Can You Put Drywall Over Paneling?

Paneling was once a popular wallcovering in many homes. Today, as these older homes are remodeled, the paneling is removed or covered. Removing paneling can be a time-consuming and costly so many homeowners opt to drywall over the paneling. Installing drywall over paneling is a workable solution if it is done properly.

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Drywall can be installed over wood paneling that is in good condition.

Problems

In most cases, the drywall can be installed directly over the top of the paneling. Screws are used to connect the drywall through the paneling and into the wall studs. However, in many cases the thickness of the paneling and drywall does not match well with the window and door framing and moldings. You will need to address these differences prior to drywalling over the paneling.

Hanging

Find the studs in the wall using an electric stud finder to locate the studs and mark them on the wall with a pencil or marker. Remove the existing moldings from around the windows and doors with a pry bar. Starting at the bottom of the wall, install sheets of drywall over the paneling and screw it into place with screws along the studs. Once all of the drywall is in place add wood pieces to the window and door jambs. Screw or nail these pieces of wood in place. The lumber should stick out 1/32 inch past the drywall. Reinstall the molding around the doors and windows.

Finishing

Finishing entails connecting the seams between the pieces of installed drywall. Spread a thin layer of drywall mud over the seams with a putty knife. Set mudding tape into the mud and then cover the tape with another layer of drywall mud. Let the mud dry overnight and then sand it down. Repeat as necessary until the wall is smooth. Paint the finished walls with primer and then paint in your desired color.

Options

Instead of spending hours of time and a lot of cash, consider painting the paneling. Before painting, scrub the paneling to remove dirt and dust. Use a quality primer and then paint the paneling. Painted paneling can brighten the look of any room. You can get rid of the ridges in the paneling by spreading drywall mud in them. Use a trowel to smooth the mud into the ridges and let it dry. Lightly sand and then prime and paint.