I have a basement that's pretty big and has wood paneling all around. My wife and I hate the paneling since it's dark and has grooves spaced throughout it as part of the texture. So naturally we're thinking about removing it and replacing it with a different material like drywall. The problem comes in that we've had cracks in the basement walls (we have a raised basement and the floor is ~4 ft below the ground) with some seepage. We've had those cracks repaired and everything is fine now. One nice thing about the wood paneling is that the panels are really easy to remove and hang back up which makes crack repair hassle free. Drywall that's been hung nicely will not share this quality.

Are there any other materials that someone can suggest for a wall? Something nice that I can paint white and remove easily if a new crack develops? I had someone suggest cement board but I wanted to get some other suggestions.

  • 2
    If cracks keep developing, you have bigger structural issues you need to deal with before finishing the basement.
    – DA01
    Sep 17, 2013 at 20:50
  • I know about the issue w/ cracks that keep coming. We've only lived in the house for a year so time will only tell for us. The house is 30 years old and we can identify 4 cracks on the north wall.
    – mj_
    Sep 18, 2013 at 3:15

3 Answers 3


If it was me I would just paint the paneling it doesn't look that bad with at least 3 coats of paint. You can even fill in the grooves with wood filler or spackle.

There is several basement systems that use panels but to have it installed is very expensive and I have not been able to find the panels to buy.

  • I've done this, be sure to use a primer rated for adhesion, B.I.N (white pigmented shellac) comes to mind. While I'm promoting, MH Ready Patch is excellent, low shrinkage and rated for both indoor and outdoor use (basements being somewhat in the middle, humidity-wise).
    – HerrBag
    Sep 18, 2013 at 11:55

Another option for removable panels is the Owens Corning basement system. The panels are insulated (R10) and vapor permeable. enter image description here

Unfortunately, this is not currently a DIY option, OC requires certified installers. (usual disclaimer.. not affiliated, related or financially remunerated)

  • 1
    "certified installer" - see "guy who read the directions" ;) epic business model fail. Sep 18, 2013 at 3:05
  • I think by offering a (Limited) Lifetime warranty, OC wants to have assurance the basement conditions are proper and the install is done properly. A longtime customer (of mine) decided to use them and were (and are) very happy with the outcome.
    – HerrBag
    Sep 18, 2013 at 11:46

Painted beadboard. It is inexpensive and has a classic look. Comes in mdf or similar versions that are very stable, and fairly resistant to moisture. It even comes preprimed.

You can add a chair rail to make it look even more traditional!

  • Is beadboard easily removable? Jul 10, 2017 at 15:40
  • 1
    It depends how you install it. If on furring strips, it is easily nailed and easily removed. If glued, its removal is a bit more difficult, but far from very hard. It may leave a glue residue however.
    – bib
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:18

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