The wall finish is a basic specification for the interior décor of a space and can include painting, wall papering, cladding with tiles or wall panelling. Wood wall panelling enjoys a rich legacy as an elegant interior wall treatment. Wood wall panelling can be a strong design statement in the interiors, but is not the best choice for every interior. Wood as a panelling material has some limitations. Read further for information on the pros and cons of wood wall panelling.
Aesthetics Use of wood wall panelling in interiors is associated with a rich elegance. Colonial and Georgian interiors are examples of the rich legacy of wood wall coverings. Decorative wood finishes like veneers showcase the natural beauty of hardwood. Wood wall panelling provides a smooth clean surface, pleasant to view and touch. Unlike tile cladding, there are no grouting lines which discolour or collect dirt. Panelling may extend to full height or to an intermediate level. Oak panelling is seen in formal interiors or a den or study. Concealing flaws Fixing of wood wall panels makes allowances for concealing flaws and unsightly features like cables and exposed wiring. This is not possible in surface paints or wallpapering. Insulation Wood is a natural insulator and wood wall panels offer good thermal and acoustic insulation. Wood wall cladding combined with upholstery can make for a soft and warm ambience. Repair and replacement The wooden panel can be sanded down and resealed to regain its appearance if its surface is damaged. For extensive damage, the panel can be replaced without much disturbance to the remaining wall.
Timber rot Wood wall panels are not waterproof. On contact with water, they start showing rot in the timber. Once rot sets in, the panel should be sanded down or totally replaced depending on the extent of damage. Deformation Poor installation which does not allow for dimensional changes can cause deformation, bulging and flexing of the panels. Maintenance Wood loses natural moisture in dry internal conditions. Hence, regular maintenance by application of special products to ensure that the moisture is resupplied and sealed is necessary. Products like beeswax help to preserve natural oils. Dated look Wood panelling has a dated look and does not match many of the lighter contemporary styles. It can be an overwhelming feature and does not suit smaller apartment rooms. In order to change the look, painting over panels is possible, but laborious. Waxy surfaces hinder the adhesion between wood and paint. Some wood panels have dark tones and lighter paints may not cover the wood well. Before settling on wood wall panelling as your wall finish, check if it suits the design context.