Diy Projects: Installing Wooden Wall Paneling

Installing wood paneling is an attractive long-lasting solution for walls.

Wood paneling is a nice solution to dress up any wall. It's easy to care for and remains attractive years after installation.

Getting Started. Planning ahead is one of the most important parts of any do-it-yourself project. Begin by measuring the room and purchasing the appropriate amount of paneling. Don't forget to measure and buy trim for the room as well. You will need baseboard, ceiling trim and, possibly, window casing. It is important that the paneling be purchased at least 10 days prior to installation so the wood can acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room. If you pass over this step, the wood may actually shrink and ruin what seemed to be a beautiful installation.

Preparing the Walls. After the appropriate supplies are gathered, the first step is to prepare the walls. You will need to remove any existing trim, outlet covers, and wall-mounted electrical devices (such as light fixtures). Next, you will need to apply a 1x6 furring strip at the base of the wall and 1x4s across the center and the top of the wall. These will serve as nailing strips. Apply the strips with construction adhesive.

Installing the First Board. Begin in a corner, placing the groove edge into the corner. If you will not be paneling the adjoining wall, trim off the groove. Face-nail into the corners (nail directly through the face of the paneling), where each nailing strip is located. Blind-nail (diagonally nail through the tongue so that the nail heads aren't visible) at each furring strip. Take extra care to be sure that the nails won't interfere with the next board.

Continue Installing Boards. Gently insert the tongue of the first board into the grove of the next. Using a tapping block, tap the paneling into place until the boards fit tightly. Continue installing boards by blind-nailing the tongues and tapping paneling into place until the wall is covered. When approaching a corner, be sure to measure the width needed to finish the wall. Then you will need to cut the paneling lengthwise and make sure that it is an exact fit. You will begin the second wall as you did the first.

Cutting Openings for Electrical Outlets. It is important to note when an electrical outlet is about to be covered by your paneling. When you are less than one board away from an outlet, take measurements of the outlet's width, height and placement from the base of the board and outline it onto the piece of paneling. Make a starter hole in opposite corners of the square and use a jigsaw to cut the opening for the outlet.

Installing the Final Board. When you are one panel away from completion, measure the width from the board to the corner at various locations. If the measurements are all the same, simply cut the final board lengthwise for the width required. If you find different measurements, you will have to cut the board precisely so that it fits correctly.

Finish Trimming the Room. Add baseboard, ceiling trim and window casing as needed to your new room. If you are unsatisfied with the color, you can add or touch up with stain. Finish by adding two or three coats of polyurethane to protect your wood paneling. Finally, add any outlet covers or lighting fixtures, and enjoy the result of your labor!

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