Wood paneling is an excellent addition to any house and can protect your walls from damage. However, even quality wood panels will need to be replaced after 10-15 years. But, instead of throwing the old wood panels away, is it possible to reuse your wood paneling for anything?
You can reuse wood panels to make wooden furniture, hardwood decks, repairs, and exterior siding. Depending on its condition, wood paneling can also be used for wood flooring, bookcases, and shelves. If you can’t salvage much wood, you can use the panels for wooden art.
In this article, I’ll cover some practical ways to reuse wood paneling in your house. I’ll also discuss when to replace the paneling and what you shouldn’t do with reused wood. Read on to find use for your old wood paneling!
Where To Reuse Wood Paneling
When you dismantle old or damaged wood paneling, it’s helpful to know what you plan to do with the wood. Instead of sending it to a dump site, you can reuse the wood for DIY projects, home repairs, wooden furniture, and even art.
How you use the wood panels will depend on how much spare wood you have and how much is salvageable. If you have chemical-treated wood used in paneling, it’s likely that most of the wood is in good condition and can be reused. Even if the wood paneling is very old, you’ll still get many salvageable pieces from a medium-sized room.
If most of the wood is still in good condition, you can reuse it to make furniture or flooring. If the wood lacks the strength to carry weight, you can use it in home decor.
Here are some ideas for reusing wood paneling:
1. Build a Hardwood Deck
If your house doesn’t have a patio or deck, you can use the leftover wood from old paneling to make one. Even fancy wood paneling is made from solid wood, which makes it perfect for building a wooden patio or hardwood deck. If you already have a hardwood deck, you can use the extra wood to expand it to strengthen the deck.
Before building a hardwood deck with reused wood paneling, always ensure you have enough wood for a solid deck. You may have to place the panels together to strengthen them and get the desired thickness for the deck’s base.
It’s always better to use fresh wood for the deck’s base and place the reused wood on top so you can be assured of the deck’s strength. However, there’s no harm in using reused wood paneling to build the whole patio or hardwood deck since reused wood may actually have a better hardness rating than fresh wood.
Did you know that you can reuse deck boards by flipping them? However, you have to be careful about the wood’s conditions. I’ve covered all the items you need to know in a complete guide on the topic. Don’t miss it. [Can You Reuse Old Deck Boards By Flipping Them?]
2. Use Wood Paneling in Exterior Siding
Exterior siding has been an integral part of many homes for centuries and can even be used in modern home designs. The panels used in wooden paneling and exterior siding are very similar, which makes paneling the ideal replacement for siding. You can install siding around your entire house or only on the garden side to protect and insulate the walls.
When reusing wood paneling for exterior siding, you may have to treat the wood with waterproof paint or chemicals if it hasn’t been treated already. You can also paint the siding to blend in with the house’s exterior design.
If your house already has siding, you can keep some of the wood paneling to repair areas where the siding is damaged.
3. Wooden Flooring
Wooden flooring can add a unique natural look to your house and fits in with the traditional and modern architecture. However, wooden flooring is generally more expensive than tiling in terms of material cost per square foot. If the wood from wood paneling is in good condition, you won’t have to deal with the expensive material costs of wooden flooring.
You’ll still have to pay for the installation, and you may have to treat the wood to strengthen it and remove paint and chemicals, but this will still cost you much less than installing fresh wooden flooring.
4. Reuse Wood Paneling To Make Bookcases and Shelves
Another popular way to reuse wood is to make shelves, especially if you don’t have enough wood for siding or flooring. Making a few shelves with reused wood paneling is easy if you have basic DIY knowledge. If you have enough time, you can make a bookcase or even cupboards, depending on your carpentry skills.
The best thing about reusing wood paneling in cupboards or shelves is that it adds a rustic look to your house. You also won’t have to treat it or repaint it unless you want it to blend with your current interior decor style.
If your wood paneling is slightly damaged and you only manage to salvage a few good planks of wood, you can use it for smaller DIY tasks or store it for later use.
5. Make Furniture With Wood Paneling
One of the best ways to reuse wood paneling is to make furniture. Wood paneling uses solid hardwood, which is ideal for making quality wooden furniture. You can add a few panels together to make a simple table and even use the wood to make chairs, wooden sofas, or even a bed.
If you’re removing the wood paneling from all the rooms in your house, you’ll probably have enough wood to make a complete furniture set. However, always start with something that comes within your skill range or hire a professional carpenter to do the job.
While most DIY enthusiasts can make a simple table with reused wood paneling, making a bed from scratch should be left to a professional carpenter!
Nevertheless, you can get creative when making furniture from reused wood, and even a triangular table can add a unique touch to your patio.
6. Use the Wood Paneling for Repairs
If you don’t have time to make furniture or for DIY projects, you can always store it for repairing damaged flooring or siding, or broken furniture. Wood paneling is often already treated with chemicals to preserve the wood and can be used for both outdoor and indoor repair jobs.
When storing the wood paneling, make sure that it’s covered and protected from water and moisture. While the wood may contract and expand slightly due to temperature changes, this is less noticeable in older wood.
Used wood is also ideal for strengthening doors, roofing, and other areas of your house. In fact, older wood is often preferred for repair jobs since it’s already preserved and more affordable than fresh wood planks.
7. Make Wooden Art
If you have old wood planks from wood paneling, why not get creative and use them to make art? If you have extra wood, you can practice sculpturing and improve your carpentry skills by creating wooden artwork for home decor.
Old wood has a unique look and can add a “rustic” look to your home decor. If you don’t have the time or skills to make sculptures or wooden art, you can use wooden paneling for simpler tasks around the house.
Clean the wood and treat it with oiling to create a chopping board or attach legs to longer planks to use as an ironing board. Since wood paneling is hard, there are countless ways to use it around the house.
If you’re out of ideas of what to do with the wood, you can always store it for later.
Where You Shouldn’t Reuse Wood Paneling
Old wood paneling can be used for most DIY tasks that require solid wood, and you can even use it outdoors. However, there’s a proper way to reuse old wood, especially if it’s treated with chemicals.
Here are some things that you shouldn’t do with old wood paneling:
Never Burn Old Wood Paneling
While it may be tempting to use wood paneling as firewood, it’s highly recommended that you don’t. The wood used in home construction is often treated with chemicals that release toxic chemicals when burned.
Old wood paneling may also be painted, which only increases the gasses’ toxicity when burned.
Never Reuse Wet or Fragile Wood Paneling
If you’re replacing your home’s paneling because it’s damaged, you’ll have to be careful about what you can use, especially if you’re using it for flooring or siding. Damp or damaged wood is often unusable even when dried since it loses its strength.
If you don’t have any practical use for your old wood paneling, then it’s best to send the wood to a recycling center. Most wood can be reused, and even wet or damaged wood can be salvaged with chemical treatment.
While it may be tempting to throw old wood paneling at a landfill site, your wood is too valuable to be rotting in the dump yard. You can reuse old wood paneling for everything from making wooden decks to outdoor siding and even DIY furniture.
However, avoid using wood that’s too damaged by water, and never use wood paneling as firewood, as it may release toxic chemicals when burned.