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Walls And Stairs

Solid Wood Paneling

Wood paneling is almost always tongue-and-groove style, which keeps it smoothly interlocked against the next panel. One of the biggest challenges will be removing the old panel, a job that is best done with a hand-held circular saw (remember to wear protective goggles and ear plugs for this job). Refer to our paneling tool guide to ensure you have all of the equipment necessary to complete this job.

1. Remove the baseboard (see instruction 1 under Replacing Wood Veneer Paneling). Put in your earplugs and don your goggles. Adjust your circular saw to just pass through your paneling (but not deeper, or you'll carve into the wallboard behind it). Saw down the middle of the damaged board, getting as close to the top and bottom as possible. Finish the cut with a hammer and chisel.

2. Insert your wide pry bar (or broad chisel) into the cut and drive out one side of the damaged panel, then the other. Pry out any nails that may remain.

3. Measure the panel you removed against the length of your replacement panel. Cut, if necessary, with a crosscut saw. Remember that you don't need to be exact, because the baseboard will cover the bottom edge of the new panel (but get as close as possible).

4. Here's the hard part: removing the new panel's groove (just when the new panel was beginning to enjoy itself!). Sandwich the new panel groove-side up between two wood blocks inside a counter-mounted vise grip.
Hold your wood chisel so that the bevel side faces the groove and carefully tap a mallet or ball pen hammer to shave the groove off the panel.
Tip: You may want to practice this procedure on a piece of panel you don't intend to use, just to get the hang of it.

5. Slide the tongue into the groove of the adjacent board and fit into place. Place a thick cloth (a folded hand-towel works well) under a wood block and use that to prevent divots as you carefully tap the panel into place. Nail three or four finishing nails along the top edge, and one or two along the base to secure the panel. Countersink the nail heads with a nail sink and putty the heads along the top edge. Replace the baseboard.

Hammer Have a question about your paneling? Visit our Walls forum to get the answers you need.