Can You Use Paneling To Cover Up Lath And Plaster?

Charlie D Paige profile pic

Are you considering updating your living space with paneling? If you have lath and plaster walls, you might be wondering if it’s possible to cover them up with paneling.

The answer is a resounding yes—and it’s not as hard as you may think! Installing paneling is an easy way to give your walls a fresh look without undergoing major renovations.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps necessary for transforming your lath and plaster walls with the help of paneling. We’ll touch on the supplies you’ll need, how to prepare your walls for installation, and more.

Ready to get started? Let’s do it!

Understanding Lath and Plaster Walls

Understanding Lath and Plaster Walls 1

If you’re trying to cover up old lath and plaster walls, the first thing you need to do is understand what lath and plaster walls are. Lath and plaster walls usually refer to a type of wall that is constructed using thin wooden strips, or “laths”, which are nailed to an inner wall frame.

Plaster is then applied on top of these strips, creating a solid surface.

The resulting wall provides more insulation than other types of walls, is incredibly durable, and does an excellent job of keeping out sound.

However, it can be difficult to get wooden panels or wallpaper to stick on the rough surface left by lath and plaster walls.

Fortunately, there are ways to work around this issue.

With careful preparation and the right materials, it is possible to successfully use paneling to cover up lath and plaster walls. Keep reading to learn more.

Prepping the Wall for Paneling

Prepping the Wall for Paneling

If you’re looking to have a beautiful lath and plaster wall, you may want to consider using paneling to cover it up.

Paneling is a great way to instantly add texture and character to any room while also gaining some extra insulation.

Before you start the process of paneling, it’s important that you properly prepare the walls for the new material.

Start by taking measurements and marking off where the studs are located in your walls.

Next, use a power sander or sandpaper to roughen up the surface of your walls and remove any remaining dirt or debris.

You’ll also want to patch up any visible cracks or holes with spackle and let it dry before moving on.

Finally, use a damp rag to remove any remaining dust particles—now your wall is ready for paneling!

Selecting the Right Paneling Material

Selecting the Right Paneling Material

Now that you know that paneling is the way to go when it comes to covering up lath and plaster, it’s time to think about what type of paneling material might work best.

There are some things you’ll want to consider when selecting the right material:

  1. Durability: How long do you need your paneling to last? Are you looking for something that will stand up to wear and tear over time, or something that’s more temporary?
  2. Appearance: Will the paneling need to match existing décor, or are you looking for something new and different?
  3. Installation: Do you want something easy to install, or are you willing to put in a bit more effort for a professional look?
  4. Price: If cost is an issue, look for cost-effective materials such as wood or vinyl. These can be just as durable as more expensive materials, but come with a fraction of the price tag.

When selecting a material for your paneling project, make sure it fits your needs in terms of durability, appearance, installation, and price, and then get ready to get started on transforming your lath and plaster walls into something new and improved!

Installing the Paneling on a Lath and Plaster Wall

Installing the Paneling on a Lath and Plaster Wall

If you’re thinking about covering up an aging lath and plaster wall, paneling can be an attractive and effective solution.

Here’s what you need to know about installing it.

Preparing the Wall

Before you get to the actual installation, you’ll need to make sure the wall is ready.

For example, if there are any cracks or gaps in the lath and plaster, they should be filled in with joint compound.

Once that’s taken care of, you’ll want to wipe down the wall with a damp cloth to remove dust and other debris.

Getting Started

Now it’s time to get started! If you’re using wood panels, make sure they’re cut to size before putting them up.

You’ll also want to attach furring strips horizontally across the wall as spacers for your panels.

Installing the Panels

The panels should be installed from top to bottom in a staggered pattern (for improved stability) and then secured with nails or screws at least every 12 inches or so.

Once all of your panels are up, go over them with a second layer of nails or screws for extra protection against the elements.

There you have it—covering your lath and plaster walls with paneling isn’t rocket science!

Just make sure that you measure twice before cutting anything, use enough nails or screws for secure attachment, and enjoy your new look!

Finishing Touches to Make Your Walls Look Great

Finishing Touches to Make Your Walls Look Great

One of the great things about using paneling to cover lath and plaster is that you can give your walls that finished, polished look.

Here are some tips on adding the finishing touches to make your walls look amazing:

Paint it

Painting the paneling can be a great way to customize the look of your wall.

You can use bold colors or subtle shades, depending on the look you’re going for.

If you want a classic look, consider using a neutral shade like white or gray.

And if you want a more modern look, try using bright colors for your paneling.

Hang decor

Why not hang some decor to dress up your paneled wall? You could add some art prints, mirrors, or wall clocks as an easy way to add a special touch.

Just make sure to check which types of fixtures work best on paneling—most require nails and screws with special heads so they don’t pull right back out!

Give it texture

You can give your walls extra texture by adding fabric or wallpaper to the panels.

This is also a great way to add a bit of drama and texture — just make sure not to overdo it by choosing fabric or wallpaper that’s too busy or loud!

Using paneling on lath and plaster walls doesn’t have to be boring — with these finishing touches, you can customize it so it looks unique and amazing!

Pros and Cons of Using Paneling to Cover Lath & Plaster

Pros and Cons of Using Paneling to Cover Lath Plaster

Another thing to consider when it comes to using paneling to cover up lath and plaster is the pros and cons.

On one hand, it’s a great way to save time and money since you don’t have to replace the whole wall.

On the other hand, there are some potential issues you might have to deal with.


  • Easy & quick installation process
  • Can add value & aesthetic appeal to your home.
  • Can be painted or wallpapered for added style.
  • Can hide any existing damage or unevenness in the wall.
  • Cost effective compared to replacing entire walls.


  • Not suitable for high levels of moisture, as paneling can warp or swell over time.
  • Fixtures need to be relocated when installing new paneling; this may require additional costs and labor.
  • Existing wiring may not support the weight of new paneling, so you might need an electrician as well as a carpenter for installation.
  • Not all types of paneling are suitable for covering lath and plaster walls; drywall needs a solid backing, which lath and plaster do not provide.


Conclusion for paneling

In conclusion, paneling can be a great way to give an older home a modern and updated look.

While it can be used to cover up lath and plaster, it is important to have the wall inspected first and to use the paneling correctly.

With the right preparation, you can successfully cover up that lath and plaster and create a finished look that will last for years to come.


How do I prepare lath and plaster walls for paneling?

Clean, fill holes, and consider adding drywall or insulation.

What type of paneling is best?

Wood for warmth; vinyl or PVC for affordability and ease of maintenance.

Can I install paneling myself?

It is possible but challenging; hiring a professional is recommended.

Charlie D Paige profile pic
About Charlie D Paige

Charlie is a massive DIY fan, with dozens of DIY projects under his belt - ranging from tiling to electrics, and concrete pads to walls. Charlie loves tinkering, seeing how things works, the outdoors and playing with power tools... so is it any wonder that he's completed so many DIY jobs over the years?

Charlie loves spreading his hard-won DIY experience with the world via this blog.