Improve the Look of Ugly Paneling
LESLIE: Our next caller is Dorothy from California who listens to The Money Pit on KVML. And Dorothy has an allergy problem, to some paneling. What is your paneling made out of?
DOROTHY: Well, I’m not sure. It’s … it is a wood … it’s … this is an older home and this paneling must be about …
LESLIE: Probably built in the 70s?
TOM: I had some older … I had an older home with some paneling, that was built in the 70s and I know exactly how Dorothy feels. I used to get sick every time I looked at that stuff. (laughing) It’s awful.
LESLIE: That’s a visual allergy. I think it’s making her feel sick.
DOROTHY: (laughing) I think I have that, too.
TOM: Yeah. (laughing) Stuck in the 70s. We had mustard yellow paneling and orange shag carpet.
TOM: It was … it was horrible. (laughing)
LESLIE: It was a choice.
TOM: But it went well together, you know? (laughing) So how can we help you with your paneling?
DOROTHY: Well, I was wondering if there’s something that I could cover it up with.
TOM: Oh, sure.
DOROTHY: And maybe …
LESLIE: Well, the paneling … you might have an allergy to pine. Because is … is paneling normally made from pine?
TOM: Well, not always. It’s made from synthetic materials.
LESLIE: Oh, really?
LESLIE: I was going to say, I wonder if you have the same sort of reaction to other pieces in your home that might be made of the same product. But you have a couple of options. You can remove the paneling. If you’re lucky enough and the paneling is just attached to the studs in the wall, you can pull that off and then put drywall up and actually have a beautiful surface to start from there. You could put the drywall right over the paneling. Or you can just paint it and prime it; prime it and paint it and really sort of seal it in there. That might help you, as well.
DOROTHY: Okay. What kind of a sealer would I use?
LESLIE: Well, for your primer, Tom, would you recommend just using some sort of like a Kilz Primer?
TOM: Yeah, I would use KILZ. That’s going to do a good job. You can use KILZ. They have a water-based product and they have an oil-based product; both will work very well for that situation. And that really is going to give you a good surface to put the paint on to make sure the paint covers the old paneling. And, really, more and more people are just painting over paneling these days. It really can look pretty nice if you use good quality paint and you put a nice semi-gloss finish on there. It looks very, very smooth and very slick.
DOROTHY: Well, that sounds like a good idea. Be the easiest way.
TOM: Very easy, Dorothy.
LESLIE: And it makes a huge change.
DOROTHY: Well, that sounds really good.
TOM: Okay, Dorothy. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and listening there in California on KVML.