How to Repair Bathroom Wall Panels

Lead Image
  • 6-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 60-130
What You'll Need
Piece of paneling
Utility or drywall knife
Pencil or chalk
Furring strips
Panel adhesive
Finishing nails
Nail set
Putty or spackle
Paint (optional)

If you have damage to your bathroom wall panels, such as a hole, slice, or any other kind of damage, you don’t need to remove the entire panel to fix the problem. Bathroom wall panels can need repairs for a number of other reasons as well, such as installing a new sink or vanity, or moving any existing pipes or plumbing. A simple patch to the paneling can go unnoticed and will provide a much easier fix than removing the panel and replacing it with a new one.

Step 1 - Assess the Hole and Determining Panel Size

Measure the portion of the damaged wall you want to replace, creating an imaginary rectangle or square around the area of the damage that covers it completely. Using this measurement, purchase the appropriate piece of paneling, matching it as closely as you can to the original paneling. If the color doesn’t match, you can use the color of the rest of the paneling to paint over when the repair is complete.

Step 2 - Measure the Patch Area

assortment of tools in a tool belt

Use your damaged bathroom wall panels as a guide, and cut out a rectangle or square shaped patch that covers the entire area of damage. Hold the patch in place, and use chalk or a pencil to trace the area of the rectangle or square. Cut out the area you traced using a utility knife or drywall knife. Try not to cut into any drywall underneath the paneling. You might need a chisel to help pull the damaged paneling away if there is a lot of adhesive. Make sure the patch fits snugly into place without too big a gap.

Step 3 - Replace the Damaged Bathroom Wall Panels

Once your patch hole is cut, use paneling adhesive to attach furring strips to the holes. Attach one furring strip in each corner of the hole, placing it halfway under the existing paneling and sticking halfway out. Let the adhesive dry based on the directions that came with it. Once the adhesive is dry, apply adhesive to the panel patch. Attach it to the bathroom wall panels by nailing it to the furring strips using finishing nails.

WARNING: Some adhesives (such as ones made with epoxy glue) have chemicals that are toxic to breathe in or will irritate your skin if you're not careful. Read your paneling adhesive container's safety instructions, wear gloves and (especially if you have a history of respiratory issues) consider wearing a face mask while using it.

Step 4 - Finish the Repair

Wait until the patch is dry, and use a nail set to sink the finishing nails into the panel. Use wood putty or spackle to cover the nail holes. Caulk or spackle can be used around the perimeter of the patch to make sure it is one with the existing bathroom wall panels. Apply a coat of paint to the new patch if necessary. If the panel doesn’t match, you might want to consider priming and painting the entire wall panel to ensure everything looks smooth.