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Covering 1970's Paneling

I purchased my home 10 years ago. I have grown tired of the 1970's style paneling in  my bedrooms. Since I do not want the hassle of ripping it down and repairing the dry wall behind it (assumed based on dealing with this in a previous living room remodel), I have found a product at Home Depot that appears to be a good solution. It is an extra thick textured, paintable wallpaper for covering over paneling. The grooves in the paneling are 1/16" deep. I would rather not fill the grooves with spackle or dry wall compound, in order to save time and effort. Can anyone tell me if you have used this product and your experience with it? And can anyone tell me if any other wall prep is necessary, other than sanding and cleaning the paneling to help the paper adhere to the paneling.

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Posted 2012-01-16T13:49:01+0000  by percussion28 percussion28

Hello and welcome to the community.:smileyvery-happy:


I am an associate here in Atlanta in the paint department at the Home Depot as well as an experienced  painting contractor.  In my experience - the solution that will require the least amount of time investment is to patch the seams, prime and paint. It isn't as hard as it sounds and will shave hours off the renovation time. 


Another consideration is that the paneling may need to be primed before applying the paper over the surface. Keep in mind that without filling the paneling channels..Over time they will show through the paper as a texture.


If you do choose to patch and paint, the process is rather simple:


  1. clean the walls with TSP cleaner to remove any residue.
  2. patch all seams with patching compound.
  3. sand smooth.
  4. caulk all corners and joints.
  5. prime & paint.

 ...or just paint two coats with  BEHR ULTRA (paint & primer in one).


Hope this helped in your decision making process.

Posted 2012-01-16T15:34:53+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

 I agree; priming beffore painting or wallpapering is a must.  A product called Zinsser Primer 1-2-3 sold at HD would be great for your project - it bonds well to glossy hard to stick surfaces.  Filling the grooves in the paneling is a better option even though its more work - you might get the grooves "telegraphing" or showing through the wallpaper as time goes by and with changes in temp and humidity.  Wallpaper also might sink into the grooves too even though it may be thick. I've seen this many times!  Also, painting might be a simpler route - less work, less maintanace than wallpaper. Furthermore, if you put up wallpaper, trends change quick, you might get tired of the look, and repairing it is difficult. WIth paint, changing the color/look is a lot easier, and simpler to touch up and repair.  Just some things to consider!

Posted 2012-01-17T04:52:15+0000  by mgonzo

What specific patching compound should I get? I assume is is applied after using the TSP cleaner on the paneling. What department will I find the cleaner and the patching compound?

Posted 2012-01-18T22:19:12+0000  by percussion28
I like the patch-n-paint product because it doesn't shrink and can be applied smooth right over the seams. This will help to reduce the need to apply a second coat and sanding before painting. All the products you need for this project can be found in the paint department at your Home Depot or online at Please send us some before/after pics to show us the progress - we love to see projects.
Posted 2012-01-19T03:33:43+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL


I doubt that the faux groves in the paneling would show up if not filled, because the paneling as a whole is stable. However, the seams between the panels could be a problem. This gap could move slightly with the seasonal changes and cause the paper to wrinkle where they cross the gap. First, I would check to see that the panels are flush at this gap. A high spot would definitely show. This gap I would fill.


I would lay out the room to make sure that none of the paper seams would fall onto of the faux grooves in the paneling. If it does, I would either adjust the layout of the paper to avoid the grooves, or fill the grooves upon which the paper seams would fall .


Another possibility is to use a heavy liner paper  under the paper. In this case, the paper  must be laid out so that the seams do not fall on the seams of the liner paper. Liner papers were often hung on the diagonal to avoid this possibility.


Quite frankly, at some point, it becomes more work and expense to compensate for the paneling than to just take down the paneling! I personally would back off a piece of paneling to see what is underneath it. I had a partially paneled family room in my last house and found that underneath the paneling was completely taped drywall! I merely had to remove a few dabs of mastic and prime and paint the bare drywall.

Posted 2012-02-05T06:57:49+0000  by ordjen

You mention the patch- n-paint, but I'm not able to determine what this is on home depot's website.  Please provide more details, and some hint about how to use it.


Here's what I have What I have is a bathroom with paneling on it, and some area's in the wall that need to be patched--such as a laundry shoot, and a 8x6 hole that I've covered with a picture (didn't remember it being there from when we bought the house in 97.  It's too big of a job to remove the paneling, as it abutts to the tiled shower, and under the vanity countertop,--- we won't be living here but another year or so, so I'm working to make it look good and more saleable.  I have replaced the flooring and the hardware on the vanity and it's looking good.


Now I need to modify the bathroom walls, and bathroom has a popcorn ceiling, with a 1 inch piece of trim next to the ceiling around the room.  I'm contemplating using the paintball wallpaper, but i think I have to sand some of the paneling.


What i want to know

--- is what wallpaper adhesive should I use,

--- and what preparation to the wall do I have to do if I sand it---does it still need a BIN or Zinser primer after I sand?

--  Would I need the liner and if I do, what type do I buy

--and how do I decide to hang it (adhesive under it, and then let it dry, and then do I need sizing?



Posted 2012-07-14T18:12:36+0000  by epatjn

You don't need to do all that prep work.  All you need to do is wash the walls good with real TSP solution, not the TSP substitute.  Then you put up the thick paintable wallpaper that they sell at Home Depot called Paintable Solutions.  It is prepasted, so you don't need to apply additional wallpaper glue. Just follow the instructions on applying it, which are very simple.  You wait about 24 hours after putting it up, then paint it with a latex paint.  No need to prime.  If the edge of the wallpaper meets up with a groove in the paneling, overlap the next piece of wallpaper a little bit.  This is very forgiving wallpaper and the grooves in the paneling won't show through.  Good luck!!

Posted 2012-10-04T08:20:42+0000  by mstiles

I have (much hated ) paneling in the basement.  The prior owners just separated the big empty space with sheets of paneling to create room, so, there is no drywall behind it, so I can't take it down.  I did paint one room, and the only thing I see when I look at it now is painted (much hated) paneling.  I just do not like the look of the vertical grooves at all, painted or unpainted.

I wanted to fill in the grooves with wood putty or caulk and sand it smooth, and then paint, but my husband says this will not work.  Am I destined to have (much hated) paneling until I move, or will I have to burn the house down to get rid of it?

Posted 2013-09-23T19:09:57+0000  by sallen1231




Neither putty or caulk are the right product. Both are not sandable. You can use the pre-mixed vinyl based spackling compounds, or wood fillers for this purpose. Dry mix , easy sand "hot mud" drywall compound also works well in such sitations. At least two coats would be neccessary to completely fill in the grooves. Once the grooves have been satisfactorily filled and sanded, the paneling may be primed and painted.


Where the panels meet, care should be taken to assure that the edges are firmly nailed down. This groove can actually be taped with fiberglas tape and treated  as if it were a drywall seam.

Posted 2013-09-23T21:01:16+0000  by ordjen
Hi percussion28,

Even though the grooves are only 1/16 inch deep, they are deep enough to create ridges in your paintable wallpaper.

Use an oil-based primer to coat the entire surface, then a wide blade mud trowel to skim vinyl spackle into each groove.

Allow to try 2-hours and quickly sand with 220-grit paper.

A palm sander will help make quick work of your paneling.

Once satisfied that the surface is smooth to the touch, prime again, allow to dry at least 2-hours, and then hang your wallpaper.

This simple addition to your wall prep will make all the difference in appearance of your completed project.

It is not necessary to sand to perfection ... at that point you might recover the wall with paint.

Sand just enough to create a smooth surface.

Use a shop vac to remove the sanding dust before priming the second time.
Posted 2015-11-10T23:57:31+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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