Whether you have just purchased an older home, want to flip a house, or just update a room in your home, it can be expensive and time-consuming to tear off old panels and then put up new drywall. The trick is to fill in the panel seams and cover the paneling with a new coat of paint. Your wall will look like painted drywall and you will not even be able to tell that paneling was there.
Things You'll Need
Hammer or pry bar
Drywall mesh tape
Remove existing trim such as baseboards or molding at the top of a wall with the back of a hammer or pry bar. Using a primer made especially for covering paneling, paint over the paneling with the primer. Allow to dry completely.
Paint another coat of primer over the paneling once the first coat is dry.
Tape over the seams in the paneling, using drywall tape that looks like mesh. Tape over each seam from top to bottom. Ensure that it is smooth and without any puckers or raised areas. Some people have attempted using drywall mud or spackling to fill in the seams, but it usually shrinks after drying and then the seam shows again.
Scoop drywall mud into a paint tray. Using a looped brush on a paint roller, roll the mud in the tray back and forth. Roll over one area of paneling several times, using less and less pressure until it looks like real drywall. If the paneling is in really good condition and not flawed in any way, you can paint paint right over the paneling and skip this step. Allow to dry overnight.
Paint over the paneling, using primer. Once thoroughly dry, paint over the paneling in your color choice. When dry, reattach trim such as baseboards or molding at the top of the wall. Since the paneling is still there, you will be able to hang pictures without having to locate a stud for nails.
When you are installing paneling and want to avoid spaces in between the paneling planks, you can paint a stripe down the wall where panel planks will line up against each other. Use the same color as the paneling so that if there is a gap where the seams are, it will not be noticeable.