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Household Dilemma of the Month: June
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Can you help us to solve this fellow viewers household dilemma?

If you have suggestions, please reply below. We'll pick a select number of replies to post and one of them may be yours!

This month's dilemma:

I am considering covering the wood paneling in my home with wallpaper. Has any one done this? Does it look all right? Will the seams in the wood show through? Should I use a liner on the walls before actually putting up paper?

Asked by Laura, MI.


The first thing you should do is prime the wall. Wash the oils out of the paneling. Then sand the area. Fill in the paneling seams with wood putty or spackling compound. Fill in the tiny nail holes as well. Then lightly sand again and then wipe the area's down with a dry cloth to rid the grit. Do not touch the wall with your hands because we have oil in our skin, but do wear plastic/latex gloves provided your not allergic and touch wall look for uneven surfaces. Then paint the wall with KILZ first, this will cover all the little imperfections on your paneled walls- even oily spots.When this task is done, You will be ready to paint. Have fun and don't be afraid of color! I do this for a living and I hope my suggestion helps you. - Marcie Pike, Pike's Interior Home Painting.

Laura, dont stress! You have two options that will acheive the look you desire. First you can purchase a wallpaper liner and put over the paneling this will help cover the seams then you can hang the wallpaper. the bad thing about this is alot of work. Make sure you use a good wallpaper paste so it will hold better. the second way is easier and looks great paint your wall with kilz primer then paint a deeper color and faux finish with 2 color tones you like. They have free faux finish clinics at Lowes,Home Depot and Sherwin Williams. Good luck! - Tiffany Sowards, SC

I had that problem and could not remove the paneling because the previous homeowner had used excessive glue and we could not fix that. I had the walls dry walled and textured then painted.  They look great and it was much easier that wall paper.  Just find yourself a good drywaller and he'll know just what to do. - Jimmy, TX

I wallpapered over paneling without any problems at all.  I did not sand or fill in the gaps first, although that would have been the proper way to prepare.  I chose a wallpaper with a random floral design, which disguised any grooves that you may have otherwise seen.  I have also painted paneling, which was a nightmare compared to the wallpapering. It required 3 heavy coats of primer to cover the dark wood.  Good luck!! - Krystie, WA

My sisters and I wallpapered a bedroom in our parents home. We wallpapered over the paneling that was not sealed, and it just worked fine.  It seemed to "pop out" of the grooves when it dried and it looked fine.  We did not see any grooves.  It is still there after many, many years. - J, MS

I wallpapered over previously painted paneling by first applying a wallpaper liner which can be purchased at home improvement stores. The instructions said to apply it horizontally and then apply the wallpaper over it (vertically) after the liner had dried completly. I followed these directions exactly, but several weeks after I completed my project, I noticed that everywhere there was a groove in the paneling the papers created a bump from the top of the groove to the bottom of the groove.  I called the manufacture representative for the wallpaper company and he was not able to give me a reason as to why this had happened.  I ended up removing the paneling. - Bev Benedict

My friend had this done at her house. A professional did the work, but from what I observed, anyone with patience could do the same. Each grove of the paneling was puttied in and sanded. Then the wallpaper was applied over the whole wall. It looked perfect. - Sally Jones, TX

In our home, we moved in with paneling everywhere. We were sort of stuck with the dilemma and here is what we did: There is a type of wall paper that is very thick and is designed so that you can paint over it. It comes with brush stroke patterns, prints (not colored) and flat (like a regular wall). Its easy to put up and looks great when you are done. We did not need to do anything about the cracks with THIS type of wall paper. Another solution is to paint the paneling. We did this in one room and it looks beautiful! White does not emphasize the grooves. We even put a border up on top of it and it really improved the room. Hope this helps! - William, IN

I agree with William from Indiana.  He is referring to what's known as Paintable Wallpaper, which is the greatest thing since sliced bread!  Your paneling needs to be clean. Then, I found it necessary to apply a type of milky undercoat I purchased at Home Depot.  If using a thinner wallpaper, you should first apply what is called LINER paper. This also yields excellent results! If you're doing this in a mobile home, remove the strips that cover the seams in the paneling; do not paper over  those.  Also REMOVE all the staples that hold up the seam covers, don't just pound them into the walls; your results will be less favorable.  Good luck on your project......you won't be sorry! - Ron, Washington

You have to cover the paneling with white wallpaper undercoat and then put your patterned wallpaper over the white paper, I don't remember what this white background paper is called, but it is less than most patterned wallpaper and easier to put up because there is no pattern to match. You should sand the paneling first, this will help the paper stick better. If this sounds like to much work, I also painted some paneling in my house, and it looks so much better than the dark wood, I used a gold color and also a sage, both look great, way better than whites or cream color. If you go with paint you have to use a paint primer 1st. Hope this helps, good luck. - Jessica, TX

I have a friend who purchased a house that had wallpaper over the wood paneling and you could see the seams of the paneling. I would suggest trying to paint rather than wallpapering. - Eileen Marchese

I have had great success with both the "putty the grooves" technique and applying a "base coat" of vinyl paper made especially for covering the grooves before I wallpaper with the good stuff.  I prefer the second method as it also provides a nice protective layer between the paneling and the good wallpaper, just in case the stain from the paneling bleed's through.  (It happens.  Test your paneling first.) 

Regardless of which method you choose, be prepared to give both the putty and/or vinyl base at least 24 hours to dry, as they will both shrink in the process and you want to be sure the grooves are well covered before you apply the good stuff.  - Elle, IL

Just use the white "liner" paper over your paneling; it's normally installed horizontally and then you install your wallpaper vertically over the liner paper.  Either that, or you could fill in all the grooves with putty but that would be pretty time consuming. 

If you'd rather paint the paneling, you could simply apply a "deglosser" found in all home improvement or paint stores 1st, then paint right over it. - Reba, OH


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