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Ideas for Replacing or Updating Wood Paneling

Ideas for Replacing or Updating Wood Paneling

Covering walls from floor to ceiling with wood paneling has been a decorating choice for centuries. Unfortunately, some styles of wall paneling—particularly those popular during the 1960s, ’70s, and ‘80s—gave rooms a dated, dark, cave-like feel.

When planning a remodel for these antiquated rooms, instead of shunning paneling altogether, homeowners should give modern paneling options a second look. Today’s paneling options can transform any room into a fresh, classic, or contemporary space.

There are several ways to renovate a room covered with old floor-to-ceiling paneling. The easiest option, of course, is to paint over the old paneling. However, if budgets allow, removing and replacing wood paneling with a modern paneling treatment accentuated by lovely moulding options may give the most stunning and timeless results.

Replacing Wood Paneling

Before ripping out old paneling, homeowners should first decide what style they want the room to have. Do you want your room to be modern, classic, rustic, or something in between? Do you want to make a small room look bigger or make a large room cozier?

You should also identify what type of wall paneling is currently installed and how it was attached.

Wall paneling from past decades typically came in three varieties: shipboard, tongue-and-groove, or barn siding. Tongue-and-groove paneling is the easiest to remove, as it comes off in pieces. Shipboard and barn siding may be more challenging to remove if they were glued on rather than nailed to the underlying wall surface.

Paneling that was nailed can be removed by using a pry bar to pull it from the wall. Removing paneling that was glued on, however, requires the use of a heat gun and will likely cause damage to any underlying drywall or plaster.

Keep in mind that it was common in the past for contractors to nail paneling directly to bare wall studs. When such paneling is removed, those bare studs will need to be covered with drywall before any new wall treatment, including new paneling, can be applied. The good news in this situation is that homeowners get a chance to add insulation to the walls before installing drywall.

Modern Options

Historically, paneling not only served as decoration but also provided insulation and protected walls from furniture damage. Paneling still serves these same purposes but is seen much more as a decorative element.

Modern paneling comes in a range of panel widths, groove shapes, textures, and composition. Paneling can be solid wood, wood composite, or even plastic. Also, paneling can be installed horizontally and on ceilings to add dimension and grandeur.

Perhaps the most enduringly popular option for updating plain paneling is wainscoting. Wainscoting is the installation of paneling that covers the bottom part of a wall and is topped with a wainscot cap. Wainscoting has remained so popular because it not only protects walls but also protects the homeowner’s options to change the room’s color and style.

Why Wainscoting?

Wainscoting looks great everywhere, from bathrooms and kitchens to bedrooms and living rooms. It even looks great in foyers and hallways. When considering wainscoting height, walls should be viewed in thirds with wainscoting staying in the lower third.

For rooms with standard eight-foot ceilings, wainscoting should be no higher than 32 inches. Rooms with higher ceilings can have wainscoting reach farther up the wall but no more than 48 inches. Essentially, the lower the wainscoting, the larger the room will appear.

Wainscoting adds definition and timeless style to any room. A plain, flat wall that is painted the same color from floor to ceiling—even a bright color—is still less interesting and inviting than a wall of the same color with a contrasting skirt of wainscoting.

Ready to Replace that Paneling? The Moulding Company can Help!

When you want to get rid of old, dark paneling on walls and transform your California home’s rooms to something that reflects your personal style, it’s time to give us a call at here The Moulding Company, or check out our free catalog now!