I thought that I would post a quick "how to" on hiding wood paneling. In my house, the wood paneling was on both the walls and ceiling. The addition was built at a time when this particular style was popular and the paneling took the place of plaster. Now I realize that some people really like this look, but I was not so fond of it. After much consideration, I decided that I would skim coat the paneling with joint compound and then hang a textured, paintable wallpaper on top.
Here are the steps that we took when covering our paneling. This worked for us, but modifications could make it even better.
Step one: Give your paneling a good sanding, especially if it was stained at some point. If it was painted as ours was, a quick sanding and then a wipe down with tack cloth will help the joint compound stick.
Step two: Cover the paneling with joint compound. We use the quick setting joint compound as it is structurally stronger and actually goes through a chemical reaction as it sets unlike the premixed types which merely dry. It is a pain to have to keep mixing it, however.
Step three: Sand down the joint compound. By far, this is the worst step. Be sure to wear a dust mask and tape off other connected rooms. This step is messy, hot, and allows you to breathe your own exhaust for an extended period of time. Splendid! I would never want to work as a drywall installer.
Step four: Paint the joint compound with drywall primer. Do not saturate the joint compound as it will try to come off. Several coats may be necessary, but make sure that it dries completely between coats.
Step five: This is something that we did not do, but would do in the future. Paint the room with a latex paint. We didn't do this, and when we hung the wallpaper, the joint compound would sometimes try to come off. It seems like a coat or two of latex paint would probably tack down that joint compound a little better.
Step six: Hang your wallpaper as you would normally hang wallpaper. Be careful when rolling the seams, as pushing out the paste could mean pealing wallpaper later.
Step seven: Take care of any peeling or loose seams. We used paintable caulk around baseboards and trim, and along edges to secure the wallpaper further.
Step eight: Paint the wallpaper. We encountered some bubbles as the wallpaper became saturated again. These disappeared as the wallpaper dried, but we were worried for a while.
Step nine: Enjoy your room. As with any wallpaper, keep some paste handy in case humidity changes cause your wallpaper to peel some. Since we live in Colorado, our problem is the lack of humidity, which creates formidable plaster and joint compound cracks.
The before and after pictures are in the post prior to this. This picture shows the "after" detail. You would never know there is deep, wood paneling behind this paper.