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Ugly Paneled Walls

3 rooms in my house have the ugliest paneling on them. The 2 main bedrooms, and the kitchen. Dark brown, and it is just awful. I tried to paint the paneling in my bedroom and it turned out a disaster. You can see the paneling through 5 coats of paint that is supposed to cover with the first coat. I forget the name of it. Anyways, The kitchen is the most depressing room in the house, due to the paneling and cabinet placement. Previous owners covered up the only windows with dark brown cabinets, which looks awful with the dark brown paneling. I am on a fixed income, and can't afford to hire a professional to tell me what I should do, and then hire him/her, or someone else to do it. It's just me trying to do the work. I don't know if I should rip the paneling out, risking that what lies behind it may be even worse. I don't know what other options I have. Wallpapering 4 walls would make my 5 x 9 kitchen look like a carnival ride. Painting is out. What do I do???

Re: Ugly Paneled Walls


My wife and I covered our ugly paneling in grasscloth wallpaper. It is a little expensive, however, the natural fibers of grasscloth and a lighter color make the space feel even bigger. We got our grasscloth from Sherwin Williams who offers many choices.
Hope this helps.


Re: Ugly Paneled Walls

We have the same situation as you, and have made some positive changes to our walls. Two of the most visible walls with paneling were going to be too costly to repair until we re-do the stairway. What worked well was to fill in the lines and seams with wallboard compound, then sanded smooth. The walls were then sized and wallpapered with a subtle white textured wallpaper. We later re-painted them, and surprisingly, they look like the walls were originally textured.

On one of the fireplace walls, I removed the paneling. I used a wide putty knife to remove the old glue, then covered used a large sheet rock mud knife and wallboard compound to fill in the old texture and glue marks. It took three coats to fully smooth out the walls, but it gave a nice smooth finish. Because the surrounding walls are textured, I ended up buying the Wagner texture gun and ended up shooting the walls. Surprisingly, they came out good. If you have a compressor, you can rent an air texture gun, or pick one up cheap at Harbor Freight, or other tool store. Unless the wall space is small, I'd avoid using the can texture products. They work great, but at $13 per can, it can get expensive.

Wagner has very good on-line videos to show how to use the gun and how to texture. I practiced on scraps of sheetrock and cardboard. The key was following the mixture directions, and most of all, waiting the recommended time of 15 minutes to knock it down. When I made mistakes, I just wiped it off and started again. It is a messy job, and the gun can be a bit cumbersome to use (it gets heavy with the texture compound loaded).

One tool that I wish I had when I did the job (and now have it), is a vibrating cutting tool, similar to the Fein MultiMaster. A year ago, I purchased a knock-off version for $39 at Harbor Freight. Since my wife and I have built a 1000 st ft addition to our home, I've needed to do most of the finish work. I purchased the new Rockwell Soniccrafter Oscillating tool at COSTCO (by far, a superior tool and @ $129 and all the attachments it comes with, it was a great bargain), and have used it to remove glue, grout, etc. In my opinion, if I could only have one power tool, it would be any of the quality oscillating tools. They make any job quick and easy.

One other suggestion for covering the paneling, is to cover it with 1/4" sheetrock. It does take more work, is more expensive than mudding, priming and painting, but if you can do the taping and wall preparation, your walls will look great, and you won't have to figure out how to get rid of the waste paneling.

This may not work for everyone, but it worked for my wife and I, and was pretty inexpensive. Good luck with your project, and keep following other posts. One last note, check YouTube for videos. I bet you can find lots of informative videos.

Re: Ugly Paneled Walls

Thankyou both of you. I really appreciate them.:D

The first reply about grasscloth, I will check into that for the 2nd BR. Thankyou Andy!

Bobrian - Filling in the seams would be do-able in the other two rooms. After sanding and smoothing, wallpapering and painting, it might not look too bad. The other suggestion regarding the area around your fireplace would be impossible for me. I have carpal tunnel,am not just poor, but live in poverty, and can't afford power tools. I wish I could. Thankyou so much for your suggestions.

It'll take me a while to get this all completed, but what can I do? Looks awful. Plan to sell in 2 years, or when(if) the market picks up and move back to FL or MI, where I know people who can help me with stuff like this at a reasonable price...free or next to it.;)

Thanks again!!!

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