I bought a cottage that has dark wood paneling what should I do with it?
There are several things that you can do with a cottage that has dark wood paneling; this is a common problem I see with a lot of new cottage owners when they purchase older properties.
Most cottages that have paneling on the wall actually have the 4 x 8 foot sheets of paneling. These are about ¼ inch and have a pattern cut or painted into them to make them look like the more expensive 1x6 v groove paneling that is extremely popular in cottage country today.
The reason that cottages were finished in these 4 x 8 sheets of faux paneling is because they are inexpensive to buy and you don’t require any expensive equipment to install. Because they are giant sheets they are easily and quickly installed on the walls of your cottage. In cottage country when these cottages where built in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s there weren’t a lot of professional drywallers so finding the appropriate trades was harder than it is today. Most faux paneling is installed with a small simple finishing nail and a hammer.
Here is a brief list of what you can do with faux dark wood paneling at your cottage;
• You can paint it a lighter colour. One thing to remember when you are going to paint this kind of faux paneling is that you will need a heavy primer. You might have to prime twice just to protect the paint against the darker paneling from showing through. Don't be surprised if you have to put more then a couple coats of paint over the paneling to get the true colour to hold and not be affected by the darker paneling underneath.
• You can remove it and install another kind of finishing; drywall or real wood paneling. If you do this you might want to take the time to fix the insulation and the vapour barrier behind the paneling. To do this I would hire a professional to do the finishing; drywall or real wood is an expensive product to purchase and finish, you want it to look good so you should hire a carpenter or a drywaller to complete the work and this will guarantee that it looks great at the end.
• You actually can still buy faux paneling. Today it comes in a lot of different finishes. So if you don’t have the budget to drywall or install real wood on the walls and ceilings you can remove the dark paneling and install new faux paneling that is a lighter colour. This is done fairly easily and does not require a lot of special equipment.
If you are planning more renovations and updates at you’re newly bought cottage but you want to wait a couple of years before jumping into all of that then I would recommend that you just paint the paneling out. This will allow you to use the place right away and also to live in the cottage and use it so that you know what you need to change. This is the best way for you to maximize your renovation dollars.
Remember if you take the time to properly plan out the way you want your cottage to function then your renovation will proceed smoothly and on budget.
Village Builders Inc.