How to fill in a seam between wood paneling & drywall

Written by stan mack
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Wood and drywall react differently to temperature and moisture changes. Wood may expand as seasons and weather change, but drywall may not. Consequently, you need to fill any gaps between wood panelling and drywall with a caulk that will allow the two different materials to expand or contract without creating unsightly cracks. Then you can cover the gap with joint compound and paper drywall tape. The final product will be a smooth transition between wood panelling and drywall that will not crack over time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Acrylic silicone caulk
  • Caulking gun (optional)
  • Joint compound
  • Paper drywall tape
  • 6-inch drywall knife
  • 100-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Buy an acrylic silicone caulk. Although other types of caulk or construction sealant may work, acrylic silicone caulk will adhere well to the wood surface and the chalky surface of the drywall. If you are unsure which product to buy, check the product packaging. It will list the materials the caulk will and will not work with.

  2. 2

    Fill the gap with as much caulk as you can without letting any protrude from the gap. Use a caulking gun for best results. These are inexpensive metal braces that hold the tube of caulk and allow you to press a trigger to apply the caulk evenly and consistently.

  3. 3

    Use your finger or a narrow tool to press the caulk deep into the gap. The fuller the gap, the more likely the caulk will be able to maintain the integrity of the joint.

  4. 4

    Allow the caulk to dry.

  5. 5

    Embed paper drywall tape in joint compound over the drywall side of the joint. Lay a coat of joint compound over the joint on the drywall side, but not the wood side. Then apply a piece of paper drywall tape over the joint compound. The paper tape should butt up against the wood panelling but should not cover it.

  6. 6

    Use a 6-inch drywall knife to wipe away the excess joint compound underneath the paper drywall tape. Then apply a coat of joint compound over the top of the tape, hiding it. Allow the area to dry and then sand it smooth with 100-grit sandpaper. It is now ready for paint.

Tips and warnings

  • If either the wood panelling or drywall is loose, the repair will fail. Firmly attach each to the wall, making sure there is no movement.
  • Clean up spilt caulk immediately to avoid the hassle of dealing with dried caulk. If you do need to remove dried caulk, it's usually easiest to use a razor blade to scrape it off.

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