How to Hang Wall Paneling

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Wall paneling consists of thin sheets of wood or a composite-wood material that is installed on a wall. It is typically sold in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets, so installing it is a relatively quick process. The major advantages of wall paneling is that it lasts longer than paint and is easily cleaned to remove scuff marks and other imperfections.

Things You'll Need

  • Pry bar
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Chalk
  • Hammer
  • Key hole saw
  • 1-inch long, 3-penny finishing nails
  • Cloth
  • Nail set tool
  • Putty stick
  • Place the paneling in the room where you will install it. Stand each panel up on one end and lean it against the wall. Allow the paneling to remain in the room for at least 24 to 48 hours to allow it to adjust to the temperature and humidity levels.

  • Remove all shoe molding, crown molding and chair rail molding in the room using a pry bar. Stick the pry bar under the end of the molding at a corner and push down on the handle of the pry bar to lift out the nails. Repeat the process until all molding is removed.

  • Turn on a stud finder and place it against the center of one wall. Move the stud finder to the left or right until it beeps or lights up indicating a wooden stud behind the wall. Mark the location of the stud with a pencil. Continue moving the stud finder all the way around each wall marking the location of each stud.

  • Turn off the electricity to the room at the main fuse box for the home. Use a screwdriver to remove all electrical outlet covers and light switch covers in the room.

  • Measure the height of one wall with a tape measure and subtract 1/4 inch. Cut all of the panels to this measurement using a circular saw, cutting on the back of the panel.

  • Trace around each electrical outlet and light switch with a piece of chalk. Press a piece of paneling against the wall and tap it lightly in the general location of the outlet to transfer the chalk to the panel. Remove the panel from the wall and cut out the chalk line with a keyhole saw. Repeat to cut out all remaining holes in the room.

  • Go to one corner of the room nearest the door and place a panel flush with the corner. Insert 1-inch long, 3-penny finishing nails into the paneling using a hammer and spacing each nail at 4- to 6-inch intervals along the top and bottom of the paneling. Wrap a cloth around the end of the hammer to prevent it from damaging the paneling as you insert the nails.

  • Install additional nails vertically along the paneling at the location of each wall stud, spacing the nails at 8 to 12 inches.

  • Insert the tip of a nail set tool on top of each nail and hammer the top of the tool once or twice to sink the nail head into the wood. Fill in the indented area above the nail head with a putty stick that matches the color of the paneling.

  • Continue installing additional panels in the same manner until the entire room is covered.

  • Reattach the crown molding or shoe molding if desired by hammering in 3-penny finishing nails with a hammer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the wall is made of concrete, you must install thin wood strips, called furring strips, before hanging the paneling. Attach long furring strips along the top and bottom of each wall using 1-inch nails. Turn additional furring strips vertically and install them along each wall stud location.
  • To cut paneling for windows and doorways, place a tape measure at the edge of the last installed piece of paneling and measure to the edge of the door or window. Then, measure upward from the floor to the top of the door or window. Transfer the measurements to the back of a penal and cut it with a circular saw.

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