Re: Wierd wall material
Sounds like something that once went by a trade name of "Fir-tex". It is still used in some places as a sound barrier. Reparing it is nigh unto impossible.
You could put paneling over it, but I think you'll find that it lacks the strength necessary to support the paneling. Over time, the paneling would warp and end up looking just as bad, and it would be more susceptible to getting holes punched in it. I don't know what the fire code implications are; I doubt it has the same fire rating as drywall.
My personal preference would be to rip it down and put up gypsum drywall (Sheetrock). If taping drywall joints isn't your thing, you could put the paneling over the drywall, then it would have the proper support and probably look pretty good.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.