I hate wood paneling on walls, but this home I am eyeing, and think about getting has it. Now I live here in Houston, TX and the home is a 1977 home, yet I do not like wood paneling on walls. I want to remove the wood paneling however is there anything I need to look for or consider before making an offer on this home in regards to wood paneling on walls.
Is there drywall behind the paneling or will you have to add it? What is the thickness of the wood in relation to the drywall you will install (I am assuming that is what you plan on doing)? Will you have to adjust the trim or door frames?
I suggest you read up on what it entails to remove it.
Ideally there is drywall behind it, but I would bet there isn't. If there is you'll likely need to do repairs on it or do another coat on the seams and sand.
If there isn't drywall the easiest fix is to paint it. You need to lightly sand it, prime and paint it. You COULD fill in the grooves with drywall compound but if there isn't drywall behind the panelling I'd fear that the compound would pop out if the paneling gets flexed at all by someone bumping into it or leans against the wall.
Another alternative is to cover it with wallpaper underliner. This is a heavy, paintable paper that you can apply to paneling or cinderblock walls to allow you to wallpaper them without drywalling it.
If you decide to drywall the house and the panelling is thin plywood based paneling you will need to redo the trim and very likely need to add a piece of trim to fill the gap between door jambs and window jambs and the casing since drywall is 1/2 or 5/8 inch thick and paneling is only about 1/4" to 3/16" thick.
Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.
My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Before we put an older home up for sale--relative died and had a rec room with paneling, we paid someone to fill in the grooves, paint, etc. It would have been far cheaper to have torn it out and had someone install wallboard and it would have withstood any bumps etc. We installed carpeting and trim, there were problems with anyone who bumped the walls, etc.
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