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Wood Paneling: Rip It Down or Paint It?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Brian in Illinois has a question about the 70s choice of décor paneling. (chuckles) What can we do, Brian?

    BRIAN: Well, I wonder if it’s a good idea to paint the brown paneling that’s in my father’s house or leave it as is or pull it out and drywall? We’re trying to sell it on the cheap; the house.

    TOM: Well, one thing I would want to find out is whether the old paneling was glued to the walls or not. If you can pop off one section and it seems to come off pretty easily, then I would be tempted to remove it completely. You’re going to have to, then, just spackle nail holes and do a little bit of wall repair; a little wall surgery. When it’s off, it’ll look better that way.

    If it’s glued on, the answer is absolutely, positively don’t pull it off because you’ll pull all the paper of the drywall off with it; then just paint it. But I’d like to know if it’s glued on or not and I’d make my decision based on that.

    BRIAN: I think, from my touching it, it’s both; it’s got – it’s tacked up but also I think they put some strips of glue along it. It seems like it sticks in other spots; to the side of where the nails are.

    TOM: Well, that’s going to make it a really messy job to pull it down and, if you do, you might end up having to skin all the drywall; because if you pull that paper off, it’s just impossible.

    LESLIE: Yeah but skinning the drywall isn’t a terribly difficult process, right?

    TOM: Yeah but he wants to sell the house, so let’s get it down quick. 

    Is the entire house covered with this paneling, Brian?

    BRIAN: No, just the family room and part of the kitchen. We’re trying to sell it for an estate, by my father.

    TOM: Listen, why don’t you prime it and paint it? I don’t think that it’s going to be worth the aggravation of pulling it down then. But use a good-quality primer like an oil-based KILZ primer or something like that.

    LESLIE: And you’d be surprised how crisp that paneling can look when it’s done in like a nice, glossy white.

    BRIAN: Alright, guys. That’s helpful. I appreciate it.

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