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I have old walls with plywood and on top of it there are wood battens. I want to put the drywall to make it look nice, since currently to me it looks more of old style. I have taken off one of the wood batten to see what is underneath. I need suggestions on

  1. Can I just screw the drywall on top of wood battens?
  2. How about if I remove batten and then screw in dry wall?
  3. At one of the wall I would have drywall meeting the brick wall. How would I finish it?
  4. I also have some doors in the room, is there a way if I don’t remove the door frame and just have the drywall flush to the door frame? Since they are 0.5 inch out.
  • Personally, I would leave the plywood walls as they are. If you nail into the voids between studs to fasten the drywall, you risk hitting a wire or a pipe. But if you insist you could leave the battens in place and apply the drywall over them, at least if the battens are 24 inches on center or better 16" on center. But it would make a better installation if the battens would be removed. How thick is the plywood? If it is much less than 1/2" thick, then you would have to locate the studs to fasten the drywall to. Apr 8 '19 at 1:17
  • Thanks Jim, I prefer to remove batten. It looks like the plywood is around 3/8 or 1/2 inch thick. And how about flushing the drywall to the existing door frame instead of taking out the door frame and slipping the drywall underneath?
    – Mayur
    Apr 8 '19 at 1:35

It would be best to remove the paneling. The plywood paneling is probably 1/4" thick. You can buy drywall @ 3/8" thick, so not a huge change, just an extra 1/4". In addition to your door jambs, you probably have electrical outlets to account for. Unless they have exceptionally long screws, you'll run into some trouble there.

Removing the paneling isn't really hard work, or even too long a task. As suggested in the comments, it might be helpful to see what is behind that paneling so you know where to be careful. It might be quite insightful. At a time like this, you also have the opportunity to lay in any structured cabling you may want (cat6, cable, etc).

The paneling may be behind your door jamb casing (the part on the same plane as the wall). I've seen it both ways. You'll know pretty quick once you start removing a panel next to a door. The casing is removed by cutting both sides with a razor knife (cuts free paint and caulk), then using a small pry bar or flat head screw driver to move the casing away from the wall. It breaks easily, so careful and listen for cracking sounds. It may be required to shim out the casing when you reattach it. You can cut strips from the paneling to do this.

Just a thought, and it may not apply to you, but if you're hesitant about removing the paneling based on time, the time it takes to remove the paneling is nothing, absolutely nothingm compared to the time to properly do those drywall joints (oh, and the mess!)

As for the seam where the brick is, some shoe molding should work. Based on the picture, it will be fine at the ceiling, but I didn't see a picture of your baseboards. If you're experienced with a coping saw, you should be OK with the baseboards too.

Good luck!

  • Jason, sorry I got little confused when you said “removing paneling”. Do you mean wood battens? Because I prefer to remove them and then slap the drywall on top of plywood paneling. And is far as door frame is concerning I take your suggestion in consideration to slip the drywall under the door frame (casing).
    – Mayur
    Apr 8 '19 at 3:30
  • Unfortunately no, my suggestion is to remove all of the wood ( paneling ), not just the battens. You will see the open walls with the 2X4 studs. If your door trim is 1/2" thick, it won't look right to put even 3/8" drywall up next to it. The trim will only stick out 1/4 inch. Also, consider troubles with electrical outlets. A 4'x8' sheet of drywall is only around $10. Perhaps go buy one and see what you think.
    – Jason
    Apr 9 '19 at 2:53

1) If your battens are about 16" on center, you can definitely screw the drywall right to them. If they aren't, you can add furring strips between them and screw to those too.

2) Since you clarified that you have 1/2" plywood, you can also remove the batten boards and screw to the plywood. Your drywall screws will be 1" - 1 1/4", so excessive screw penetration won't be a problem with normal 1/2" drywall.

Either way, you will need to get some kind of plaster ring extension for your electrical boxes.

3) Butt your drywall up to the bricks and cover the gap with a quarter-round or base shoe trim.

4) When you say "door frame" do you mean the jambs (flat parts where the hinges and strike plate are) or the casing (trim around the door)? You could butt the drywall up to the casing, but it would look weird. Trim over the butt joint would make it look a little less weird. Your best bet would be to remove the casing from the jamb, fur the jamb out 1/2" (or 1" if you leave on the battens), and reinstall new casing over the drywall.


Yes you can drywall over plywood, mark on floor were all studs are and try to screw into studs. Drywall can butt trim and be flat taped in ,and fine bead of caulking. Same up to fireplace. If you do not like the look add molding. You can add box extensions or old work boxes to the electrical to keep them flush. As always be aware of lead paint,may be present. So remove paneling could be nightmare,leave it.

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