When doing wall paneling, the trickiest part is getting the right fit around outlets and switches. Wall panels are available in varying sizes and thickness; so make sure you purchase the right panels before you begin drywalling. You will also need to remove all staples, nails, tacks, switches, and outlet covers before you actually start paneling your wall. Drywalling is a relatively easy DIY project; however, it cannot be done alone. Make sure to ask a friend or family member for help when paneling your wall.
Step 1 - Take Measurements
Method One: In order to cut the panel correctly, you first need to make the right measurements. Start by measuring the distance between the top edge of the outlet and the edge of the last panel above the outlet. Mark this distance on the panel you will be using. Make sure to mark this from the top of the panel and on the back face.
Do the same for the left side of the outlet. Measure the distance from the last panel used to the left edge of the outlet, and mark this distance accordingly on your current panel. You will also need to measure the distance from the floor to the bottom edge of the outlet. Mark this on the panel that you will be using. Measure the outlet, and by using the already marked distances, draw a square/rectangle on your current panel.
Method Two: There is another method to draw the square/rectangle on the panel that you will be using. For this, simply outline the perimeter of the outlet with chalk or paint. Then, place the panel flat against the outlet and press down so that the chalk or paint forms an imprint on the back of the panel. Make sure you place the panel exactly in the same manner as you would when finally installing the panel. Once you have the imprint, you’ll know exactly where to cut. While this is a more convenient method, it is often not as accurate as the first one because even a slight shift can result in an incorrect imprint.
Step 2 - Make the Cut
Once you have your square/rectangle marked out, use a jigsaw to cut out the panel. You can also use a utility knife for this purpose. If you are using a thin panel, you will be able to cut right through it. For thicker panels, first cut lightly to form a sort of guide line. Then, make a deeper cut along the guide line.
Use your hands to bend the cut out area back and forth till it snaps. After cutting out the hole, place the panel on the wall, to check if the fit is right. If you followed the instructions to the tee, you should have a perfect fit.
Install Wall Paneling FAQ
How do you cut paneling around an electrical outlet?
Prepare panels by marking out the area where the cuts will be made to expose a hole for outlets and switches. Double- and triple-check your measurements before you cut out the area where the outlet will go.
Cut the panel while it's flat in front of you, before it's on the wall, and then attach it to the wall after the cut has been made. The wall will fit right over the hole that was cut for the outlet.
How do you install wainscoting around an outlet?
You need to cut holes and notches in the wainscoting to expose electrical outlets and switches that the wainscoting would overwise cover up. The best way to do this is the mark where the notches will be cut on the wainscoting and then cut the material while it is laying flat.
How do you fill gaps around light switches?
Fill the gaps around light switches and electrical outlets with caulk. Acrylic latex caulk works well for this.
Do you use glue or nails for paneling?
Both nails and adhesive can be used to secure paneling to walls. It all depends on the type of paneling you're installing and your personal preference.
How do you cover an exposed outlet?
There are many ways to cover outlets, but this will make them inaccessible. Start with a standard outlet cover, which will cover all parts of the outlet except for the plugs themselves.
You can insert plug covers into the plugs to cover the outlet. To hide an outlet entirely, move a piece of furniture in front of it or create a faux wall panel that can be moved to hide it behind.
You can also use plants and other decorative objects to cover and hide an outlet on the wall.