Installing paneling is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to upgrade an area and to disguise concrete walls. Although there are a few challenges, most weekend do-it-yourselfers can install paneling over concrete walls.
Prepare the Walls
Make sure the walls are properly sealed. This is perhaps the most important step to successfully installing paneling on concrete walls. If the walls are in the basement, this is even more critical because there is more of a chance they will leak.
Check the outside of the house and channel any water away from the house by digging trenches or putting in drains. Make sure there is nowhere for water to puddle next to the wall.
Clean the interior walls, making sure any mold or mildew is removed.
Paint a specially formulated concrete wall sealer on all walls and let dry for the recommended amount of time.
Attach Furring Strips
Cut the furring strips to fit horizontally along the top and bottom of the wall and attach using concrete screws.
Cut the remaining furring strips to fit vertically between the top and bottom strips at 16-inch intervals. Attach with adhesive.
If you are using insulation, install it in between the vertical furring strips with staples or adhesive according the manufacturer's instructions.
Cut the paneling to size as you go, cutting the larger pieces with the table saw and the smaller cuts, like for electrical sockets, with the jig saw.
Apply the adhesive to the furring strips only on the areas where you will work with immediately.
Nail the paneling into the top furring strip to hold it in place.
Push the paneling up against the adhesive then pull it away for a minute or two to allow the adhesive to become sticky.
Press the paneling firmly into the adhesive. Continue with the rest of the paneling.
When the walls are completely paneled, you can apply corner trim and baseboards with paneling nails or adhesive.