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Tips for Removing Paneling

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Tuning in on KTKK from Utah, Sydna (sp), welcome to The Money Pit. What’s going on and how can we help?

    SYDNA (sp): I need to take off some paneling that’s been in my TV room for 30 years now. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: OK. You’re tired of it, huh?

    SYDNA (sp): Really tired of it.

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    SYDNA (sp): And I just don’t know how to go about it. I’ve had people tell me, “Oh, you just pull it off and then you paint under it.” Then I’ve had people say, “You might pull that off and if you don’t know what the builder did under it there might be nothing but the frame of the house.”

    LESLIE: True.

    SYDNA (sp): I don’t know. And then I’ve have had others say, “Don’t bother to take it off. Just paint it.”

    TOM: And there’s yet one third possibility, Sydna (sp), and that is that it was glued on to drywall and if you pull it off you end up ruining the drywall underneath. I know it’s not what you want to hear but that is a possibility. And the solution here, I think, Leslie, is just a little – do a little bit of exploratory surgery.

    LESLIE: Yeah, I would say find an edge or a seam between two where you can get into it and see how it’s attached. You might be able to pry a little part off on the edge and see, “Oh, it’s just attached to studs”; in which case you can pull off the paneling and add drywall. Not a big deal. Or you might start to see that it’s glued to some drywall and it can be a huge mess and a lot of repair work, which would mean eventually pulling it all off and then putting new drywall on again because it would just ruin it. Or you can cover what’s there. Leave the wood paneling and just put drywall right on top of it. Just get a thinner profile drywall rather than the super thick one you would use normally. You can paint it also but then don’t forget; you’re stuck with the vertical groove lines of your paneling. So you still have the paneling feel but now it’s a different color.

    TOM: And the other thing, Sydna (sp), is you may very well find that it was simply nailed on over drywall, which would be, really, the best case scenario.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) The best case scenario.

    TOM: Because now you’re just going to have a bunch of little nail holes to fix and then you could prime all the drywall and paint it like it was never there in the first place.

    But to find out what’s involved you need to find a section. You know, the paneling is going to be four feet wide. Try to find one piece that’s maybe, you know, less than four feet wide – maybe you find a strip somewhere where it was filled in – and see if you can get a small, flat pry bar under one edge – you may have to pull of a piece of molding to do this – and see how easy it is or how hard it is to take off. And if it turns out it’s just nailed over drywall then just go for it. Pull it all off, fill the holes, prime the wall, paint it and you’re good to go. Total new look in the living room.

    SYDNA (sp): I’ll just cross my fingers. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: Yeah, we will too, Sydna (sp). Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. There’s a positive thought, huh? Just cross your fingers and go in.

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