Do you have a hole in your paneling? Maybe it got inadvertently hit with a door knob or perhaps a piece of furniture during a move. Have no fear; there is something you can do to repair the damage yourself.
What follows is general information on how to repair damaged plywood and or hardwood paneling.
Minor Damage vs. Major Damage
If your plywood or hardboard paneling has just been slightly marred, use a paste wax, a touch-up stick or the meat of an oily nut to fill in the scratch.
If, on the other hand, your plywood or hardboard paneling has damage other than a scratch you will need to replace the entire damaged section. Each plywood or hardboard section usually measures 4x 8 feet.
Before you Begin
First, you will want to first determine what is behind your existing plywood or hardboard paneling. This is the case because if the paneling is affixed to a solid surface such as masonry you do not want to damage your saw blade or further damage the wall by cutting in too deeply.
Second, it is imperative to note that this article is for informational purpose only and should not be considered as a substitute for the advice and assistance of a licensed professional. No warranties or guarantees of a successful repair are expressed or implied herein. All those that attempt this project do so at their own risk.
For this project you will need to assemble the following tools and materials;
• 4×8 feet sheet of paneling
• Paneling nails
• Matching wood putty
• Thick, clean cloth
• Small block of wood
• Cold chisel
• Putty knife
• Circular saw with paneling blade
• Ruler and a pencil
• Construction adhesive
• Drop cloth
• Dust mask
• Safety goggles
Instructions for Repairing Paneling
If your plywood or hardboard paneling has baseboards and molding attached to it, you will have to remove those first.
To remove the baseboards and moldings you will need a putty knife, pry bar and pliers.
Cautiously pry off the baseboards and molding by inserting your putty knife in between the wall and the molding and or baseboard.
Once the boards have started to separate from the paneling, gently use a crowbar to finish separating the boards from the paneling.
Afterward, use the pliers to pull out and remove any nails that are holding the damaged paneling in place.
Set the baseboards and molding aside. You will need to reattach them to the wall once the paneling repair has been completed.
Next, take out your tape measure and a pencil. Begin by measuring in 3 inches in on each side from the damaged paneling’s seam. This is to help establish your cut lines.
With the 3 inches marked off on each side of the damaged panel, take out your circular saw, safety goggles and a dust mask. Put the safety goggles and dust mask on and then proceed to make pocket cuts with the circular saw. It is important to note that a plywood blade should be used during this application.
For those uninitiated in the art of making pocket cuts with a circular saw you will want to set the circular saw to the desired depth.
After the saw’s depth is set, retract the saw’s guard and tilt the saw forward. With the saw still in the tilted position, start the saw and lower the blade.
Repeat this cutting procedure until you have created a pocket that you can stick your hands into. This hole will become important as the repair job continues.
Once the pocket cuts have been made, set the saw aside and position yourself at the bottom of the sheet of damaged paneling.
Firmly grab a hold of the bottom of the damaged paneling and begin to pull the paneling off of the wall. The reason for this is because the bottom of the paneling usually has the least amount of adhesive attached to it and thus should be easy to lift up.
As you pull at the paneling, stop periodically and use your pliers to remove any nails that have popped out of the paneling.
Eventually you will reach the center of the damaged paneling right about where you previously made the pocket cuts.
Pick up your crowbar and while still holding the crowbar, place your hands inside the hole created previously by the pocket cuts.
With your hands still inside the hole, use the crowbar to pry the remaining section of paneling off of the wall.
Once the entire sheet of damaged paneling has been removed, you will be left with studs and furring strips that are coated with old adhesive.
In order to make a good seal between the new sheet of paneling and the wall, the old adhesive will need to be removed. This portion of the job could get messy so you may want to lay a piece of plastic or an old bed sheet down onto the floor to catch the dried up adhesive as it falls.
Take out a cold chisel and a scraper. Use those instruments to get as much of the old adhesive off of the studs and furring strips as possible.
After the old adhesive has been removed and you are left with a smooth surface area, it is time to add new adhesive.
Apply the new adhesive to the studs and furring strips according to the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions.
With the fresh adhesive amply applied, pick up the new sheet of paneling and position it into place. Once it is in place take out a thick, clean cloth and a small block of wood.
Wrap the cloth around the block of wood. This is going to serve as a buffer between your hammer and the new sheet of paneling. Failure to cover the block of wood will result in damage to your new sheet of paneling.
Press the covered block of wood up against the paneling’s seam and then take out a hammer. Gently tap the covered block of wood with the hammer. This is done to help affix the adhesive to the paneling. Work your way around the entire sheet of paneling being sure to tap all seams, studs and furring strip areas.
Afterward further secure the paneling’s seams by placing and hammering in a paneling nail every 6 inches along the panel’s vertical seams.
With the vertical seams secured, place and hammer paneling nails every 16 inches so that they connect with the wall studs.
You will want to countersink the nails and then fill in the nail holes with matching wood putty.
When the new sheet of paneling is in firmly in place, you can then reattach the baseboard and molding.
That is all there is to a basic paneling repair job.
Those homeowners that have questions or are in need of more information about paneling installation and repair should contact a local licensed professional or home improvement specialist.