Published on October 12th, 2015 | by Henri


Covering up old knotty pine

Q.   I have knotty pine tongue and groove wood over 50 years old in entry area that is installed vertically and has been varnished and darkened so the area is very dark. I wish to lighten and brighten this area. Since a large fieldstone fireplace is one wall of the entry, it would be difficult to redo this wood fitted around the stone and also difficult to remove the wood and have a new product built around the stone.

I thought about Sheetrock over the wood but casings around doors will not allow enough space for that.

I wonder if there is a recommended process to prepare this wood with large cracks between pieces and have either paint or paper applied that would look good and keep it in place without peeling off? Are there some applications of paint that would provide a textured look that could work? Or would a papering application be better?

This is a log home with a country feel that I am attempting to bring about a brighter appearance and keep a cozy look.

A.   You can get ¼-inch thick gypsum board. That should not affect the door trim.

Or, considering the large cracks and the varnish finish, you can choose to apply as light a color plywood paneling as appeals to you. This paneling is very thin and should also work around the door casing. Any competent carpenter or handy person should be able to scribe the paneling to fit the rough lines of the stones.

Other options to lighten up the appearance of the room, are:

  1.  to sand the varnish enough to remove any sheen left after all these years and to apply several coats of a light stain;
  2. to coat the paneling with B-I-N and paint it with your choice of light color latex paint;
  3. to hang heavy liner paper horizontally over the paneling, followed by hanging a wallpaper of your choice vertically over the liner. The liner should bridge cracks if they are not too wide.
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