Recently we bought an older 1960’s home in our downtown area. When entering, the living room had paneling, thank God it was at least painted! The hallway was paneling and the lower half of the bathroom wall was paneling. I was very impressed that all of the bedrooms and closets have been updated with drywall. I instantly wanted to get rid of the hallway paneling and the living room paneling, but wait! We just bought a house ($$$) that had to have a new roof ($$$) Our highest priority was to get the floors done ($$$) We needed a laundry room and hookups ($$$) We needed a load-bearing wall busted out ($$$) We needed a new water heater ($$$) New appliances ($$$) A pantry ($$$) and the list goes on! Needless to say we were definitely not going to put any of our extra money into things that we could live with (like walls).
In fact two months later after the contractors have left we still do not have new cabinets, countertops, vanity, new toilet, etc. that we will eventually have to get. Hello, frozen dinners!
What you will need:
- Joint compound (anywhere between $5 - $15 a room) SHEETROCK Brand Lightweight (Always get more than you think you will need with this! We needed about 1.5 gallons for a decent sized living room and the hallway)
- Putty Knife(s) ($1-$5) Economy Putty Knife Set ($2.97)
- Sander / Sand Paper ($1 set at Dollar Tree or something more expensive like a sander will save a lot of time in a bigger room)
- Paint for after to cover up the joint compound (Approx. $25 a gallon or free if you have it around)
- Time (You will need at least a full weekend to do this properly without going too crazy) It also helps to have a helper of some sort. I did a lot of the joint compounding and my husband did a lot of the sanding. It takes anywhere from 4 hours to 10 hours to do a room in joint compound depending on how big it is with an additional second coat. Sanding will take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours with the proper tools (a sander) or much longer with just sand paper.
Step One: Definitely get all of the materials you need. If you are using a sander later, make sure you get a fine grain and/or ultra-fine grain replacement pads. Make sure you have putty knives and of course joint compound.
Step Two: Make sure you have time. You do NOT have to finish joint compounding during the same hour / day / or even week. Just make sure you finish your section before you leave for work or go anywhere. However I highly suggest having a lot of time to sand during one or two close together periods. The sanding gets REALLY dusty and you do not want it around your house for long. You may want to move anything you do not want dirty or cover it up with plastic.
Step Three: Open your pre-mixed joint compound and put it on your putty knife. Slowly press the compound on the paneling line and start smoothing it into the crease up or down the entire height of the wall or paneling.
Step Four: After you fill the line go back and press the putty knife flat on the wall and pull the knife up or down keeping it very horizontal to the wall. You may need to clean off the excess compound in your bucket every few sweeps.
Step Five: Once your paneling crease is completely filled and smoothed you can move on to the next ones and do them in the same way.
Step Six: Wait until the compound is dried (some dry longer than others) and then go back with a second coat exactly the same way as you did before.
Step Seven: Let the compound dry for at least over night before doing anything else. It will come out uneven or even smudgy if you don’t give it time to dry properly.
Step Eight: Move or cover up anything that you do not want messy! I highly suggest a pair of work gloves and a dust mask for the rest of the project. Come back with your sand paper or sander and start sanding the compound evenly. Be very gentle because you can scratch the paneling that does not have a layer of compound on it. Make sure you are sanding it to look completely even and smooth. Go slow. It will most likely save you time.
Step Nine: Asses your project and go back with anymore sanding that needs to be done. Sometimes you may have even missed a spot in your compounding.
Step Ten: I didn’t do this but if you are picky you may want to dust off the walls. Then go back with a good vacuum cleaner to clean your floors or anywhere there is dust. After a good vacuuming I suggest mopping afterwards if you have hard floors.
Step Eleven: Paint over the joint compound on your wall with the wall color that you want your walls to be. We used a paint + primer by Glidden but you may want to prime the surface before painting.
Step Twelve: Let the paint dry and then admire your wonderful work! Look, you have smooth walls now!
I hope you enjoy!
*Notes: Do not bang very hard on the walls after this process. The joint compound will crack if a lot of pressure is applied.
I will be updating with my own pictures shortly!