Installing Beadboard Panels

How to Instructions on Installing Beadboard Panels

By Mark J. Donovan

Installing beadboard in a room or hallway is a great way to combine functionality and aesthetics at the same time. Beadboard is perfect for installing on the lower half of walls in heavily used areas of a home, as it helps to hide scuffing and marring that would otherwise show up if the walls were just drywall. Normally beadboard is installed on the lower half of walls and is capped off with a piece of trim that rests on top of it. Many people paint the beadboard but just as many people simply clear coat seal it so that the natural wood shows through.

Beadboard doesn’t need to be installed by a professional carpenter. It is certainly a project that can be tackled by a DIY homeowner.

Instead of using beadboard tongue and groove strips, beadboard panels can be used to simplify the installation. Beadboard panels come in 4’x8’ sheets that can be cut to size with a table saw and then nailed to existing drywalled walls. They are then capped off with a piece of trim cap molding. When installed the beadboard panels look identical to a beadboard tongue and groove strip installation.

Prior to installing beadboard panels, the panels themselves should be placed in the room that they are to be installed in for at least a couple of days. This allows the panels time to acclimate and stabilize to the room temperature and humidity levels.

Installing beadboard panels requires basic carpentry tools including; a table saw or skill saw, miter saw, hammer, chalk line, screwdriver, tape measure, level, pencil, safety glasses and a paint brush.

In addition to beadboard panels, for materials you will need; trim cap rail, finish nails, baseboard trim, corner molding, polyethylene plastic, and paint or polyurethane.

Installing Beadboard Panels

First, remove any baseboard trim from the wall(s) you plan to install beadboard panels on, as well as any electrical outlet or switch plate covers.

Next, start in one corner of the room where you plan to install the beadboard panels and make a pencil mark on the wall at the desired height of where the beadboard panels should come to.

Then use a level and pencil, and/or a chalk line, to extend a line along the length of the wall or room at the height of your initial pencil mark.

Here I installed beadboard paneling along the base of this window seat.

Now cut a beadboard panel to the height of your mark minus ¼ of an inch. Then place it up against the wall in the corner where you first made your pencil mark. Line it up so that the top of the panel is even with the pencil line / chalk line. You should see a ¼ inch gap between the bottom of the beadboard panel and the floor. The gap allows for thermal expansion.

As you hold the first beadboard panel in place, observe if you will need to trim the edge of the beadboard panel to ensure it sits plumb with the wall. It is extremely important that the vertical lines of the beadboard are perpendicular to the floor. If trimming is required use your table saw or skill saw to do so.

After trimming the beadboard panel to ensure it is plumb, place the panel up against the wall again so that the top of it is coincident with the line you drew on the wall. Again, you should have a 1/8 inch gap between the bottom of the panel and the floor. Also, make sure to leave a ¼ inch gap between the corner of the wall and the edge of the beadboard panel. Again, this is to allow for thermal expansion. Also make sure to leave a 1/8 inch gap around door frames, windows, and electrical outlets and switches.

Fasten the beadboard to the wall using finish nails. It is important that you nail the beadboard panels into wall studs. Also, make sure to use finish nails that will penetrate into the wall studs 3/4th of an inch to 1 inch in depth.

In addition, space the nails approximately 6 to 8 inches apart along the edge of the beadboard panels. However, make sure the nails are placed about ½ inch in from the edge of the beadboard panels.

If you are installing beadboard panels in a basement or other high moisture area, make sure to use non-corrosive nails. In addition, tack up a sheet of polyethylene plastic to the wall prior to installing the beadboard panels. The plastic will serve as a moisture barrier and will help to protect the beadboard panels.

Once the first beadboard panel has been installed your work gets easier. Cut additional pieces of beadboard panels and continue to fasten them to the walls as you work your way around the room. If you trimmed and installed the first beadboard panel so that it was plumb, the remaining panels should not need trimming. Make sure to fully nail a panel in place before installing the next one.

After all of the beadboard panels have been installed, fasten the trim cap rail on top of it using finish nails. The trim cap rail should be nailed such that it is secured to the wall studs. You will need to use your miter saw for cutting the trim cap rail.

Next, install baseboard trim to the bottom of the panels, and in the corners attach corner molding pieces to hide the beadboard panel corner seams. Also install trim pieces along door and window frame edges. Again, you will need to use your miter saw for cutting the baseboard trim and corner molding/trim pieces.

Lastly, apply a couple of coats of paint or clear coat polyurethane to the beadboard panels to complete the project.

Dress Up Your Home with Crown Molding – For specific instructions on installing crown molding see the “Installing Crown Molding Ebook“.  The “Installing Crown Molding Ebook” will show you how to properly measure, select, cut and install crown molding like a professional carpenter.  It provides detailed instructions on every step in the process of installing crown molding and includes 28 instructional pictures! Order and Immediately Download today!. 100% Money-Back Guarantee if you are not satisfied.

For information on installing Window and Door trim see’s  Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook and  Installing Interior Door Trim Ebook.  These Ebooks are loaded with pictures and provide easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window and door trim.

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