LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Chris in Texas who’s dealing with some wood paneling. What can we do for you today?
CHRIS: It’s a house of 1985 …
LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
CHRIS: … and it was more of a man’s home, so it’s got all this wood paneling all around the house and it’s in my family room. And with the oak paneling, they also have molding that makes it kind of look like a picture frame in certain spots; you know, all around the room. And I would like to take off some molding so it’s a flat panel and I’d like to do some textured walls with mud kind of thing. Do I need to have to take off all the wood paneling or can I put some kind of a primer and then put mud on there and do the textured walls or what?
LESLIE: I’m just wondering about the adhesion level with the paneling.
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to be able to do any kind of textured paint on top of the paneling.
CHRIS: (overlapping voices) That’s what I figured.
TOM: (overlapping voices) I do, however, think that you could prime it and you could paint it but you’re not going to be able to do anything that has a thickness to it because the paneling is going to be too flexible and it will crack and then fall off.
CHRIS: Right. So I probably need to take off the paneling first and then start all over?
TOM: Yeah, that would be the safest way to do it. Now it may not be that big of a deal. What I would do is try to see if the paneling can come off easily and hopefully it’s not glued. If it’s not glued then it comes off pretty easily. You may find that underneath, the drywall was never taped and, in that case, you’ll have to tape the seams. Because that was very common in the 70s; to just put it right on top of drywall without taping it first.
LESLIE: And you know what, Chris? The molding frames that you’re describing on these walls, that’s actually a really fun way to add some sort of architectural style to a space. So if you find that it’s going to be just a huge undertaking to get rid of the paneling and too much work to start from scratch, you might want to think about painting the base of the paneling one color – like, say, the room color – then doing the molding in the frames like in bright white and then, inside that frame molding, doing a really fun vintage wall covering or some sort of textured paper or a rice paper and then putting in, you know, a collection of plates or artwork or something in there to really focus on that.
CHRIS: I kind of thought about that, too. So if I do have to paint it, I have to do like a – what do you call it – a primer and then be able to paint over it?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) You would have to prime.
TOM: Yes, you absolutely want to prime first because primer is the glue that makes the paint stick.
CHRIS: OK. Alright. Well, that’s great. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.