How to Install Garage Wall Paneling

Dark wood paneling
  • 4-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150-800
What You'll Need
FRP paneling sheets
Powdered caulk
Caulk gun
Panel adhesive
Wood stain
4d finish nails
Panel adhesive
Stud finder
Pry bar
Plumb bob
Tape measure
Circular saw
Clamped straightedge
Carpenter's level

Garage wall paneling will do much to improve the durability of your garage as well as its appearance. The recommended type of material to install as paneling is called fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), which creates a condensation-resistant and low-maintenance wall surface.

Step 1 - Fit Panel Sheets

Most wall paneling sheets are available in dimensions of 4 x 10 feet, 4 x 9 feet, and 4 x 8 feet. Some manufacturers offer paneling in sixty-inch wide measurements. Measure the dimensions of your garage walls and select enough panels to fit. FRP paneling comes in thicknesses of at least 3/8 inches, allowing you to fasten them directly to the wall framing without adding an additional wall board.

Step 2 - Locate Wall Studs

using a stud finder to mark a stud

Start at the corner of your garage farthest from the entry, and use the stud finder to locate the center of the closest stud to the corner. This should still be less than 48 inches from the corner. Mark a plumb caulk line at each stud; your paneling seams will fall along these lines.

Step 3 - Cut Paneling to Fit

Lay your first paneling sheet face down, and measure the distance from the corner to the first plumb mark. Add one inch to allow for attachment. Cut with the circular saw along the clamped straightedge.

Step 4 - Tack Up Panel

man taking measurement on a wall

Attach the first sheet of paneling to the wall so that the cut edge is one inch away from the corner. Make sure the opposite and finished edge is flush. Temporarily nail the top of this paneling to the wall. Open the compass to 1 1/4 inches, and use this to scribe corner irregularities. Remove the paneling sheet from the wall.

Step 5 - Cut Scribe Line

Lay the panel face side up and use the jigsaw to cut along the scribe line. Use a finer-tooth cutting blade to prevent splitting or splintering. This scribed edge will allow the FRP panel to fit flush with the wall.

Step 6 - Apply Stain

painting paneling

Return to the plumb lines at the wall and apply your choice of stain or paint along each line. This is done so that the wall backer will not show through the thin openings at the paneling joints. It is a good idea to select a color that matches the color of the paneling edges; this may be darker than the paneling surface.

Step 7 - Install Paneling

Use the caulk gun to apply panel adhesive to the wall at about six-inch intervals. Attach the panels starting at the top and drive in 4d nails to each stud at 16 inch intervals. Press the paneling against the adhesive once it becomes tacky, and hold it in place for about two minutes. Hang up the rest of the paneling so there is a slight space at the joints; this will allow for expansion due to humid weather.