HANDYMAN

Install new walls, or modify the existing panels?

Updated: 2013-04-10T07:16:45Z

By DEBBY ALLMON

Special to the Star

The previous owner of my house installed strand board panels in the living room instead of Sheetrock. I overlooked it, figuring that one day I’d do something about. I prefer not to rip everything out to install Sheetrock. A friend suggested doing a “skim coat” that, if done well, will look like Sheetrock. What’s your opinion on this? Should I tear out and install new walls or go with skim coating?

A skim coat, properly installed, should work as long as the walls are very sturdy. The potential future problem would be cracking or sections of the skim coat coming off in flakes if there is any flex in the wall panels.

Another option would be to overlay the panels with 3/8-inch or 1/4-inch sheet rock. If your walls are sturdy, this will make it easier to work with the existing trim work in place.

Of course, the best option for longevity and aesthetics is to remove the panels and install new Sheetrock. This may also entail removal and replacement of the baseboard, casings and other trim in the room.

I would overlay the panels (if your existing conditions in the room will accept the added thickness), which is a middle-of-the-road approach that will give a great look for less mess and cost than removing the existing wall panels.

Debby Allmon is a certified remodeler and vice president of Schloegel Design Remodel in Kansas City.

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