My 40 year old house has a LOT of old paneling in it. I hate it, my spouse hates it and we both want it gone. However I don't want to go through the time and expense of replacing all of it with drywall since I'd be replacing approximately 200 linear feet of paneling with drywall. I have a friend that is telling me that he placed heavy paintable wallpaper over his paneling and it worked really well. However he only did it 2 or 3 months ago, so neither of us know the long-term effectiveness of this process. I don't want to go through this and then have it falling off the wall in a year.

The paneling I have is the smooth surface with the minimal depth grooving (approximately 1/8" deep grooving) I know I'll need to mud the grooving to smooth it out. But do I need to sand the paneling prior to placing the wallpaper or just make sure that all oils are removed from the paneling prior to placement?

  • That's a good question for the back of the adhesive bottle.
    – isherwood
    Jul 14, 2017 at 16:18
  • It's pre-pasted wallpaper that you soak. They don't answer this and they definitely do not address how well, or how long it will last in specific circumstances...because of course they are trying to sell a product and they don't want to answer what's asked, they just want the product to be purchased. I have checked their website and I've sent emails to them without an answer for months. I thought someone here may have experience with using it and if their experience was a positive or negative one. Jul 14, 2017 at 16:32
  • What's behind the paneling? It could be they mounted the paneling over drywall or plaster to start with. Then you'd get to have the cathartic experience of ripping that crap off the walls. Jul 14, 2017 at 16:58
  • 2
    Why even hang the paper? I have painted paneling many times, with nice results. I don't mind the look of the grooves so I just left them. If you don't like the grooves then mud and sand them like you described, then just prime and paint. Jul 14, 2017 at 17:11
  • There are more problems with that in my situation. The less dust and sanding that is done, the better off for my family. My son is asthmatic and I'd rather not have a bunch of mud dust blowing all about. Jul 14, 2017 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


I have successfully done this with rental units. I may have gone overboard but this is what I did. Skimmed the grooves with DuraBond, scuffed the panels with a polesander while feathering the edges of the joint compound. Applied a coat of primer on the panels and joint compound. Read the directions for the wallpaper paste and if they recommend the use of "sizing" (basically a primer for the paste to improve adhesion) use it. Hang the wallpaper, when dry apply primer to the paper (two coats on the seams) the apply the color coat.

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