Beadboard wainscoting has a classic look that never goes out of fashion. Conventional tongue and groove beadboard may be significant chore to put in, but you can get a similar appearance with beaded hardboard boards, and the practice is comparatively straightforward.
Beaded hardboard paneling is an engineered wood product, generally made from MDF (medium density fiberboard) or a ecofriendly hardboard, also comes in a number of finishes. My loved ones and I gave these panels a shot in our little bathroom for a classic decorative finish that will safeguard our bathroom walls from tear and wear.
We chose Georgia-Pacific’s True Bead ready-to-paint 4-by-8 foot panels. You can also find beadboard kits which include paneling, baseboard and chair rail trim, but we created a custom beadboard/board and batten treatment with Engineered timber, MDF and casing.
Note: Feel free to replace any all-wood material for MDF. Wood generally holds up better in a damp environment like a bathroom, although we’ve never noticed any issues with our MDF.
Tools and Stuff:
• Beadboard MDF paneling (comes in 8-foot-wide sheets)
• Grade and measuring tape
• Chalk line
• Construction adhesive (such as Liquid Nails)
• 11/2-inch finishing nails or brad nails
• Hammer or finishing nail gun
• Nail set
• Handsaw, table saw or circular saw
• Miter saw or miter box/hand saw
• 1- by 6-inch primed whitewood
• 11/16-inch by 31/2-inch MDF (used for backer board)
• 1- by 2-inch primed whitewood
• 9/16- by two 1/2-inch MDF (used for battens)
• 3-inch decorative fiberboard casing
• Paintable caulk (such as Dap 3.0) and a caulking gun
• Semigloss interior paint
Ready the room for setup by carefully removing all baseboard trim so that it can be reused. Eliminate all socket and switch hardware and covers from the walls. Eliminate the toilet if needed. Leave any window trim.
If you would like to upgrade the wall paint, do this prior to setup. Paint the wall down into a couple inches lower than the beadboard’s finished height.
When choosing your panels, pay proper attention to the status of each panel and read the manufacturer’s directions on the back of the panel for proper setup.
Note: Like all wood products, fluctuations in temperature and humidity may lead to hardboard paneling to contract and expand slightly. Before installation, stand the panels long borders in the area for at least 48 hours in order that they can adapt to the existing room conditions.
Measure from the floor to a desired height (beadboard is usually installed 33 to 48 inches ) and add
⅛ inch to the height to allow for thermal growth. Mark your height and use a level and pencil or a chalk line to mark a line.
Cut your panels to height using a handsaw, table saw or circular saw. Cut the panels up if using a handsaw and confront if using power tools. Make a detailed guide for any cutouts, allowing for a 3/16-inch gap around window trim and a 1/16-inch gap when linking bits. Use a jigsaw to cut holes for sockets or detailed cuts, such as around windows. Be sure to follow the spacing pattern of the beads in the beadboard paneling when joining two pieces together.
Dry fit the paneling into the wall first and make any alterations necessary. Subsequently apply construction adhesive to the back of the plank about 1 inch around the outside edge and in a squiggly line layout in the middle. Put the panel in place and use shims to be sure the panel is level.
Hint: For cuts around sockets, draw around the socket with chalk or pencil. Place the back side of the panel against the wall and contrary to the socket. The chalk outline will move to the back of the panel, which makes you a guide on your cutout.
Firmly press on the paneling against the wall. While the glue is drying, fasten the paneling in place with a couple nails. I prefer using a finishing nail gun for fast and easy nailing. If you’re using a hammer, drill pilot holes for the finishing nails with a 1/16-inch drill bit first, to prevent damaging the board.
Once the paneling is in place, complete it with trim. Attach the 51/2-inch baseboard. Use a level and shims to make sure the board is level. Utilize a nailing gun or hammer and nails to secure the baseboard into position.
Next attach the backer board to the top of the beadboard, once more making sure the board is level. For corners use a miter saw or miter box to reduce 45-degree angles on the ends that match in the corner. You might also use the miter saw or box for a more finished look on the ends.
Install the vertical battens. The spacing of the battens is up to personal preference, but we placed ours roughly 13 inches apart.
Hint: It’s more important to make certain the battens run parallel with the beads in the beadboard than they are plumb. If you’re lucky and your walls are level and straight, you should be able to attain both.
Nail the casing into the backer board, making sure the shell is flush with the surface of the backer. As opposed to nailing into the cap of the MDF trim, which may lead to dividing, apply construction adhesive to fasten the remaining piece into position.
Together with the beadboard and trim in place, the wall treatment is ready for any finishing touches.
Apply white paintable sealant to any nail holes, gaps or places where trim meets trim. After the sealant has dried, paint with easy-to-clean semigloss paint.
This upgraded take on the classic beadboard wall treatment has been the perfect upgrade to give our little cabin bathroom some character that fits our house’s style.