How to Install Wall Panels with Adhesive

Written by Milan Jara on 22nd Jul 2022

Wall Panels

DIY wall paneling is an inexpensive way to add a wow factor. Learn how to install wall panels with adhesive for glam-looking hallways, bedrooms, and more.

Wall panels never go out of style. If you want to brighten your walls, improve the room's coziness, or create stylistic designs on your drywall, then the go-to solution is wall paneling. If you decide to install wall paneling, you should know that glued-in wall paneling is the most straightforward to install. How?

This article guides you through installing decorative wall panels from start to finish. Hop on while we create statement-making walls using wall panels.

What You’ll Need

Armed with the visual effect you want to achieve, whether lived in, recessed, or custom, and the right tools, you can bring your wall panel vision to life. You must know the type of wall paneling you want: Jacobean, shaker-style, or tongue and groove. Do not shy away if you have zero knowledge of this kind of paneling.

You will be pretty much good to go with some knowledge of the best wall panels to install for your house. To truly transform a room with wall panels, have the following tools and supplies:

  • Sandpaper
  • Construction grade panel adhesive
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Caulk gun
  • Level
  • Rubber roller
  • Tape measure
  • Notebook and pen
  • Jigsaw tooth blade
  • Protective gear
  • Wall panels

Like other woodworking jobs, you may find the need to stock equipment that comes in handy, like a pry bar to pry out nails, a stud finder, and even tin snips. We have covered the bases for the tools you need, and once you have your gear on, it is all green light until the finish.

Faux Brick Wall Panels

Selecting Your Panels

There are multiple panel options to choose from. A quick search online for will show you extensive options, from faux brick wall panels to 3D and laminated skins. The cheapest panels are usually the easiest to install. Many homeowners have shifted from Victorian-era wood paneling to modern tin-plated aluminum panels.

Ultimately, whittling down to a particular panel depends on personal preference and little architectural consideration. Using a tape measure, measure the length and width of the wall to buy the correct size of wall paneling. Add 10% extra length to cover trimming, cutting, and other installation needs. Remember, it doesn't hurt to buy additional feet of wall paneling, especially since you will have to wrap it around windows and doors.

Once you purchase your panels, set them in the room for 24-48 hours for them to acclimate. Place the panels on the wall with the sheen facing up with scrap boards as spacers.

3D Wall Panels

How to Install Wall Paneling with Adhesive in 5 Simple Steps

Installing wall paneling is a simple DIY task. With basic carpentry skills and our tools list, you will be done in a day, with time left over to post your unique “after” pictures on Instagram. Gear up with your goggles, gloves, and mask before undertaking the installation.

1. Prep the Wall

Using the level, measure to see if your walls are plumb. If they are not, you will need to install furring strips to create a level surface before installing the panels. Assuming your house was built by a reputable contractor, it is safe to assume your walls are flat.

Remove any material from each electrical outlet and any nails, light switches, and baseboard trims. Ensure you don't damage anything you intend to reuse, like trims. Leave only the paint on the drywall. Use a putty knife to scrape any wall surface-level imperfections. Sand the wall using 180- or 220-grit sandpaper to remove sheen and buff away the remaining debris. Once the wall is prepped, proceed to the next step.

2. Prep the Panels

It is important to test fit your panels beforehand. Before questioning us for doubting your accuracy, it is essential to remember that during installation, you may find some edge's lengths coming short and others long.

Lay the paneling flat, determine the centerpiece, and mark it. Also, visualize the final pattern and arrange the panels according to the design. Using your pencil and tape measure, draw a straight line from the ceiling to the base. If you had crown molding, you might need to remove it before drawing the line.

Proceed to clean the backside of the panels with isopropyl alcohol and dry it. Use a lint-free cloth or cotton wool to apply the alcohol. Cut out the templates for electrical outlets using a jigsaw tooth blade if you can’t remove the outlets.

3. Install the Panels

Ensure the panels fit the drywall by test fitting them before installing. Use a level to ensure the sheets are plumb. Using a caulk gun, apply adhesive to the back of the wall paneling. In our practice, there are different kinds of bonds. Usually, when you buy a panel, it comes with its recommended adhesive.

Construction adhesive works well, but if you want to improve your walls' sound dampening properties, use sound dampening adhesive that prevents sound from seeping through the walls. Apply the adhesive in a zigzag manner to ensure the adhesive spreads evenly on the panels.

Place the panel on the wall and press it onto the wall. Start from the back wall, then proceed to the side wall. Having an extra pair of hands is best to help you balance the panel. If you don’t have an assistant, draw straight lines to guide you in installation. Use a rubber roller to hold the panels in place firmly.

If you use wood panels, leave a gap of about ¼ inch for seasonal wood expansion. Install the rest of the panels in the pattern that is on the manual. You can blend in different panels for a unique look.

4. Apply Seam Sealer

When installing panels, there are seam spaces between each panel. Apply seam sealer in between the seams to ensure the tiles interlock. Some tiles have extended lips that insert into the groove of the next tile. Clean off excess seam sealer and leave the panels to dry.

5. Finishing Up

For the outside corner, order a bullnose tile or taper the end. For inside corners, you can fill them with caulk if there are glaring spaces. Fill up any holes with caulk of the same color as the panels. You will not have any holes if you install the panels to accurate sizes. Clean up any debris and store the tools in your garage. Take the beautiful “after” pictures and post them.

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