I have old wood paneling that was painted with semi-gloss paint not too long ago.

We want to fill the grooves and make it look like drywall and smooth. I found this article.

It seems simple based on what they said: just basically fill with drywall compound. However, I have some doubts on cracking as someone mentioned in the Comment section.

My questions:

  1. If I nail the panel carefully everywhere to prevent movement, would drywall compound crack?

  2. If I use the best non-crack compound, would it work?

I try to avoid using the caulking method as it's a large basement and there are many grooves to fill, plus it will stick out and then I have to use extra mud to fill them. I was thinking about tapes but it's kinda the same thing.

Any thought?

  • Is your paneling laid over another type of panel, or just the framing?
    – isherwood
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 1:59
  • 2
    That would be a lot of work filling and sanding and the sanding would need to be done well to not see lines. May be less work to take it down and do new Sheetrock.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 2:02
  • 1
    Or just add sheetrock on top? Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 2:06
  • is it plywood (etc,) sheeting with grooves or individual boards with grooves?
    – Jasen
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 2:11
  • 2
    If the paneling is rigid and in good condition there are paintable wall papers on the market that do well
    – Kris
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 3:58

2 Answers 2


You can fill the grooves with drywall mud. Use what is referred to as "hot mud" as it tends to crack less since it has a higher bonding strength. It is more difficult to sand and work with if not experienced and is generally not used for the final coat. You can though mud these grooves without the need to sand. Just practice a bit with a fairly wide taping knife (6") and you'll find that you can fill the grooves quickly with minimal overage on the panel. I try to minimize any type of sanding. A damp sponge works well on dry mud if you don't need to taper the edges which you wouldn't in this case.

There is a similar question with alternatives you can look at as well.


I tend to agree that if the paneling is simply installed over the existing framing that you would be better overall to remove the old paneling and install new drywall. The job to tape and mud the drywall is likely to be on a par with the job of trying to fill and sand the grooves in the old paneling.

  • The panels are over some other panel/plywood/drywall. I am hesitate to pull it because it could be a lot of work to even fix the framing and issues with electrical/trim/baseboards...
    – HP.
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 5:28

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