A second life for pre-finished panelling

Source: iStockphoto LP

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of pre-finished panelling are the brown-groove imitation-wood panels that still cover many walls. Vestige of a bygone era? What do you do with it? Remove it? Reuse it?

Walls that are finished with this material use grooves, wood or plastic baseboards and door and window frames.

If you want to reuse this panelling, be careful when removing the nails (dry wood breaks easily). Then it’s up to you to decide if you want to reuse them in a pantry or other fairly hidden space.

You are now ready to remove the prefinished panels.

Handle the panels with care and wear work gloves: the edges of this material make excellent slivers.

Once you remove them, make sure no finishing nails were left behind on the studs that make up the framework.

In some cases, it’s the perfect opportunity to improve the insulation and make sure the vapour barrier is airtight on the outside walls.

Now that the walls have been stripped, you can now refinish them with plaster board or any other material.

But to save money or our environment: reuse!

There are several ways to reuse prefinished panelling.

Paint it, by following three easy steps:

  • Sand the surface to improve adherence
  • Wash the surface to remove the dust
  • Apply an alkyd primer

If you want to eliminate the grooves that give the panelling an uneven look, you can either fill in the grooves or turn the panels around so that the grooves face the wall.

  • Fill in the grooves

Using good wood filler, a plaster spatula and a lot of patience, you can easily even out the surface by filing in the grooves. Once the product is dry, sand the entire surface using fine-grain sandpaper. Then paint it (preferably with oil-based paint for better adherence).

  • Turn the panels around

With a little more work, this is option is just as good since you can reuse the panels without having to do any mudding. Simply remove the panels and turn them around so that the flat surface is facing you. A good sanding will make the surface ready to paint. At worst, you may have to do a bit of mudding.

In any case, regardless of the solution, prefinished panels are completely reusable.


Photo: iStockphoto LP