How to Attach Plywood to Wall | Installation Guide

How to Attach Plywood to Wall

An easy way to update a room’s look is to panel over the walls with plywood. Cut plywood panels to the correct size before you attach them to a wall. Paneling walls also require you to take doors and windows into account. You can easily mount the panels on the walls using adhesive and nails once they are ready.

 What is The Best Way to Attach Plywood to a Wall?

For a simple wall, plywood provides strength and insulation. While foam board provides insulation, this method isn’t as inexpensive as insulating. It is easy to work with exterior plywood in most homes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you install exterior plywood on your walls.

 Part 1: Getting the Panels Ready

Step 1:

Measure the room’s perimeter. Measure the length of each wall in the room and add the wall together to find the edge. The size of plywood you need depends on whether you are paneling an entire wall or just one wall. Calculate how many plywood panels you will need by multiplying the room’s perimeter by the length of the plywood panels.

Using four feet (1.2 meters) wide plywood panels, for instance, you would need six panels if the room’s perimeter is 24 feet (7.3 meters).

You would need four plywood panels to panel one wall that measures 15 feet (4.6 meters) long and 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide. The four panels would equal 16 feet (4.9 meters), so one of the panels would need to be cut 1 foot (0.3 meters) short.

Step 2:

Prepare the plywood panels for use by acclimating them to the room. When they are up on the wall, this will prevent them from warping. In the room, you’re going to panel, lean the panels against one wall. After 24 hours, remove the panels from the room. Let the panels acclimate 48 hours before paneling a basement or room below ground level.

Step 3:

Place the panels according to your preference. You can see their appearance by leaning against the walls once you finish them. Try different arrangements and experiment with different looks. You can experiment with other grains and colors until you find a combination you like.

To determine what order the panels should go in, number the back of the boards with a pencil. You would, for example, start installing in the corner panel of your room and then move to the next plywood panel.

Step 4:

Plywood panels should be cut to size using a saw. The height of the plywood panels must match the distance between the floor and ceiling of the room you intend to panel. If installing ceiling molding, make the panels ¼ inch (0.6 cm) shorter.

Step 5:

If there are any outlets, make the cutouts. Draw a heavy outline around the outlet cover on the wall with chalk. You will need to press the plywood into place over that section of the wall. The chalk outline will transfer to the back of the panel when you tap the area over the outlet. Saw out the chalk perimeter on the plywood after removing the panel. 

Step 6:

If there are any doors or windows, make the cutouts. Identify the start and end points of the panel that will cover the door or window. Assess how far the marks are from the edges of the door or window. When covering a window, measure the height from the floor to the top and bottom of the window. Measure the size of the top of the door from the ground if you are measuring a door.

On the plywood panel, draw the shape of the window or door using the measurements. To cut the, use a saw.

Part 2: Prepping the Walls

Step 1:

Trim the walls if necessary. With a putty knife, pry the trim away slightly by sliding it between the wall and one end of the edge. Remove the border from the wall 1 inch (2.5 cm) with a pry bar. Continue pulling the trim from the wall until you have removed it all. Repeat with all of the frames on the walls you’ll be paneling.

Step 2:

Remove any wallpaper from the walls. Use a sponge or mop to soak the wallpaper in water. Allow the wallpaper to absorb the water for 15 minutes. Once the wallpaper has been on the walls for 15 minutes, scrape it off using a putty knife. If necessary, add more water. Using a gel stripper will help remove leftover paste after removing the wallpaper. 

Step 3:

Uncover any electrical outlets that have receptacle covers. You should first turn off the electricity in the room you are working in by flipping the breaker switch. Electrical panels for houses should contain a button. To remove the receptacles, unscrew the screws with a screwdriver. Put the case and screw in a plastic bag, but don’t lose them.

Step 4:

Make sure the walls are level. To check, use a level. It would help if you placed the edge of the level against the wall section you are reviewing. The wall section is level if the bubble in the tube of liquid lies between the two black lines. The wall isn’t level if it’s off to the side of the lines. Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand down raised sections on the walls. The plywood paneling will work best on a flat surface.

Part 3: Attaching the Paneling

Step 1:

Install panel adhesive on the walls with a caulking gun. In the corner of the room, begin with one wall section. Using the caulking gun, squeeze the handle, so the panel adhesive comes out. Applying the panel adhesive to the wall in a quarter-size amount. On the wall where the first plywood panel will go, repeat this procedure every 10 inches (25.4 cm).

Do not apply the panel adhesive to more than one wall section. Do not move on to another area until the paneling is up on that section. Hardware stores carry caulking guns and panel adhesives.

Step 2:

Place the first plywood panel on the wall and press it into the adhesive. Paneling you want hidden should have the backside facing the wall. With a rolling pin, press the panel well into the glue. 

Step 3:

Hammer 1 ¼ inch (3.2 cm), finishing nails into the top and bottom of the panel. Panels will remain in place with the pins. Place a staple on the top and bottom of the plywood panel every 6-12 inches (15.2-30.5 cm). Hardware stores sell finishing nails. Choosing nails that match the plywood paneling color is a good idea.

Step 4:

Separate each plywood panel in a small space. Make the gap about the thickness of a dime, or 0.05 inches (1.27 mm). Because of the hole, plywood paneling will have room to expand and contract during seasonal changes.

Step 5:

Finish paneling all the walls of the room. Ensure that a gap separates each panel. You may need to replace the panel adhesive in the caulking gun depending on the size of the walls you’re paneling. Using 1 14″ (3.2 cm) finishing nails, you can reattach any trim you removed once the plywood panels are attached to the walls.

How Do Nails Affect Plywood Projects?

The majority of experts recommend using screws over nails when working with plywood. The use of nails with plywood is still every day in many projects. Using pneumatic finish nailers with wood glue and pneumatic finish nails is common.

Understanding how nails hold wood together is crucial to understanding the problems associated with using nails with plywood. It’s important to remember that nails are compression fasteners, which means the wood they’re driven into squeezes or grips the nail shaft. Upon moving a nail into a piece of wood, it punctures it, pushing fibers away to create a hole. 

By springing back against the nail, these wood fibers compress the wood. Water damage to wood occurs first when fasteners are attached, so the pins are most affected when the wood weathers and becomes water damaged. That eliminates nails’ usefulness by removing the compression against them. 

There are other ways to lose compression as well. It is common to nail plywood to the edge of the sheet, using a nail that goes through the thickness of one plywood sheet and then into the edge of the next. The nail may cause the plywood to split, eliminating the compression required for the nail to hold the wood together unless the pin goes into a void in the plywood edge.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way to Stick Plywood to A Wall?

It is possible to hang plywood panels with french cleats to minimize damage to the walls. A screw is driven into one half of the cleat and the other half of the plywood panel. They hook over each other to hold the plywood panel on the wall.

Is it Possible to Nail Plywood on the Wall?

You need to determine how many plywood panels you need before you can attach them to a wall. In addition, you need to consider any doors and windows on the walls you’ll be paneling. You can easily attach the panels to the walls using glue and nails once they are ready.


The most popular wood product on the market is plywood. Plywood comes in various grades and types, enabling woodworkers to do almost anything with it and build something that cannot be made with solid hardwood boards. Plywood is stable and easy to machine, so making the project itself isn’t the issue; the problem comes from finishing the plywood, so it looks right. If spent well, plywood seems as good as any other wood; but if not, people can tell.

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