How to Insulate Interior Wood Paneling

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Wood paneling is an easy-to-hang, reasonably priced wall finishing material. It is ideal for add-on rooms and basements where hanging drywall may be too much work or not cost-effective. Insulation is available as traditional rolled insulation or sturdy foam sheets. How the paneling is connected to the wall makes a difference in the type of insulation that is best suited to go behind it.

Things You'll Need

  • Pry bar
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Rolled, paper-backed fiberglass insulation
  • Foam insulation board
  • Staple gun
  • Staples and brads
  • Wood paneling
  • Wood flashing
  • Hammer
  • Twisted, one-inch framing nails

Remove the wood paneling by starting in one corner and pulling off the corner molding used to cover the seam. This is normally tacked on with brads into the paneling. Take out the baseboard trim. Use a small pry bar or long handle screwdriver to slip inside the paneling seam, and gently begin popping the nails free that hold the paneling in place. Continue until all the paneling is removed.

Examine the wood the paneling was nailed to. It will likely be either 2x4 lumber or thin wood furring strips. Replace or repair any portion of this wood that needs work. Furring strips are easily pulled out and replaced with new, while most 2x4 lumber will hold up for decades without issues.

Install insulation to fit the desired energy saving value and the space available. For 2x4 studs, the best choice will be rolled, paper-backed fiberglass. This is placed between the studs with the paper side out and the edges stapled to the studs to hold the insulationin place. With furring strip wood, there is usually only room for thin hard sheets of foam insulation that fits between the strips. Small staples into the strips hold these pieces in place.

Hang new paneling over the newly insulated wall, beginning in one corner and working around the room. Hammer twisted, one-inch framing nails into the studs or strips to hold the paneling in place just as the previous pieces were held. Attach corner flashing and replace any other baseboard trim.

Tips & Warnings

  • Instead of removing old paneling, new furring strips can be installed over the old paneling, to save the trouble and mess of demolition. This will consume a bit of floor space, but the loss may not be noticeable in bigger rooms.
  • For very cold rooms, the thicker rolled insulation will be the best choice if space permits.
  • Wear proper clothing, gloves and eye and face protection when removing old paneling and working with insulation.

References

  • Ultimate Guide to Floors, Walls & Ceilings: Build, Remodel, Repair; The Editors of Creative Homeowner; 2007
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