How to Prepare a Wall for Painting After Removing Wood Paneling

How to Prepare a Wall for Painting

Forty years ago every house had some paneling. Some more than others. Paneling can bring the look of natural wood and the great outdoors into a home. But unless your home is a cabin in the woods, chances are that’s not what you’re going for. Just like many home trends, paneling has fallen out of favor. And you’re ready to replace it.

Removing it is the easy part. What to do next is where many get stuck. We’re here to help with how to prepare your wall in the four most common wall condition scenarios.

How to Prepare a Wall for Painting After a Clean Removal

If you were lucky, when you removed the wood paneling, you found that you have drywall back there. And they nailed the paneling to it rather than gluing it, so you could quickly get it off.

If the drywall is in good shape, you’re ready to:

  • Purchase supplies (primer, paint, brushes, rollers, plastic, paint pans, putty knife, spackling paste for nail holes, safety goggles).
  • Lay down plastic to protect your floors.
  • Remove baseboards or use painter’s take to protect them if you don’t want to paint them.
  • Sand the surface.
  • Apply spackle to fill nail holes or other damage and allow it to dry. Apply a second coat if needed.
  • Sand the spackled area again to smooth it.
  • Prime your wall.
  • And you’re ready to paint.

Note If you find dark paint like black, hunter green or cranberry, you’ll need a special primer to prime over it.

How to Prepare a Wall for Painting After Glued Panel Removal

If the panels were glued, you have a little more to do here. The paper face of the drywall may have come off, sometimes in chunks.

You might be able to salvage it. But you’ll probably be much happier if you just skin it. That means you’ll hang a very thin (1/4″) drywall over the existing drywall.

  • Purchase or gather 1/4″ drywall, screws, safety glasses, drywall knife, drill, drywall tape, drywall taping knife, setting-type joint compound, hammer as well as the items listed above.
  • Remove baseboards, outlet covers, door frames, etc..
  • Measure and cut drywall if needed.
  • Screw the drywall to the studs. Screws should be flush but not sunken. Drag a putty knife over the screws to feel if any are protruding.
  • Use your drywall knife to cut around outlets, etc.
  • Apply drywall tape over the seams.
  • Apply compound, smooth and sand.
  • Apply painter’s tape.
  • Prime the wall for painting.
  • How to Prepare a Wall for Painting When the Wall is in Rough Shape

If you find nasty wallpaper or hard-to-peel paint back there, your best bet is to skin the wall just like we did for glued panels. Follow the instructions above.

How to Prepare a Wall if the Paneling was Nailed Directly into the Studs

In rare instances, you may have started pulling paneling and there’s no drywall back there. In this case, you have a larger drywall project and may want to defer to professionals.

For more home projects you can DIY to improve the look and feel of your home, follow our blog.

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