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faux wood paneling

How to Cut Paneling for Outlets

How to Cut Paneling for Outlets

Whether you want to add a  single brick accent wall, or create a new rustic retreat, faux panels are an attractive, versatile, cost-effective way to overhaul your interiors and exteriors. And one of the best things about using Barron Designs’ polyurethane faux panels is that they are so lightweight and easy to handle, that even a novice do-it-yourselfer can quickly and easily complete a room renovation.

Unlike real wood and stone, which require specific tools and skills to install, faux paneling can easily be installed using common tools found in almost every DIYer’s toolbox, including glue, nails and screws. And while most projects will go off without a hitch, certain spots can cause headaches, particularly for new DIYers. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges you’ll encounter while installing faux paneling is making the proper cut around electrical wall outlets.

Most walls have at least one outlet. In each instance, the hole for the outlet must be cut perfectly to ensure that the panel fits correctly. Having just one incorrect measurement can make for a bad day, so we want to make sure that you get the right fit, and the right cut, every time. There are different ways to approach this task. Here are two ways that we’ve found to be very effective:

Cutting Paneling for Outlets

Method 1: Marking Your Panel

This is a simple way to make sure you cut the panel in the right place. To begin, select the panel or panels that are going to be installed. Lay them out, face down, as you determine exactly where they will be placed on the wall. Before you arrange them, make sure you’ve cut the panels to the appropriate size for the wall. This is something that can  easily be done with a jigsaw.

Cut the panels to the correct size and arrange them as they will be placed on the wall. Go to the wall and outline the perimeter of the outlet with chalk, paint, or white caulk.

Select the panel that needs to be cut to make way for the outlet, and press it against the wall. (If there will be panels on either side of it, be sure you’ve measured accurately and have this panel in its exact location where it will be installed. You can never measure too many times!) The paint, chalk, or caulk will leave an outline on the back of the panel.

If it’s not entirely clear, press it against the wall again to make sure you have the full outline on the back of the panel. Once you have the outline of the outlet, use painters tape to mark it so you’ll have a reliable line to follow as you cut. Now you know exactly where to cut.

While this can be faster and easier than the second method we’re about to discuss, you need to make sure you don’t shift or move the panel while you’re getting the outline, or you could end up with an incorrectly placed imprint.

Method 2: Measuring Your Panel

Measuring the wall is a reliable way to get the proper dimensions, but it’s critical to make sure your measurements are exact. Use a measuring tape to find the distance from the floor to the bottom of the outlet and mark that on the back of the panel with a pen or permanent marker. If other panels will surround the panel you’re installing, put them in place and measure the distance from those panels to the edge of the outlet. (If no other panels are being used in that space, measure the distance from the wall to the edge of the outlet on each side.) You’ll also need to measure the distance from the panel above your current panel to the top of the outlet.

Finally, measure the outlet and, using the distances you have already marked on the panel, draw the square or rectangle on the back of the panel. Before cutting, check the measurements and ensure that all of your calculations are correct.

Cutting Your Panel

Now that you know where you need to make the hole for the outlet, it’s time to make the cut. (Before you do, measure everything one more time just to be sure.) Use a drill to make a hole, then use a jigsaw to cut along the exact outline you’ve marked on the panel.

If you want to better define the cutting path of the saw, use a utility knife to create a guide line that follows the line you created with the marker or painters tape. Then, follow the same process: Use a drill to make the initial hole and follow the path you’ve cut with the utility knife.

Once you’ve cut the hole, the cut-out area will snap out easily. Before using any type of adhesive, place the panel against the wall to ensure that you have a perfect fit around your outlet.

If this is your first time taking on a faux wall panel project, you might have questions. Be sure to read our Installation Instructions thoroughly before starting your project, and if you have other questions, reach out to our design consulting team at 800-651-4223. We’ll be happy to talk you through it!