Wallpapering over wood paneling is possible, although you have to prepare the paneling properly to ensure the wallpaper sticks and that you don’t punch holes in the paper in the spaces where the grooves are. This is probably really great news considering how difficult it can be to remove the paneling.
Best Wallpaper for Wood Paneling
The best paper for covering wood paneling is the heavy-duty variety. It will give you less problems, especially if you have shallower grooves and choose not to caulk. Heavy-duty wallpaper will be more difficult to puncture and easier to adjust as needed. There are two other benefits to this particular wallpaper.
The amount of preparation you have to do will depend on how deep the panel grooves are. For the best results, you can caulk the grooves (no matter how shallow), but if the grooves are more than a quarter of an inch deep, you need to caulk them to keep from puncturing the wallpaper.
Regardless of the depth of the grooves, you will need to wipe down the walls so that they are clean (no mold, dirt, or dust). If you have to caulk the grooves, let the caulk dry before wiping down the walls.
Finally, you need to add a latex primer over the panels, let the primer dry and then add an acrylic-emulsion sizing. These steps will make the panels’ surfaces rougher so that that wallpaper adheres more easily.
Apply the Wallpaper
It is always best to add a heavy wallpaper horizontally before adding a more decorative wallpaper. If you are creating a base layer and you hang it horizontally, you won’t have the problem of overlapping seams with the decorative wallpaper.
The decorative wallpaper is hung the same way you would hang it over other wallpaper. No special work is required at this point if you have already covered the wood panel with a heavy-duty wallpaper. If you add a wallpaper that you can paint on, make sure the paper is dry before you start painting.