Recently, many of you have sent me inquiries about wall paneling. For instance, some homeowners ask if wall cladding is costly, durable, or easily installed. Others want to know if it’s suitable for bathroom walls and backsplashes.
Here, I speak to all your questions on wall coverings. The answers will leave you smiling, eager to transform your walls into works of art.
So, let’s go ahead and answer some frequently asked questions about wall paneling for homes.
Is wall paneling outdated?
House Digest reports that wall paneling is making a huge comeback! Moreover, leading interior designers predict rising popularity in the years ahead.
One reason is that wall cladding is now versatile. For instance, it complements the following design styles beautifully:
- French country
- English cottage
- modern rustic
- art deco
Meanwhile, manufacturers are offering more panel widths, from pencil-thin to broad. You’ll also find more eye-catching textures than before.
When you envision wall paneling, do shades of brown come to mind? While that’s a traditional color, other options are beige, gray, pale yellow, and white. Plus, you can now buy multi-colored panels. For example, picture an uplifting pattern of tan, soft gray, and aquamarine.
Thus, there’s a new generation of wall paneling!
Is wall paneling expensive?
Wall paneling is affordable and worthwhile, giving any room a classy, upscale look. Meanwhile, it provides insulation, lowering your heating bills and saving you money. Wall cladding can also boost your home value.
Typically, wall paneling sells by the square foot, ranging from $7 to $40 per unit, averaging $24. Prices also vary by wall cladding construction.
What types of wall paneling are available?
Wall paneling comes in a vast array of appealing styles. Below are descriptions of six types and their price ranges.
- Shiplap – overlapping boards have a groove at the top and bottom by which they slide into place. In this way, the groove or “rabbet” aligns each board perfectly. Shiplap is the most budget-friendly at $2.50 to $7 per square foot.
- Flat Panel – smooth and sleek, it sells for $7 to $10 a square foot.
- Beadboard – narrow planks sit vertically, separated by a ridge called a “bead.” Strips of horizontal molding cover the seams. Beadboard costs $7 to $20 per square foot.
- Board and Batten – consists of wide planks nailed side-by-side. The “batten” is a narrow wood strip covering the seams between the boards. The result is a three-dimensional panel, priced at $7 to $20 per square foot.
- Raised – has columns of prominent squares or rectangles, framed by shaped or “beveled” edges. Wide molding separates each panel. The beveling creates subtle shadows, adding even more visual interest. This fancy cladding costs $10 to $30 a square foot.
- Overlay – comprised of a base panel with another panel centered over it, forming a raised edge. Use overlay to dress up an existing wall panel. Pricing for this decorative style ranges from $10 to $40 per square foot.
Is wall paneling cheaper than drywall?
Paneling tends to be more expensive than drywall alone. Still, with drywall, you need to budget the cost of painting over it. Prices vary by paint brand, quality, and finish.
Let’s use Glidden paint as an example. Currently, Glidden sells its flat paint at $20 per gallon and glossy paint for twice as much. After choosing a paint finish, you must calculate the number of gallons needed to cover the drywall. Then, since drywall needs two coats of paint, double that figure.
If you choose low-cost paint, you may need primer, another expense. Then, factor in your painting supplies:
- paint brushes
- drop cloths
- brush-cleaning solvents
Moreover, wall paint has a short lifespan, chipping, peeling, and cracking with age. Hence, you’ll need to repaint every five to 10 years.
Yet, wall paneling should last for your home’s lifetime. So, in the long run, you’ll recoup the costs of a paneling job without any additional investment.
What is half wall paneling called?
The industry name for half paneling is wainscoting. This type occupies the lower half or third of a wall. Wainscoting has several unique advantages:
- hides exposed wires
- shields walls from impact, such as chairs in dining areas
- insulates against noise and cold
- covers wall blemishes
- camouflages jumbled cords
- adds decorative molding to entryways, hallways, stairwells, and walls
Traditional wainscoting is 36 to 42 inches high, outlined by an upper chair rail and lower baseboard. For the middle section, choose from flat panels, beadboard, or raised panels.
Which wall paneling is best?
The best choice for wall paneling depends on the following factors:
- whether you need a waterproof surface
- your preferred panel style
- its purpose, such as protection from chair impact (wainscoting)
- your installation experience
- if you want an ecological material
- your budget
How do you attach wood paneling to a wall?
You affix wood paneling to a wall with construction adhesive and a caulk gun. That’s the short answer.
The whole installation process is more involved, although a breeze to perform. Here’s a video demo of wood paneling installation, including all the supplies you need.
What is PVC wall paneling?
PVC wall paneling is lightweight, hollow cladding made of polyvinyl chloride, installed readily via tongue and groove joints. It comes in a range of textures, finishes, hues, and designs. Thus, you can easily find a style matching your decor.
Are any family members or close friends dust-allergic? In that case, PVC wall cladding is ideal, being dust-proof. If the panels get splattered or smudged, merely swipe them gently with a damp cloth. Meanwhile, PVC wall cladding is waterproof, termite-proof, and mildew-resistant.
PVC has a product lifespan of 100 years. It’s also planet-friendly since it can be recycled up to seven times. Moreover, the recycling process is quick, easy, and inexpensive.
Can you use MDF for wall paneling?
Yes, wall paneling comes in MDF, standing for medium density fiberboard. It’s made of recycled wood and resins fused under high pressure and heat. Often, producers fabricate shiplap with MDF.
While MDF copies the look of natural wood, it has distinct advantages over it. First, since the source of MDF is recycled wood, more forests are spared from widespread harvesting.
So, when you buy MDF paneling, you promote natural resource conservation. Moreover, you’ll pay less for MDF panels than natural wood cladding. Meanwhile, MDF resists termite damage better.
Some homeowners use MDF wall paneling to cover non-working fireplaces. Or they choose it to hide wall imperfections, such as cracks, chips, and dents.
Caution – Moisture makes fiberboard swell and disintegrate. Thus, avoid installing MDF in damp, humid rooms and those exposed to water. Although you can buy moisture-resistant MDF, waterproof wall paneling is superior.
Can you use wall paneling for a backsplash?
Yes, PVC wall paneling is ideal for backsplashes, being waterproof. Beadboard is especially handsome, giving your kitchen an organized look. Moreover, you can install it over existing tile.
You’ll find beadboard kits at your local home improvement store. Currently, they sell for $2.50 to $4.20 per square foot.
Can wall paneling be used in a bathroom?
Yes, you’ll need wall cladding impervious to moisture and humidity. Three superb materials are vinyl, PVC, and polyurethane, each available as wainscoting. Another option is beadboard.
Can I use paneling for purposes other than wall coverage?
Absolutely! Below are additional applications for wall cladding.
- Decorate a kitchen island.
- Showcase a fireplace.
- Cover an unused chimney breast with a panel frame.
- House a wide-screen TV.
- Replace a headboard.
- Disguise a door to a “secret room.”
- Embellish a ceiling.
Wall paneling markedly upgrades the beauty of your décor, adding value to your home. Meanwhile, it’s insulating, guarding against noise and heat loss. Since wall cladding affixes easily, you’ll find installation fun and rewarding.
Choose from a broad range of delightful colors, finishes, textures, and styles. Also, pick from several durable materials.
Natural wood portrays warmth and character, with dark panels exuding luxury. While MDF looks similar, it’s Earth-friendly, made of recycled wood.
On the other hand, PVC is dust-free, mildew-resistant, termite-proof, and waterproof. Thus, PVC wall cladding is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens, including backsplashes.
Although drywall costs less than wall paneling, you must cover it with paint. Then, as the paint ages, it undergoes peeling, chipping, and cracking.
For this reason, drywall needs repainting every five to 10 years. However, wall paneling should last for the lifetime of your home.
Thus, wall cladding is money well spent!
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