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Can You Put Up Paneling Without Drywall?

A collage of paneled walls.

I’ve always wanted to install paneling in my home and I never thought that I could do it without spending thousands of dollars on drywall and siding contractors, but after doing some research I discovered that it’s actually quite easy and very affordable!

The hardest part was just figuring out how to actually go about putting up the paneling, but once I did that, the rest was simple!

Take a look at this article to learn more about how you can install paneling in your home, regardless of what shape your walls are in right now!

Can You Put Up Wood Paneling Without Drywall?

A living room with vertical wood paneling and drywall.

The short answer is yes, but it depends on your situation. You can save a lot of money by putting up wood paneling instead of drywall

Plus, wood creates a warm and inviting feeling that can’t be replicated with other materials such as particleboard or foam insulation. If you want to use wood paneling on your walls, but don’t want to bother with traditional drywall installation, there are some ways around it. 

One option is to use large sheets of thin plywood. This technique works well if you don’t need your walls to be load-bearing (for example, if they’re just going to have artwork hung on them). 

Another option is called furring strips—they come in 2×4 or 2×8 sizes and are designed specifically for wall installations (instead of floorboards). The downside is that these strips aren’t really designed for nailing directly into studs—you’ll need special nails for them, which will cost extra money.

Can You Use Brad Nails for Paneling?

A worker installing wooden ceiling.

If you’re installing sheets of wood on your own, chances are pretty good that you don’t have access to a nail gun. Brad nails are similar to finish nails in appearance and function. They don’t hold as well as finishing nails and aren’t as strong as actual construction nails. 

They look like finish nails (same size) but have rounded heads. You can also use regular 16-penny common nails, just make sure not to pre-drill them (just hammer them in) or else they will split your wood. The real problem with common nails is that they leave holes when you take them out, so for big jobs, it might be better to splurge on construction staples or pneumatic fasteners if possible.

Why Is It a Bad Idea to Put Up Paneling Without Drywall?

A firefighter trying to control fire on a burning house.

Paneling, like wood paneling or gypsum board, is flammable. If it touches any portion of your home that is heated by a furnace, stove, or fireplace, it poses a fire hazard. 

If it catches on fire and you don’t have an automatic extinguisher nearby, you could be in for a rough ride if there’s no one to help. 

Also, your wall will not be soundproof at all. Paneling is made of a thin layer of wood which isn’t enough to keep out noise. 

If you want to achieve soundproofing, you’ll need to add another layer of drywall or plasterboard. It’s much easier to do it right from the start than to try to fix it later!

If you’re looking for a way to add character and texture to your home without compromising safety – consider using wainscoting instead! It’s a great alternative that doesn’t pose any fire hazards and can still give your home that rustic charm.

What Is Wainscoting?

A living room with rustic sofa and flower vase.

Wainscoting is a type of wall decoration similar to paneling. It is different in that it has grooves and is typically wider than typical board widths. 

The panels are usually attached with adhesive as opposed to using nails or screws. Wainscoting can be finished with paint, wallpaper, or other materials. 

In large areas such as stairwells and hallways, chair rails or baseboards would typically complete these walls for an even more finished look. It is also used for areas where wood could become damaged if nailed into place.

What’s the Point of Putting Up Paneling Without Drywall?

It can save money if a lot of money has already been spent on materials or because it allows for a unique texture or color scheme. Paneling adds value to your home in its own way, so it’s not just a question of “Does it look good?”, but also “Is it worth what I paid?” 

Ultimately, saving money is one of several good reasons to install paneling without drywall. But it all depends on your goals and circumstances – if your budget is limited, then DIY might be your best bet!

Check the Building Codes in Your Area

Protective equipment and a gavel.

Before getting started, it’s important to check with your local building codes department and make sure installing paneling without drywall is even allowed. Not all communities allow homeowners to install paneling or other coverings over bare brick, plaster, or other walls. 

It’s also a good idea to check with your insurance company in case anything goes wrong; you may be required to install fire-resistant drywall if your area requires it by law. Having these requirements in place will save you lots of trouble (and money) down the road.

Although many homeowners opt to install paneling over bare walls, doing so may lower your home’s resale value. If you plan on selling in a few years, it might be worth investing in some fire-resistant drywall before beginning your project.

What Is the Average Building Code Standard for Installing Paneling Without Drywall?

In America, it’s rare to see anything less than 1/4th inch thick installed without something in between. Still, regulations can vary by region. 

For example, in states like California and Oregon, a form of thin material called Melamine or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) is commonly used in place of standard 1⁄4-inch material. Some builders will specify thicker material for everything except baseboards—which generally get nailed directly to studs with plastic nails since they don’t bear weight. 

Whatever your region, always follow building codes and make sure that whatever paneling materials you use are sufficient for their intended purpose.

How to Tell if There Is Already Drywall Behind Wood Panels

An old woman eavesdropping in a wall.

There are a few ways to check if there is already drywall behind your wood panels. For one, see if you can see any of it peeking through cracks or holes in the paneling.

You can also tap on it and listen for a change in sound. If it’s hollow, then there is most likely no drywall behind it.