Yeah, I can just understand. I used to own a sporting-goods store, so I understand that.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us, Jim, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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