How to Plaster Over a Wood Wall

Updated February 21, 2017

When remodelling your home, you may want to transform a wooden panel wall. Dark wall panelling is often considered dated; it was popular in homes built during the '60s and '70s. Removing the panelling, or other type of wood wall, from your home may be extremely difficult and damage surrounding wall surfaces. Plaster your wood wall to create a professional-looking wall finish. Once dry, the plaster may be painted with latex paint.

Prepare the room. Take all furniture out of the room or move it several feet away from the wood wall. Place plastic tarps and protective coverings on the floor and remaining furniture and decor items.

Sand the wood wall with a medium-grit sanding block. Wipe down the wall once the entire surface has been lightly scuffed up. This will give the plaster something to grip to and ensure it adheres well.

Fill in the grout or grooves of panelling. Use latex caulk and pile it in the seams or grooves of panelling, if present. Smooth down with a damp rag. Allow the caulk to dry, and repeat the process until the groove is nearly even with the remaining wall surface.

Prime the wood surface with a bonding primer. Roll on the paint with a medium nap roller. Ensure all areas are covered. If the paint seems transparent, add another coat. Do not add excess pressure to the paint roller when rolling on paint. Even, light-handed strokes are all that are necessary.

Add plaster to the entire wall. Open a bucket of premixed drywall compound. Dip a moist 3-inch roller into the plaster and begin spreading the compound onto the wood panelling's surface. Roll in a variety of directions. Using the edge of a drywall trowel or putty knife, knock down any high peaks created by rolling on the plaster. Smooth it out and allow it to dry.

Paint the plaster. Cover the dry plaster with your choice of latex paint. If painting a dark blue or red colour, apply a coat of grey primer or paint first. Use a rough-nap paint roller so all crevices of the plaster are evenly filled and covered with paint. Allow to dry.


Practice your final plaster finish on an old piece of drywall. Ensure that you create the same finish along the entire wall panelling. The plaster should not be very thick. If you do see cracks in the plaster a day after drying, simply smooth in additional plaster with a putty knife and allow an additional day for drying time.


Once you begin plastering the wood panelling or wall, you can no longer remove the plaster. Ensure that you want to remove the look of wood permanently from your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic tarps and protective coverings
  • Medium-grit sanding block
  • Wet rag
  • Latex caulk
  • Damp rag
  • Bonding primer
  • Medium nap roller
  • Premixed drywall compound
  • 3-inch paint roller
  • Drywall trowel or putty knife
  • Latex paint
  • Rough nap roller
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About the Author

Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.