Is it a good idea to drywall over paneling?

You might want to install drywall over wood paneling. This might be because of different reasons that vary from one person to another. It might be because of the desire to improve the appearance, insulation, fire insulation, or other reasons.

Let us discuss the main points as to whether it is a good idea to drywall over paneling.

Is it a good idea to drywall over paneling?

One way of improving a room’s appearance and appeal is via installing drywall over wood paneling. Though it can be done, the most difficult part of this project is to extend all door and window trim. This is done so as to fit the drywall with the thicker wall.

You can put up drywall on top of wood paneling that is in good condition. Wood paneling once was a go-to choice of covering in most homes. Nowadays, materials that provide better insulation are popular with most homeowners.

More so, drywalling over paneling is preferred since wood paneling removal is costly, time-consuming, and a very daunting process. This makes drywalling over paneling a more workable solution.

Is it cheaper to drywall over wood paneling?

Since one does not spend on wood panel demolition, it is much cheaper to just drywall over wood paneling. One incurs approximately $0.33 to $0.55 to demolish wood panels per square foot. When dealing with thicker panels, the price can rise to about $1.0 for every square foot.

When installing drywall over wood panels, you will incur around $1 to $3 for every square foot. In comparison, Demolition and installation will set you back around $2 to $4.50 for every square foot.

It is, therefore, adroit to just drywall over the wood panelings if they are in good condition. One can even get expert advice from their contractor on this.

Is drywall over paneling better than paneling alone?

Drywall is preferable to paneling for most homeowners since when it comes to R-value, it is better when compared to the paneling.

Additionally, Drywalls are more preferable to paneling since they are easy to repair. You can easily patch and mud holes. Comparatively, to repair a wood panel, you would have to remove and replace the whole panel. This is quite costly, time-consuming, and frustrating.

Moreso, when it comes to insulation, drywall beats wood paneling. This is because wood panels being thinner than drywall, have lower insulation.

Since drywalls are thicker than wood panels, they make the rooms more soundproof.

Drywalling over paneling also makes your house more fireproof. This is because 21% of a drywall’s weight is made up of water. Round 50% of its volume is also water.

Drywalls also resist cracking and fracturing making them more durable as the walling choice of your house. It is also more convenient to wallpaper and paint due to its paper surface.

Wood panels give darker colors that give a cave-like and a closed-in feeling in comparison to the reflective color of the drywall. This makes drywalls more appealing and more attractive as a walling of choice for most homeowners.

This ultimately means that drywalling over paneling makes your house more soundproof and to have much better insulation.

How do you drywall over a paneling?

You have to first take down all baseboards, door trims, and windows so that you can proceed to install drywall over wood paneling. You have to be careful in this process as you will need to reinstall them later. If you don’t have time to do it carefully or it proves to be very difficult, you can rip them off and install new materials later.

When all the trim is down, you can now put up the drywall. It is well-advised to use drywall panels that are at least ½ or ⅝ inches thick unless the space is not enough. This is because it is easier to work on thicker panels and they are also stronger. When working with walls that are more than 8 feet high, stretcher panels are available to work with. This eliminates the need to add a drywall joint or a strip.

Extending the door and window jambs is the next step. They have to be extended towards the outer surface of the newly installed drywall. Use high-quality finish lumber while fitting it over the jamb so as to have the appeal that satisfies you. You can also design more window detailing by just offsetting it a bit to the side. Sizing the extension strips to extend approximately 1/32 inches beyond the drywall makes it easier to put up the finishing trim on the drywall.

If you prefer not to nail the paneling to the wood studs, one may consider gluing the drywall to the paneling. This is however dependent on the rigidity of the paneling. You can get one of the many dependable adhesives to use from your nearest home improvement store. If the paneling is not flat enough, using screws or nails is a great choice too.

There are also some building codes that dictate the maximum gap between the wall surface and the electrical box. If the gap is too big, one can adjust accordingly or put up a box extension ring. It is critical to remember to switch off the circuit breakers when accessing the electrical boxes.


In summary, it is indeed a good idea to drywall over paneling. This is because of the many reasons we have discussed earlier. You may want to change the general feel of your home. Drywalling over paneling does exactly that. This is also very convenient when repainting over the paneling seems not to be working out as desired.

When it comes to insulation, we cannot forego such a basic need in the cold months of the year. Drywalling over paneling comes in handy to create the much-desired insulation we need. When it comes to soundproof insulation, drywalls are also very convenient to install as they are better sound insulators than panels. Having a combination of the two just makes it better. Fires can also be avoided by installing drywall over a wood panel.

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