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Covering Paneling

If your home has a paneled wall like this, you probably already know that it's dated, it's dingy and it's dark, and you'd like for the whole wall to disappear, wouldn't you? I'm going to show you how to do that without tearing the wall down.

This segment demonstrates a process that allows a homeowner to replace and refinish an old wood-paneled wall while avoiding the mess and trouble of removing the wood paneling. Instead of removal, we�ll cover the paneling completely with �liner paper�. That�s a soft, heavy paper with a felt-like texture that, once applied, will serve as a new fresh surface for any type of future wall treatment (a new coat of paint, wallpaper, etc)

Product: Pat-Wall Heavy-Duty Wall Liner (also called liner paper, a thick felt-like paper manufactured on rolls like wallpaper)- paper supplied by SeaBrook

TOOLS
    * Level
    * Tape measure
    * Rollers
    * Brushes
    * Putty knife
    * Disposable straight razor
    * Straight edge  


MATERIALS

    * Rolls of uncut liner paper (comes both pre-pasted and non-pasted; our segment featured non-pasted paper)
    * Trisodium phosphate for cleaning panels
    * Rubber gloves
    * Eye protectors
    * Sizing to be applied to cleaned panels before liner paper applied (similar to sealer or primer)
    * Tabletop for cutting, wetting & folding liner paper ( at least 8�long if possible); spring clamps to hold paper in place
    * Water tray
    * Sponges
    * Paste for unpasted liner paper

Clean the wood paneling with trisodium phosphate � mix the Trisodium phosphate (TSP) with water; apply with a sponge to clean paneling. TSP is a safe, inexpensive household cleaner, easy to find at any hardware store. We used a TSP substitute that�s more friendly to the environment. TSP is greatfor removing mold & mildew, cooking grease, smoke and other substances that can build up on wall surfaces over the years. Allow the entire wall to dry about 30 minutes before applying sizing. Wear rubber gloves and eye protectors while handling TSP since it�s a very mild acid.

Apply Sizing to entire wall of cleaned panels with rollers and brushes, just like paint. The sizing could require up to two hours to dry, depending on temperature and humidity. When you�re done, the wood paneling will be coated with a layer of white sizing that acts as the �tacky� surface that the liner paper will adhere to.

While the sizing dries, Measure the wall to find the number of paper strips needed to cover the wood paneling. You can use a tape measure, or take a roll of paper and use it as a �yardstick� (our roll was 26� wide) to count the number of strips needed.

Cut liner paper into enough strips to cover the entire wall of paneling (cut each sheet 2�� longer than the height of the wall for trimming later during the application process).

Wet pre-pasted liner paper sheets using a water tray; fold & allow paste to react with water until sufficiently adhesive (approximately 2 or 3 sheets at a time). Fold the pasty side onto itself, then fold again so only dry sides touch. Set the paper aside and allow the adhesive to �cure� � that means it needs time to react with the water to create an adhesive surface. The folding and curing process is called �booking� by wallpaper hangers. Proper �booking time� is about five minutes. Let two or three sheets of paper �book� at once so you can apply one after the other

Apply Paste to non-pasted sheets; fold and allow paste to react with paper as above. Paste is sold in buckets and applied just like paint. Apply a smooth even layer of paste. �Booking� the sheets will help make sure the layers of paste are even and complete.

Apply and trim sheets of liner paper to wall (2 or 3 at a time before preparing the next few sheets), just like normal wallpaper. Wallpaper application is a tricky and difficult process. Start by choosing a start point on one end of your wall. Use a level and pencil to draw a vertical �anchor line� onto the wall. Apply the first sheet of liner paper, making sure it comes flush against the vertical mark of this anchor line. If this sheet istruly vertical, and every sheet applied from this point on is matched to the vertical of the sheet applied before it, then the entire papering job will remain truly vertical.

As you apply paper and round corners, let the sheets of paper extend beyond the corner. Do Not cut paper to match corner edges because you will lose the vertical line you established with the application of the first piece. Wrap paper sheets around outer corners. Use a putty knife to shove paper sheets snugly into inner corners. Use a straight edge to smooth bubbles of paste from underneath as you apply paper sheets to the wall. Use extreme care when working and trimming sheets of paper around window frames, doorframes and other irregular shapes.

Allow liner paper to dry for at least 48 hours (longer if needed in humid climates).

Once the liner paper dries sufficiently, treat the wall as a fresh clean surface, ready to accept any wall application you desire (like a new coat of paint). Even if you want to apply wallpaper to this wall, put down the liner paper first, so your wallpaper (which is usually thinner than this liner paper) won�t get sucked into the grooves of the paneling underneath. Remember, ample drying time is key to insuring that your new wall application lasts along time.

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