How to Remove Bathroom Wall Paneling

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Things You'll Need

  • Drop Cloth

  • Protective Eyewear

  • Leather Work Gloves

  • Dust Mask

  • Chisel

  • Hammer

  • Crow bar (or Similar Tool for Prying)

  • Putty Knife or Similar Scraper

  • Adhesive/Mastic Remover

  • Water

  • Sponge or Towel

Removing bathroom wall paneling can be easy or difficult. Much depends on the kind of adhesive used on the paneling and how well the paneling is still attached to the wall--if you are lucky, it will be a little loose already. The tools you'll need are readily available, but this project may get a little messy and may take several hours, especially if your bathroom is large or if the paneling is stuck very securely.


Step 1

Place a drop cloth on the floor to catch debris. Put on safety glasses, leather work gloves and a dust mask.

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Step 2

Start with the molding (if your paneling has this). These are the strips of plastic or wood at the edges and corners of the paneling. Press your chisel along the edge of the molding--hit your chisel once with a mallet or hammer to try to loosen the molding.

Step 3

Grasp the loosened edge of molding and pull--sometimes it will come off this way. If not, chisel it away from the paneling and wall until all of the molding is removed.

Step 4

Place your chisel at the edge of a panel, where it meets the wall. Tap the chisel with the hammer or mallet until the chisel blade slides under the paneling. Now move the chisel around to loosen a paneling edge.


Step 5

Push the end of a crow bar beneath the loosened edge. Use leverage to further pull up the paneling--be careful not to gouge the wall surface underneath.

Step 6

Grasp the loosened paneling and pull toward you, gently. If it comes loose, keep pulling gently so the wall material behind it isn't pulled, too. If the wall paneling is stubborn, use the chisel to loosen the adhesion between the paneling and the wall bit by bit. When the paneling is off, you'll be left with adhesive you'll likely wish to remove.


Step 7

Ventilate the room (open windows and doors) if at all possible. If not, use the lowest-fume product you can find or use a painter's respirator. Use a paint brush or roller to thickly spread a citrus-based or soy-based adhesive remover over the adhesive on the wall. Wait the allotted time for the product to soften the adhesive; it can take a few minutes to a few hours. Remove the adhesive with a scraper, taking care not to gouge the wall surface. Then rinse the wall with clean water using a damp sponge or towel.


Pieces of the paneling may break off suddenly while you are pulling on it--be careful not to fall.


There are many adhesive removal products available--some are more dangerous to use than others. For safety reasons, try to use a product that is low-fume, environmentally friendly remover--most home improvement stores sell these alongside the harsher chemical removers.

Check the adhesive remover label for flammability. Try to choose one that is not flammable because you will be working indoors. Otherwise, make sure to turn off all pilot lights nearby--and don’t smoke--to prevent ignition.


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