Paint or Remove luan (wood paneling)?


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Old 03-31-14, 08:44 AM
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Paint or Remove luan (wood paneling)?

Hi, I'm buying a 100 yr old house & at some point they slapped up wood paneling in about 3/4 of the house . . . I believe it's luan paneling. I need more info but I'm starting to think through, do I a) Remove or b) fill in the gaps & repaint. I've read mixed reviews of the idea of filling in the gaps & painting over to make it look like a smooth wall surface. What I don't know yet is if under the luan there is wall-paper (the rooms w/o it have wall paper) or painted walls AND I don't know if the lathe & plaster walls under the paneling are in good shape or not (i.e. why did they put the paneling on some walls & not others?).

Ultimately I want smooth, painted walls. What would be more work (assuming wall-paper underneath): Removing the paneling & wall-paper and then priming & painting vs. filling in paneling gaps and then priming & painting. Also, if there are painted walls underneath that are in good shape, would you say it's worth leaving the paneling anyway because it will seal in presumably lead-painted walls, perhaps a plus for a future buyer?

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-31-14, 09:17 AM
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As an easy & cheap option I would paint the paneling. I would not attempt to fill in the grooves. Start with an oil based stain sealing primer then top coat with your latex of choice. Try it. I think you will be amazed at what a difference paint has over wood. Yes, the grooves will still be there but you'll probably find them less offensive than you think.

Next up on the work scale I'd pull/remove a section of the paneling and see what's behind it. Often paneling was put up to solve other problems like; cracking plaster or wall paper peeling or wall paper too difficult to remove. What you find behind the paneling is really key to what to do next. It's like playing the lottery (often with the same odds of success) you'll either be lucky and find what you want or you'll see why someone in the past wanted to cover the walls.

You can try filling in the grooves of the paneling but I've never liked that approach. After years they lines magically reappear. Often the difference in materials from the wood paneling to the filler material causes cracking along the fill lines and you end up with a real mess that's not easily repaired.
 
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Old 03-31-14, 12:25 PM
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I agree, don't fill the grooves/cracks!! It is hard to fill them where it doesn't show and even then there is no guarantee they won't show or crack later.

The odds are the paneling was installed to hide failing plaster. Ideally you'd strip whatever needs stripping and then repair the plaster .... easier said than done. Lead based paint is likely given the age of the house. Another option would be to remove the paneling and hang 1/4" drywall - that would be the quickest/easiest option for slick finished walls.
 
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Old 03-31-14, 12:28 PM
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Thanks! Sounds like reasonable advice. Now, what do you think of this? Suppose I do find that what's beneath the paneling is undesirable but suppose I don't want to just paint the paneling & leave it with gaps in certain parts of the house. What about replacing the paneling with some sort of flat paneling/quarter-inch sanded plywood? And then taping as with sheetrock.
 
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Old 03-31-14, 12:34 PM
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Did you get a chance to read my post? use 1/4" drywall not paneling
 
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Old 03-31-14, 12:44 PM
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I also recommend 1/4 drywall. Only if the walls are real bad underneath. You may only need it on one wall in a room, for example, and the rest may be fine.
 
 

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