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Walls And Stairs

Minor Paneling Repairs

Wall Makeover!
Think of a wall as a face. Just like a face, a wall may age and wrinkle. But just like plastic surgery is able to reverse some of the signs of aging and damage on a face, a wall cosmetic improvement will help to get your walls their looks back.

A couple of superficial treatments will treat less severe scratches, dents and chips in both wood paneling and wood veneer. The trickiest part is to find putty that actually matches your panels. Wood paneling may be stained a particular color, but colors vary with the type of wood, the age of the paneling and whether or not there has been fading.

Try Out Test Colors on Your Paneling
Veneer, too, varies in color and usually has very distinct wood grain patterns to make it look closer to hardwood. If possible, take a piece of your paneling with you to your home improvement store and try to find the putty closest in shade. If your paneling color is quite different from your putty color choices, try to select one that matches the color of the highlight or the grain, which will be lighter or darker and may blend in better. If possible, try out test colors directly onto your paneling sample. Then you'll be able to see which among them is less obvious, both close up and from a distance of ten feet or so.

Repairing Hairline Scratches
If the scrape or ding is minor, you can fix it relatively easily. For hairline scratches, first you can try oiling the stain with wood floor wax, furniture polish or a stick designed to conceal scratches (cooking oil, shoe polish or Vaseline may also work in a pinch). However, if the blemish is more noticeable and your paneling color comes available in stick form, a putty stick is really easy to use and will work wonders.

But What's a Putty Stick?!
Putty stick, also known as wax-putty, is a simple and easy-to-use device that helps you to fill in the holes and scratches more effectively. With the putty stick, simply draw along the scratch or mark. Once you're satisfied with the filling, wipe away excess with a clean cloth or a slightly dampened sponge. You can also apply putty to the scrape with a putty knife, making sure that you carefully level the area by dragging the flat end of the knife across it. Then wipe it with a clean cloth, while being careful not to dislodge the putty. If the scrape is bigger, you may have to do some sanding.

The method you use depends on your wood paneling - if you're not sure, go to a home hardware store and try to find a paneling match that will correspond to yours. Most home hardware stores have staff who will be able to either direct you to an expert or will be able to give you advice on what method would be the best for you.

What About a Veneer?
Veneer masonry is a well-known choice for home building and remodeling. A veener will give the appearance of a solid brick or stone wall, while providing better economy and insulation for the interior. It can be used as an addition to conventional wood frame structures, and can be placed on concrete block walls. It's a rather simple and effective way to make the room more interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

D.I.Y. anyone?
If you're one of those fortunate do-it-yourself types who has a knack for handy work and derives a great deal of satisfaction from fixing and building things, then we have a list of some instructions that you can take advantage of while working on your wall's cosmetic improvement.

Using fine-grade sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block, lightly sand the area around the scratch. Apply slightly deeper pressure to the scratch itself and use less pressure away from the flaw so as to feather one area into the next. You may not be able to completely get rid of the valley, so be careful not to over-sand. When finished, wipe the area with a clean cloth and apply a matching wood stain with an artist's paint brush, cotton swab or small piece of synthetic sponge (a clean eye shadow applicator also works well). Once the area is dry, seal with spray-on varnish. If the veneer has a wax finish, you should also apply a coat of furniture wax, possibly to the entire wall, to blend the areas.

Solid Wood
First treat the scratch, gouge or other blemish with matching wood putty and allow it to dry. Using fine-grade sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block, gently sand the putty to a smooth and level finish. Stain the area to match, if needed, and seal the repair with the appropriate satin or gloss varnish. If there's a deeper hole, dent or gouge for either type of paneling, first fill in the dent, gouge or hole with matching wood putty, applied and leveled with a putty knife. Once the putty is completely dry, use fine-grade sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block to smooth the area. With an artist's brush, cotton swab or other small applicator, stain the area to match and seal the repair with satin or gloss varnish. If you have veneer with a wax coating, use furniture wax to create a matching sheen.