DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

uneven wood paneling

9333 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  joefromcal
Hello. I have some old dark brown wood paneling on all the walls of my family room. There is no drywall underneath it. I want to brighten up the room so I figure my options are to tear out the paneling and put in drywall or paint the paneling. I'd rather not drywall it since that seems to me to be a much more expensive option. Here's the problem. In two parts of the room where adjacent wood sheets come together the paneling is uneven. The two panels meet perfectly but they're wavy (when viewed from the side) so that in places one panel is about an eight of an inch higher than the other or lower than the other. If I go with an off-white color then I feel this imperfection will be glaring. There are holes in the paneling near the meeting point where a former owner of the home tried to nail the paneling down but it's pulled out from the nails. I've pushed down on the wood with my finger and it goes down but the paneling is thick and stubborn. I thought about removing the paneling by this meeting place and nailing a piece of wood next to the stud so I'd have a good place to nail the board down with some small-headed nails but wasn't sure if that would be worth all the effort. I also thought about just nailing it down as best as I could and then putting on a light colored, heavy-textured, material type wall paper over it.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you. Joe
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
When the panel was nailed down before, what were they nailing into? Is there a stud back there?

Could you use small, flat-headed screws and then fill and paint over them?

I have paneling like this in part of my house, and we painted over it with a nice off-white enamel, and it looks nice. Roll it and then follow over it with a brush.
Hello LookoutRanch,
From what I can tell, they nailed the panels onto the studs underneath. However, your question got me thinking so I measure the panels and they're 48 inches wide and 16 goes into 48 three times so that would seem to confirm that the edges are in fact nailed to the studs. I like the idea of using a flat head screw this way it won't pull out and also the flat head won't allow the panel to pull back. Thank you for the response.
put nails in at an angle facing inward toward the seam, you may be right on the edge of the stud and you may be missing it.
Hello Kohnstruction,
Thanks for the good advice. Actually, I took a good look at it earlier today and stuck a screw into all the old empty nail holes by the edges of the wood paneling and I also drilled into the edges and i found out that there was no wood beneath these holes and that's why the nails they put in before never held. I then realized that even though the paneling was 48 inches wide they must not have aligned the panels with the studs. What I then saw by carefully looking where the wood panels came together, is that when they built the house they put in some kind of horizontal wooden strips that they must've nailed to the studs. I just kept drilling very small test holes until I located most of the strip locations. I then used flat head type screws and was able to fasten down the panels to these strips and dramatically improve the edge-to-edge finish. I'll just fill up the small test holes with some wood epoxy and then I'll be ready to do my sanding, primering, and painting. Thanks again for the anwers and suggestions.
See less See more

I did this same project in my old house and it came out great. One note of caution is regarding the primer you use on the paneling. I had a couple of sheets of the paneling from a wall we removed to ,ale the room bigger so I was able to test paint a few different colors. It became immediately apparent something was bleeding through the primer in some spots. I used B.I.N., a alcohol based shellac primer and it did the job. I can only assume that a prior owner used a oil based cleaner like liquid gold or spray furniture wax.

Thanks for the heads up on that.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.