How to Flatten Buckled or Warped Paneling

If a portion of wall paneling has lifted or buckled, you can fix it. Hammer a few nails into the groove where it’s buckled. If the extra nails hold it flat, countersink them and fill the surface with a premixed wood putty.

If the panel still pulls up, take the panel off the wall and reglue it. You need a putty knife, pliers, wood adhesive, a hammer, paneling or finish nails, and a touch-up stick. Here’s what to do:

  1. Use a stiff putty knife to lift the panel.

  2. Press the panel back down and pull out the nails.

    They should be easy to get at if you lift the panel first.

  3. Apply the adhesive to exposed studs, furring strips, or the drywall.

    Furring strips are narrow strips of wood used either to raise the surface, level the surface, or otherwise smooth out a rough surface to prepare it for paneling.

  4. Let the adhesive sit and then push the panel firmly against the adhesive.

    The adhesive should feel thick but sticky before you try to reattach the panel.

  5. Nail the panel in place by starting in the center and working outward.

    Sink the nails into the grooves as much as possible; they won’t be as noticeable there. Use the touch-up stick to hide scratches or the nail heads, if necessary.

  6. If any adhesive comes out of the seams, and it cleans up in water, wipe it off immediately with soapy water.

    If you’re using an oil-based adhesive, leave it in place until it until it dries, then cut it off with a utility knife.

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