Beauty of beadboard

The DIYer’s Guide: How to install beadboard

Installing beadboard panelling adds a classy touch to any room. Plus, it’s an easy job you can do yourself. We’ll show you the ropes right here. Follow the step-by-step instructions below for a top-quality job.

The basics on how to install panelling

Installing panelling is a quick and easy way to beautify your home, and it’s so versatile. You can install beadboard at the bottom of the wall as wainscot or cover the entire wall. It’s even possible to install a beadboard ceiling.

Beadboard has traditionally been used in kitchens and bathrooms, but it is suitable for almost any room. Adding it as wainscot in a dining room and topping it off with chair rail is a great look.

There is little prep work required because you can install beadboard panelling over drywall.

First, measure the area you want to cover and purchase your materials. Also, collect your tools. You’ll need the following:

  • beadboard panelling—always get a bit more than you measured
  • trim mouldings, if desired
  • hammer and nails or a pneumatic nailer
  • tape measure and pencil
  • circular saw and square
  • caulk gun and construction adhesive
  • set of nails 

Step-by-step guide on how to install beadboard

When you’re ready to begin, follow these steps:

  1. Draw a plumb line with a level at your starting point. This will ensure vertical installation of the panels. Note your floor may not be perfectly level, so don’t rely on just setting the panel on the floor.
  2. Measure and cut your first piece of beadboard. Make sure to cut out notches for electrical outlets or other accessories.
  3. Always test fit before attaching the panel. Make any needed adjustments.
  4. Apply some construction adhesive to the back of the beadboard in a zigzag pattern. 
  5. Press the panel into place. Note: when using adhesive, not many nails are required. Wherever possible, place nails where they won’t show, such as at the bottom and top, which will be covered by trim.
  6. After every 2 or 3 panels, check with your level to make sure the edges of your panels are still plumb. Work your way around the room until completed.
  7. Attach chair rail, baseboard, or other trim in the same way.
  8. Fill any visible nail holes with putty. Use painter’s putty if you will be painting. Find a matching tinted putty if the beadboard is already painted or stained.

If your beadboard is not pre-finished, you may find it easier to paint or stain it before installation.

How to install a beadboard ceiling 

Installing a beadboard ceiling is much the same process. Make sure to start with a line parallel to the walls so that your final piece will be an even width.

You may want to install crown moulding around the perimeter of the room as a finishing touch.

Choosing the best adhesive to install beadboard

Most common construction adhesives will be suitable for installing beadboard and other types of panelling. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure compatibility, especially if the beadboard is made of a composite material rather than wood.

If you need to make a quick repair to a loose piece of panelling or trim, here’s a tip. Try Loctite Extreme Gel. Rather than get out the hammer and nails, this formula will quickly fuse most materials for a strong, long-lasting bond. It’s easy to use and won’t drip or run. It also dries clear for a clean look, even when spanning a gap.