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Walls And Stairs

Wood Veneer Paneling

Wood veneer paneling usually comes in 4 x 8" sheets, which have a composite or inexpensive wood base (often pine) covered by a thin pane of aesthetically pleasing wood that has been treated for durability.

Although some paneling may be made of vinyl, our repair guide is for wood veneer paneling only. If you have vinyl, you may want to ask the manufacturer for guidance on replacing panels.

Consult our paneling tool guide to ensure you have all items necessary to begin your work. Before you do anything, measure your replacement panel and compare it to the measurements of the damaged panel. If necessary, use a crosscut saw to trim the new panel to size.

1. Wear goggles for this project. To remove the baseboard, use a pry bar to carefully pull the baseboard away from the paneling and insert wooden wedges between them. Use the pry bar to pull the baseboard off completely and pull out any baseboard nails with a nail puller.
2. Select a section of your damaged panel that is just inside the nearest seam, but not on the stud (you need to be able to break though the panel). Use a hammer to drive your chisel directly into the panel, forming a split that is about a foot long.
3. Push your pry bar into the split and pull the damaged panel away from the stud. You may need to work your pry bar a bit to wrench the nails and/or adhesive free, so go slowly so you don't mar the good adjacent panel(s) in the process. Remove any nails that may remain in the walls. If there is old adhesive, scrap it off with a paint scraper so the surface is level.
4. Bead a line of carpenter's adhesive along the stud(s) that will hold your new panel.
5. Place the new panel in the space and secure the TOP EDGE ONLY with three or four finishing nails. Insert a small wood block between the bottom edge of the new panel and the wall, so that the glue has a chance to get sticky for a minute or two.
6. Once the adhesive seems tacky, remove the block and press the panel against the stud(s). Place a thick cloth (a folded hand-towel works well) under your wood block to prevent divots as you carefully tap the panel where it sits over the stud. If the panel seems secure, you can remove the finishing nails up top. If not, leave them, countersink the heads and cover with matching putty.
7. Replace the baseboard.
8. Flop into an easy chair and watch This Old House as you beam with pride.