After several years, you may want to repair, revamp or replace your interior walls depending on their condition. If you would like to replace wood paneling with drywall, it is essential to know the project’s average cost. You can ask for several estimates from different contractors and make a comparison.

On average, replacing wood paneling with drywall costs about $2 to $4.50 per square foot, including material and labor. The actual cost for the project depends on how long it takes to take down the wood panels. Thicker wood panels may require special cutting tools and may take longer to demolish.

The size of the project, location, condition, and finish options will also dictate the project’s final price. Your contractor should give you a detailed estimate for the job to help you plan your budget.

Cost to Replace Wood Paneling With Drywall

The following table provides you with an outline of the average cost to replace wood paneling with drywall.

DescriptionQty.Cost range
Cost to remove paneling & replace with drywallPer sq. ft.$2 - $4.50
Cost to remove paneling & replace with drywall12 x 12 room$288 - $648
Paneling removal cost (sq. ft.)Per sq. ft.$0.50 - $1.0
Paneling removal cost (room)12 x 12 room$72 - $144
Remove/ Replace 2 rooms2 rooms$576 $1,296
Remove/ Replace 3 rooms3 rooms$864 - $1,944
Remove/ Replace 4 rooms4 rooms$1,152 - $2,592
Remove/ replace Cost per 1,500 sq. ft. house1,500 sq. ft.$3,000 - $6,750
Labor cost1 hour$60 - $100
Labor cost12 x 12 room$200 - $600

Cost to replace wood paneling with drywall per square foot

The average cost to replace wood paneling with drywall is approximately $2 to $4.50 per square foot. This cost largely depends on how long it takes to demolish the wood paneling. Thinner panels are easier to remove, while thicker panels may take longer.

Installing drywall ranges between $1 and $3 per square foot. To get a better price for the job, you should hire contractors that can demolish the wood panels and install drywall. Getting separate professionals for the job may be quite costly because each expert will give you their own estimate.

You can remove the panels yourself to reduce the total project cost if you have time. However, if the demolition requires special tools, you may consider letting professionals handle it.

Cost to replace wood paneling with drywall

Cost to just remove wood paneling

The national average cost to remove wood paneling is about $0.44, with a typical range of $0.33 to $0.55 per square foot, including labor and materials. You can pay about $0.30 per square foot on the low end, while the high end can be up to $1.0 per square foot depending on the job’s complexity, location, and the finish options you select.

For a 500 square foot project, you can spend about $218.99 on average to remove wood paneling, with a typical range of $162.86 to $275.12. The average cost for materials alone is about $0.19, coming in between $0.18 and $0.20 per square foot. So, if you wish to DIY the project, the cost of materials is relatively low.

Can you put drywall over wood paneling?

Yes, you can install drywall over wood paneling as long as it is in good condition. Although paneling was a popular wall covering for most homes, most people now prefer materials with better insulation.

Removing wood paneling can be daunting, time-consuming, and costly, making most homeowners opt to drywall over the panels. This is a workable solution provided the wood panels are in good condition and the installation is done correctly.

Is it Cheaper to drywall over wood paneling?

Yes, it is relatively cheaper to drywall over wood paneling because you will not incur demolition costs. Demolishing wood panels ranges between $0.33 and $0.55 per square foot on average. The price can be as high as $1.0 per square foot if the panels are thicker.

If your drywall over wood panels, you may spend about $1 to $3 per square foot for the installation rather than $2 to $4.50 per square foot for the demolition and installation cost.

So, if your wood panels are still in a great state, you can decide to drywall over them to save on the total cost. Your contractor should be able to guide you on this.

Cost to replace wood paneling with drywall by number of rooms

The cost of replacing wood paneling with drywall differs depending on the size of the project. Below is the price for different numbers of rooms.

2 rooms

On average, replacing wood paneling with drywall in two, 12 x 12 rooms may set you back by approximately $576 to $1,296. The actual price for the project may vary depending on the complexity of the job. Make sure you check with your contractor to ensure the provided estimate covers all the aspects of the job at hand to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

3 rooms

The average cost to remove wood paneling and replace it with drywall in three rooms is about $864 to $1,944. Different contractors may give you slightly different rates, so it is essential to compare several quotes to determine the price range.

When choosing a professional, always go for the most reasonable price. Low rates reflect the quality of the services you may get. On the other hand, you may pay too much for the job and get disappointed by the results.

4 rooms

On average, replacing wood paneling with drywall in four rooms may set you back by approximately $1,152 to $2,592. As the size of the project increases, the cost per square foot decreases. So, it may be relatively cheaper to complete more rooms at a go than in a single room.

For this reason, it is better to handle the project all at once than to work in bits. However, some people may prefer working bit by bit with the money they have. If you can wait a few months to save enough money for your project, you may save a lot more than working on one room at a time.

Cost to replace wood paneling with drywall in 1,500 sq. ft. house

The approximate cost to replace wood paneling with drywall in a 1,500 square foot house is $3,000 to $6,750. As mentioned above, the average price for a bigger project may be lower than for a smaller one. So, if you have enough cash for the project, it is better to handle it all at once than working in bits.

Also, it is better to hire contractors who can handle both the demolition of the panels and the installation of drywall. This is because it may be costlier to hire separate contractors to demolish, install drywall, and texture or paint the walls. Before you hire a contractor, ensure you interview them and compare their rates first. This will help you select the best contractor with the most reasonable rates.

Labor cost to replace wood paneling with drywall

Most contractors charge approximately $60 to $100 per hour to replace wood paneling with drywall. Removing the panels alone may cost about $15 to $40 per hour. The cost becomes much higher when drywall installation is included.

This project may last from a few hours to several days. So, it is advisable to request the professional contractor to give you an overall estimate. This is because hourly rates may be unreasonably high if the project takes more than a day. More so, fixed rates may be cheaper than hourly rates because the cost remains unchanged no matter how long the professional takes to complete the task.

Is Drywall more expensive than paneling?

Although installing drywall is a comprehensive project, it may be relatively cheaper than paneling. This is because wood paneling requires more attention for cutting and trimming. More so, the project may take more time to install and cost more than drywall.

A cheap and fake wood panel of 3/16 inches or a patterned panel may cost about $10 per panel, while a real, more decent wood veneer may cost up to $40 per panel. On the other hand, regular drywall costs about $9 to $12, while specialty drywall can be up to $90 per panel. Although drywall sheets may be more expensive than wood paneling on average, the installation cost may be cheaper because it takes fewer hours than installing wood panels.

Is Drywall more expensive than paneling worker

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

The question is whether you should hire a professional or DIY the project depends on what you want. If you decide to handle the task yourself, you should ensure you have all the materials, tools, and protective gear necessary for the project. You should also set aside enough time to complete it. Hiring a professional is a better option if you do not have enough time and skills.

Do It Yourself

If you are a handy person, then you can DIY almost every project. Most homeowners prefer handling the jobs on their own because it keeps them busy, and they get a chance to improve their skills. Below are several pros and cons of DIY jobs.


  • Starting and completing a project on your own gives you fulfillment.
  • DIYing the project is incredibly cost-effective.
  • It gives you a chance to improve your skills.
  • You will be your own project manager, which means you have the freedom to work as you please.


  • The project may take too long
  • Removing wood panels and installing drywall is not a task for beginners
  • You may injure yourself during the job
  • You will be responsible for damages and injuries caused during the project
  • The job may not have a professional look, which may lower the resale value of your home.

Hiring a Professional

If you decide to hire a professional, ensure you get the best contractor for the project. Hiring a pro has its own advantages and disadvantages, as outlined below.


  • Installations done by pros look outstanding. This may boost your home’s resale value.
  • Pros have been handling similar projects for a long time to finish them within the set deadline.
  • Leaving a project to professionals gives you peace of mind.
  • There will be lower damages and wastes.


  • Labor costs tend to be about 70%of the total cost of the project
  • Pros may not personalize the vision you have
  • No matter how good the pros claim to be, you never have a guarantee of good results.


Besides drywall, you can replace wood paneling with materials such as:

  • Veneer plaster
  • Plastic panels
  • Lath and plaster
  • Pegboard
  • Cement board

Each of the above options has its advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to know their benefits and drawbacks to determine the best option for your walls. Since the materials cost differently, you should determine their installation cost early on plan your budget.

There are several materials you can replace wood paneling with. These include drywall, pegboard, veneer plaster, cement board, and plastic panels. Drywall is one of the best materials for ceilings and walls. It is inexpensive and durable, making it a top choice for most homeowners.

Instead of replacing your wood paneling, you can revamp it to give your home a whole new look. Some of the revamping ideas include painting the paneling, whitewashing them, hiding the panels under outstanding wall art, turning them into regular walls, etc.

There are several things you need to compare first before concluding whether drywall is better than wood paneling. For instance, when it comes to R-value, drywall is much better than paneling. Drywall is also easy to repair because you can mud and patch holes.

On the other hand, wood paneling is thinner, which means its insulation is low. Besides, you cannot repair it without removing the whole section, which is quite frustrating.

To know whether drywall is behind wood paneling, you can carefully remove a small piece of trim, molding, or light switch cover. You can also pop out a few nails on a hidden section of the wood paneling. Any of these options will allow you to see whether there is drywall behind the wood paneling.

Drywall is one of the cheapest materials for interior walls. One sheet goes for about $9 to $15, depending on its size and installation cost per square foot. Other more affordable options include wood planks, plywood, and plastic panels. To determine the cheapest option, you can ask for a quote for each wall material. Before you select any interior wall material, consider its longevity, insulation, and soundproofing first.

FAQ’s replace wood paneling with drywall

Benjamin McInerny
Author: Benjamin McInerny - is a qualified arborist and a DIY Home Improvement enthusiast. Ben has a extensive experience on renovation projects including, mold removal, painting, fence installation and more. Ben shares his skills with DIY and gardening enthusiasts.