Reclaimed Wood Paneling Care & Maintenance

Similar to wood flooring, the environment must be maintained for wood paneling to perform properly. Far less maintenance is required for paneling as compared to flooring. Below is general care and maintenance for wood paneling. For further information, please consult with a licensed wood flooring and paneling professional or the NWFA at 800.422.4556 or NWFA.org.

  • To remove dust on non-smooth surfaced paneling (textured, weathered or naturally distressed), use a brush with gentle bristles. A light touch with a horsehair brush is a good choice. Use caution, as aggressive brushing can remove the patina. To protect the aesthetic of non-smooth surfaced paneling, minimize dusting, doing so only when necessary.
  • To remove dust on smooth surfaced paneling, wipe using a slightly damp soft clean cloth. Treated dust clothes, commercially made hardwood cleaners and commercial waxes are not recommended. Use caution when applying water to wood paneling – excessive water will damage the wood. Please see appropriate care and maintenance products listed below for routine use.
  • Use caution when cleaning items near wood paneling, such as tables or counter tops, with cleaners not recommended for wood paneling. Be aware and protect from the possibility of overspray. Remove any overspray immediately as it can dull and damage the finish.
  • To prevent artwork from marring the wall surface, apply protective bumpers to the back of the artwork. Bumpers will also hold the artwork away from the wall allowing for air circulation around the frame.
  • As a general rule, a humidity level of 30-to-50 percent and a temperature range of 60° to 80°F is recommended for wood paneling. Use a humidifier in dry conditions or dehumidifier in damp conditions. In some climates, the ideal humidity range may be 5% higher or lower.
  • Do not allow the environment where your wood paneling resides to experience rapid fluctuations in temperature or relative humidity.
  • Do not turn off HVAC systems or reduce heat or AC too drastically when on vacation or when leaving the space for extended periods of time.


Wood Paneling Long-Term Care & Maintenance:

Unfinished Weathered or Naturally Distressed:

  • No long-term maintenance is needed.

Polyurethane Finishes:

  • With proper care, wood paneling finished with polyurethane will not need to be refinished. If the paneling finish is damaged due to chemical exposure or abrasion, the material will need to be sanded and recoated with polyurethane or oil.

Oil Finishes:

  • Surface scratches, dents and stains can be spot treated by rubbing a small amount of oil into the area and buffing it with a cotton cloth until the affected area blends with the surrounding paneling.
  • An oil recoat may be needed if the wood surface becomes rough and dry. Paneling finished with deep penetrating oils will need to be refreshed sooner than paneling that is finished with build oil finishes. Deep penetrating oils continue to saturate into the wood and eventually leave the surface dry and starved. Build oils penetrate about 200 microns, react with the cellulose in the wood floor and become solid, thus providing better protection.


Care & Maintenance Products:

  • Bona provides a complete line of industry-standard care and maintenance products designed for polyurethane finishes (www.bona.com). Should the paneling need to be refinished, consult a wood flooring and paneling professional.
  • The wood finish company Rubio, provides high-quality, low-VOC care and maintenance products designed for oil finishes (www.rubiomonocoatusa.com). If the original oil finish was Rubio Monocoat Oil, use Rubio Monocoat Refresh when the surface feels too dry or rough. If the original oil finish was not a Rubio product, the paneling can be refreshed using Rubio Monocoat Universal Maintenance Oil. If the paneling was finished with a stain or tinted oil, it can be refreshed using clear oil if done prior to any loss of stain.
  • Consult a wood flooring and paneling professional for advice on care and maintenance products best suited to specific installations.  


The care and maintenance information included on these pages is based on recommendations from the NWFA, wood finish manufacturers and other sources. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, due to the variety of reclaimed wood products, finish products, installation techniques, installation conditions and other variables, TerraMai cannot assume any liability or suitability for the use of these recommended techniques or products. It is the sole responsibility of the installer and/or the floor finisher and cleaning professionals to adequately test and determine specific products and applications. Follow all manufacturers recommended application instructions. For more specific information, consult a licensed wood flooring installer or the NWFA at 800.422.4556 or NWFA.org.


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