Restoring and Replacing Paneling
Paneling is a term which refers to wooden wallcoverings. This wallcovering can take several different forms, although the most common are tongue-and-groove boards and prefinished sheet paneling. Wood paneling is often chosen for its durability, since it needs very little maintenance. However, wood paneling does require repair and restoration at times; luckily for homeowners, wood paneling is easily restored and replaced.
Restoring paneling with minor scuffs and scrapes is extremely easy. Scuff marks are usually removable with a light coat of paste wax. Scratches can be gone over with a touch-up stick. These methods are generally preferable to sanding or refinishing prefinished paneling, or replacing paneling altogether.
Water damage and punctures are common reasons for restoring or replacing paneling. If the wood paneling has been greatly damaged, you will have to replace the specific sheets of wood which are damaged. The most difficult part of this process may be finding matching pieces of paneling. Lumber yards, salvage yards, and building centers are all good places to look for older types of wood panels.
When the paneling sheets have been found, they need to be conditioned and installed. Conditioning the paneling involves placing it vertically in the room, with spacers placed so that air can circulate around the individual panels. Building codes in many areas require that paneling is backed with wallboard. Wallboard also gives the paneling support, prevents it from warping, and gives the room more sound protection. When restoring or replacing paneling, make sure that the wallboard is repaired if it is not in good shape.
To remove a sheet of paneling, use a flat bar or pry bar to pry off the top molding and baseboard. Remove all the nails and draw lines down the panel, about 3 or 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) from each edge of the panel. Cut along the panel with a linoleum knife. You may have to use a lot of pressure to cut the panel, or use a hammer and chisel to break it.
The next step in replacing paneling is to use the pry bar to pry the sheet of paneling up and away from the wall. The center piece should be removed first, along with the nails, then the narrow edge pieces. Finally, scrape the adhesive away with a putty knife. Check the vapor barrier to see if it is in good condition.
Place the new panel in place, making sure that the arrows on the back of the paneling face the correct directions. Apply beads of panel adhesive in a zigzag pattern on the back of the panel, and tack the panel into position at the top. Wait for the adhesive to set and press the panel to the wall, tapping it with a rubber mallet. The final step in replacing paneling is to nail the finish nails at the bottom of the panes.
Written by Bronwyn Harris
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