Adding wood paneling to a room can do far more than only add a touch of class and opulence to a room. If the surface of the walls is particularly old and uneven you could fit wood paneling from floor to ceiling to create a brand new clean and flat surface.
Alternatively, you could put the wood paneling just part way up the wall to act as a feature in the room that can also hide any unsightly heating ducts and provide a flush finish for any wall mounted electrical outlets.
Choosing Wood Paneling
How much you spend on your wood paneling is up to you, as wood panels can be bought made out of pretty well any timber from mahogany to pine, or even really low cost panels of engineered wood. Going for one of the least expensive panels is fine if you intend to paint them once installed, otherwise it’s a question of the ambience you want to set with your wood panels.
Use mahogany or oak for that classic look or something like ash or beech for a lighter contemporary feel. Of course you could always buy some relative low cost pine wood panels and stain them to the color of another wood.
How to Fit Tongue-and-groove Wall Paneling
To start with, screw horizontal battens to the wall around the perimeter of the area to be paneled. Fix one batten an inch or two off the floor and another inch or two from the top of the area to be paneled.
Then fix further battens about 16 inches apart. When you’re doing this do make sure you don’t puncture any water, heating or power lines embedded in the wall. If the wall is an old and uneven one fit packing or wedges to maintain a constant depth from the wall.
Having cut it to length, at one end of the wall, fix the first panel to the upper batten. Use ‘lost-head’ nails and bury them in the panel with a nail punch, place this first nail at the walls edge on the groove side of the panel.
Check that it is level and then nail the panel at a 45 degree angle through the tongue side on the batten below. Repeat as necessary and at the bottom again nail along the walls edge.
Use the tongue and groove of the next board to get it in place, using a hammer and an off-cut to make sure it is a good fit, nail it into place as for the previous panel and then continue along the wall.
The final wood panel will probably need cutting to reduce its width. Measure the space and cut the panel slightly more than is required along the tongued edge. Fix the cut panel onto the tongue of the previous board, by having left a little extra room you can maneuver it so as to buffer up against the walls corner.
To start the wood paneling on the next wall, around the corner, simply start the whole process over again. When all of the wood paneling is in place either cap it off with a molding or a decorative cornice at the top and skirting board at the bottom.
To get your wood paneling around obstacles like light switches or power outlets, remove the fitting and mounting box. Re-insert the mounting box so that it will be flush with the surface of the paneling, buy new low profile mountings if necessary. When you get to that point with the wood panels, cut out sections so that the mounting box is surrounded by the wood paneling and finally screw the fitting back in place on top of the paneling.
If you’re not a qualified electrician – you will have to disconnect and re-connect electrical wires to do this; so check how to do this safely and also make sure your local regulations allow you to carry out any electrical work.