How to Repair a Wood Veneer Wall

What You'll Need
Damp shop rags
Putty knife
Wood putty
Varnish or other sealer

Repairing a veneer wall may be necessary from time to time. If you have veneer paneling that you don't want to remove, here are ways you can fix almost any problem.

Step 1 - Determine the Level of Damage

If you are dealing with minor scratches or gouges, you can repair this with a few simple materials. Panels that are badly damaged may need to be replaced entirely. If this is the case, you'll need to find veneer paneling that is the same color and material so you can simply pull the old panel piece down.

Step 2 - Refinish Deep Scratches

For panels that haven't sustained major damage, you can refinish these easily. Sand around the area that is damaged until it is smooth. Use wood putty to fill in deeper gouges or chips. Allow the putty to dry. Sand down the putty to create an even surface. Use the damp rags to apply the stain or paint. 

Step 3 - Dealing with Light Scratching

Wood veneer paneling can become dinged and scratched with time. This probably won't require major work to repair. Instead, set your iron to a high setting with light steam. If you don't have a steam option, you can use a damp rag instead. Place the rag over the area that is scratched and run the iron over the rag with the direction of the grain. This will pull the wood fibers up, allowing you to regain an even surface. Allow the panel to dry. Sand in the direction of the grain and refinish with paint or stain.

Step 4 - Patching Holes

If you are rearranging furniture you may need to cover some nail holes that may show after you rearrange. This is a simple fix. Fill the hole with wood putty and use a putty knife to even out the surface. Allow the putty to dry completely, and refinish the affected area.

Step 5 - Replace Badly Damaged Panels

Sometimes the panels will be so damaged that there isn't going to be an easy way to fix it. For this situation you need to remove the panel and simply replace it. Measure the area and purchase panels that are already cut to size. Pry the old panels off the wall by placing a screwdriver or putty knife in the seam, and pulling it towards you. Depending on what type of adhesive was used and how long it has been on the wall, it may be difficult to remove. Just work at it slowly so you don't damage surrounding panels. Sand the area behind the panel to create a rough surface for the new adhesive. Apply the veneer adhesive with a paint brush, and press the new panel in place. Use a damp rag to wipe away glue that comes out at the seam. Allow the adhesive to cure, and finish with stain or paint.

Step 6- Protect It

Applying a varnish over the veneer wall will help protect it from further damage. Varnish can be applied with a simple paint brush. Just be sure to leave the room when you are done until it is completely dry.