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Can You Put Drywall Over Paneling? (How To)

If you have plain wall paneling in a room in your home, you might want to change things up after a little while. Old paneling appears to be dull and could use a touch-up. Rather than replace the paneling or paint over it, you might wonder if you can use something like drywall (commonly known as sheetrock). You’ll be pleased to know that this can be done. 

When considering what to use on your wall over your paneling, you’ll want some options. You’ll be pleased to know that you can use drywall (sheetrock) over the top of your paneling to refresh your wall. 

Hardwood wall

Should You Put Drywall Over Paneling? 

confused man standing

Now that you know you are able to place drywall over old paneling, you’ll want to think about if this is a good idea to use in your house. Depending on your situation, this is going to be a great choice for your wall. Since it’s time-consuming and can be expensive to rip out paneling, many people decide to put up the sheetrock to cover this. 

It’s entirely possible and even beneficial to use drywall over your wall paneling. This is a good alternative to tearing out the paneling so you can put in a fresh set of paneling. Drywall installation is ideal if you are able to do this in the proper manner. 

Though you can use drywall on your wall with paneling, it’s not always in your best interest. It’s important to determine the condition of the paneling before you conduct this task. If the wall isn’t currently in good condition, avoid working with the sheetrock. 

What Tools Do You Need to Put Drywall Over Paneling? 

Tools in the floor

When you’re about to install drywall on top of paneling, it’s necessary to have certain tools and supplies available. 

There are basic tools that you’re going to need for this DIY drywall installation project. These include a screwdriver or screw gun, putty knife and trough (this is optional), drywall saw, sandpaper, drywall mud, drywall tape, measuring tape, and a stud finder (also optional). 

Though you do only need a few tools to complete this DIY project, you’ll have to get plenty of the required supplies. This includes drywall mud, drywall tape, and the drywall itself. You can measure out your space and talk to an expert on carpentry and home improvement to assist you in figuring out how much you’ll need of each of these things. 

What Preparations Do You Need to Put Drywall Over Paneling?

Tools in the floor

One of the first things you’ll need to do (after gathering up your supplies and tools, that is) for your drywall DIY over paneling task is to locate the wall studs. You would use an electronic stud finder, then mark the location of them on the wall and ceiling, so you know where to center the drywall once you begin covering the wall marks. Once you’ve done this, there are a few other things you should do. 

It’s a fairly simple process to get ready for a drywall project. You need to find studs and mark the spots. You’ll also need to remove floorboards and moldings where you’ll be putting this. Measure out drywall to the right size, then cut to accommodate for windows, light switches, and outlets. 

Take the existing moldings and floorboards out from the ceiling, floor, and from around the doors and windows at the place where you’ll be installing the sheetrock. Remove any molding gently so that you can re-use it if you wish. Place removed trim in a safe location. Measure your sheetrock appropriately, then cut it to the size you want while making sure to take into consideration the light switches, outlets, and windows. 

How to Put Drywall Over Paneling

Hardwood in the floor

Start out at the bottom of the wall. Install your drywall by putting drywall screws into the studs so that you can hold your sheetrock in place. Make sure that you place several screws down the entire length. 

Now, since you’ve altered the dimension of your room somewhat by taking out the moldings and floorboards, it may be necessary to do some work here. You might need to recut some of the floorboards and crown molding. This is a good time to measure, cut, and re-install the molding, trim, and floorboards. 

Finish the seams by using some drywall tape. This should be put in between your individual pieces of installed drywall. At this point, put a thin layer or mud on top of the top so that the seams at the transitions will remain smooth. 

Allow for your drywall mud to dry overnight. Sand any high spots, then put on another layer or drywall mud. Repeat this as many times as you need to until there’s a smooth product with hidden seams. This can be the most time-consuming part, though it’s a lot of downtime that allows for you to check that your next steps will be ready to go. 

At this time, you may want to paint your drywall. If it’s in a place that’s out of the way and you won’t be using the room often, you might want to save this for later or not paint it at all. If you do, you should use some primer first. Next, you’ll put on a fresh coat and let it dry. Then, put the outlet covers and light switches back on, along with extended boxes. 

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on January 8, 2023.

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