How to install beadboard

May 10, 2009

You may have guessed by now that the island redo involves beadboard. I just had to cover the laminate -- since I didn't use the primer and the paint was coming off in most spots, I was really over it. 

So I just decided to cover the whole freakin' thing. And I LOVE IT

 So I wanted to show you how to install this luscious stuff. First of all -- if there is any trim on the island, or on the wall you are working with, you'll need a crowbar:
You'll want to use a rubber mallet with it, and this will probably be the most fun you'll have on the whole project. Don't be afraid! 

If you are installing beadboard on a wall, I recommend you remove the baseboards first. You don't have to by any means. It will just look more custom when you reinstall the baseboards over the beadboard. 

On the island, I removed the corner molding and the quarter round. If there are any nails from the molding stuck in the wall/island, just use a wrench to pry them out:
Next up, measure the height you need and cut away. In my laundry room, I did it fairly high, around five feet. In our son's bathroom, I did it at about 33 inches. 

The latter is pretty standard. Basically, any height goes!:

You'll need a good glue, like liquid nails. Put a bead of it along the back of the board:

I recommend nailing them in as well, but you don't have to. It helps to keep the boards secure while you are working and keeps them from moving around while the glue dries. I use a nail gun, but you can just use a hammer and nails. I nail the bottom and top of each board. 

 Use a level and check it. The first piece is most important. And beadboard is sooooo forgiving...if subsequent pieces aren't perfect, you can make them level even if there is some space between them. After it's painted you won't even notice little imperfections:
tips for installing beadboardI find this next step very important -- before you nail each piece, check the next one to make sure they will slip together OK. Then, you'll want to pull the edge of the piece you just glued on up a bit on the side that slides together. 

Then slide your next piece on, and nail in the previous piece. Does that make sense? If you nail one beadboard piece down, it can be really hard to get the next one in, just because it's so close to the wall:
Basically, you just want to keep some "give" when you put up the next piece.

I should mention here that you can also purchase large sheets of "faux" beadboard and have it cut or cut it the size you need. It's just a large panel, so the installation is much easier -- glue the panel up and nail in a few spots to secure it. I just love the look of real beadboard and I think it's fun to install. The pieces lock together kind of like flooring.

Take your mallet and tap each piece into the next one, checking level as you go (or at least every few pieces):
how to install beadboard If you have to work around an outlet, you'll have to use your hand saw to cut shape out that you need. 

To get the vertical cut, (like to the right of the outlet here), I used a blade and scored it well, then just popped it off with a wrench. Especially if you are painting it black, you will never see any little imperfections:
Like I said, beadboard is very forgiving.

Bead board is EXTREMELY easy to install. The hard part is getting the pieces cut. 

A few beadboard installation tips: 
  • If you have a miter saw, this helps immensely. I did most of the island with my miter box and hand saw before my hand was about to fall. off. With the miter saw it was like I had died and gone to heaven. (I cannot believe I haven't bought one till now.) If you have a compound miter saw, make all your cuts beforehand, and installation will be a breeze.
  •  If you don't have a saw, the home improvement store may cut them for you. Their blades are pretty heavy duty and beadboard is not. So they may or may not do it - ask them first. If you don't want to cut them by hand with a miter box, you'll have to find someone who has a saw to help you out.
  • You'll have some spots that will need skinny pieces of molding -- like when you get to the end of a wall. Or you can use dowel rods to small spaces and corners! And again, they don't have to be perfect. Caulk is your BFF.
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  1. I am really considering doing this on my counter in my kitchen! But I also want to do it on the back you think that would be too much?

    Hmmm...I'll have to think about this some more.

  2. Anxiously waiting.....I know this will be another awesome makeover. Can't wait to see the final pics:0)

  3. I love you! You are so cute and so imspiring that it is 9pm and I want to go to Home Depot!

    I am glad you had a great Mother's Day!

  4. Yea! Thanks for this great post! I want to do this to my kitchen island. Can't wait to see the big reveal!

  5. Looking good! Can't wait to see the final pictures! Have a great week!

    Remodeling Guy

  6. Can't wait to see it!!!

  7. I think it's called a pry bar.

    I love bead board! Would have it in every room if I thought I could get away with it. It hides a multitude of sins and looks great just about anywhere. Can't wait to see your pics!

  8. When you showed the pics of the pealing paint on the island I could SO relate! I even primed mine and it is pealing. I plan on attaching beadboard to mine as well.

    Actually, I spent my mother's day measuring beadboard for my kitchen walls. Fun, fun!

  9. Girl, you could probably build and entire house from scratch! Power tools?? You go girl!

    Can't wait to see the pictures when you are finished!

  10. I love what I see of it already!!
    Can't wait for the final product!!

  11. Love this! And this probably (definitely) sounds lame, but I've never seen someone work with real beadboard before. Thanks for taking some of the mystery out of it!

    Glad you had a great Mother's Day. My boy surprised me with a great breakfast in the morning and a really sweet card. I'm liking this whole "celebrate Mom" thing.

  12. I can't quite remember how I ended up on this blog, but I am SO glad I did!! This blog is hilarious, feeds my needs for quick tips, projects, and home renos, and has lots of picutures!! (except today... MmmHmm... not really fair...)

    What a fabulous blog!!!

  13. Hope you had a fun Mothers Day! I love beadboard and just finished installing it in my girls room a couple of months ago. The hardest part was painting it - which isn't even that hard.

  14. I'm thinking about putting this in my play room...I might have to come back and get a refresher lesson. (What am I saying? My hubby will be glad to do it.)

    Can't wait to see it finished!

  15. We have a plain jane staircase that I am going to doll up with wainscotting - thanks for the tutorial and words of encouragement.

    Looking forward to the final !

  16. Great tutorial. I love beadboard. I can't wait to see the final island. Hugs, Marty

  17. Just wanted to let you know that Facebook has a new application called "networked blogs" that list the blogs that the users of facebook follow I wanted to let you know that I entered your blog into their directory and signed up as a follower. I thought you might want to know. I hope you had a good weekend!

  18. I am so thankful to have found your blog a few months back. You are such an inspiration to me! My hubby is gone a lot so that leaves me to be the one to do a lot of the work on the house (if I want it to get done lol). I have been a little scared to use power tools, but seeing you do it makes me want to too! And I want to put beadboard in one of our bathrooms and maybe kitchen so this post is wonderful, thank you!

  19. I made plans to paint my island black after seeing yours(I think we have the same one), now I have to go buy some bead board! I can't wait to see it!!! Really lady....hurry up!

  20. I can't wait to see the finished product! I'm thinking I need to do that to my island now! :)

  21. Wow, you go girl! Listen to you with all of your "tool (wo)man vocab" and stuff! Can't wait to see the pictures!

  22. Ooooh, can't wait to see the finished product!!! :)

  23. So many great tips. And reassuring too. I love when paint covers my marks! I'll be linking.

  24. This is AAAAA++++++ post. It was amazing. I can't wait to start this project....

  25. Great Blog! Wow I have so much reading to catch up on now that I found you! Love the DIY projects you have!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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