The effect of wood paneling on space air can be hard to ignore, and the dark wood tomes don’t fit with every design motif. In case a remodeling job has brought you to the stage of either removing the paneling or covering it with drywall, it may be relaxing to know that you don’t need to do. All you need to do in order to produce the paneling resemble drywall would be to skim-coat it using joint compound. While skim-coating can be tricky to do correctly, it is easier than the choices, and you don’t need to employ a professional to do it.
Inspect the paneling for loose borders or warping, and fasten loose sections securely to the studs using ring-shank nails. Sink all nail heads with a hammer and nail set.
Wash the paneling using a mix of 1/2 cup of trisodium phosphate detergent per gallon of warm water. This mixture not only cleans dirt and grease in the paneling, but it etches the end. Let the paneling dry, then scuff the surface together with 150-grit sandpaper to etch it even more.
Paint the paneling with a coat of interior latex or shellac-based wood tip. Apply the primer with a medium nap roller and paintbrush.
Tape the seams between panels using drywall tape in exactly the same manner you would tape routine seams seams. Spread a layer of joint compound along the flux using a 4-inch drywall knife, lay moistened drywall tape and scrape it flat with the knife. Immediately topcoat it with another layer of joint compound and scrape the chemical flat.
Let the taped seams dry, then topcoat with one or 2 more layers of joint compound. Scrape with a 6- to 8-inch blade, feathering the edges into the wall to make flat seams.
Skim-coat by spreading a thin layer of joint compound over the entire wall using an 8-inch drywall knife. Start in one of the best corners, applying hardened all-purpose joint compound on the wall using a paint roller or drywall knife and scraping the knife along the grain of the timber to flatten the mud. The layer shouldn’t be any thicker than about 1/8 inch.
Wait for the first skim coat to dry, then sand it with a pole sander and 120-grit sandpaper. Wipe off the sanding dust using a rag and, even if you can still see wood grain or tape seams, apply a second coat. Sand that coat when it dries and wipe off the sanding dust. Repeat a third time, if needed.
Apply a coat of PVA — or drywall — primer to the wall using a medium-nap roller and paintbrush. Let the primer dry, then paint the wall or hang wallpaper, as desirable.