Tongue-and-groove paneling can be attached to furring strips. Vertical boards need horizontal strips for the panels to attach to, as shown here. This example adds panels to chair rail height.

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Step 1

Install the Framework

Fix horizontal furring strips around the perimeter of the area to be paneled. They should be at the top and bottom of the area to be paneled, and also at equidistant intervals between these extremes, ideally 16 inches apart, taking care not to pierce wires or pipes, and making sure to fasten to studs (Image 1).

If the wall is uneven, shim furring strips as required to get them in plane, using wedges or offcuts of plywood (Image 2).

Step 2

Install Tongue-and-Groove Paneling

Using a level, mark a guide for the first board (Image 1).

Position the first length on the level line. Nail it into the furring strip with finish nails, placing nails at the edge nearest a wall (Image 2).

At a 45-degree angle, nail through the tongue side of the board into the furring strip below. Use a nail set to drive the nail head in completely (Image 3).

Overlap the groove of the next board onto the tongue of the first (Image 4).

Use an offcut of board as a tapping block. Tap the board once or twice with a hammer to make a tight seam between the boards (Image 5).

Continue across the wall surface. Nails through the boards' tongues at each furring strip are all that is needed to secure the boards in place (Image 6).

Step 3

Dealing With Corners

Eventually you will need to cut a board to fit the space into a corner. Measure the space and cut a board to slightly smaller than this (Image 1).

Position the cut board, placing its groove over the previous board's tongue. With the board a little short, you will have space to maneuver it (Image 2).

Finish the inside corner by butting the other piece of the cut board against the paneling. Then continue across the wall (Image 3).

Deal with an outside corner by cutting a board to fit. Use the other cut piece on the other side of the corner, for a balanced appearance (Image 4).

The corner will seem unsightly because the cut edge is visible. Sand it by using a block plane to finish the edge (Image 5).

When all paneling is in place, add a rail along the top to cover the gap caused by the furring strips between boards and wall (Image 6). Miter the corners.

Step 4

Paneling Around Obstacles

Sometimes you need to cut a panel to fit around an item on the wall or to end a run. A wall may be uneven, so rather than measuring and cutting to fit a board against it, use the method shown below (called scribing) to get a neat fit.

Step 5

Working Safety

Switch off the electricity supply at the consumer unit before removing the face plate from any fixtures such as an outlet or switch plate. Pay attention to all safely advice for working with electricity, and check terminal connections before replacing a switch plate and turning the electricity back on.

Step 6

Cutting Around an Outlet or Switch

Deal with fixtures as you come to them. Remove the switch plate, remembering that wires are still connected to it (Image 1).

Remove the wires from the back of the switch plate and tape the cores separately before taping the wire as a whole to protect it (Image 2).

Insert a box extension so the outlet sits beyond the paneling (Image 3).

Attach the box extension with the screws provided (Image 4).

Position furring strips around the perimeter of the hole, and nail them in place (Image 5).

Step 7

Cutting Around an Outlet or Switch

Place a vertical board over the opening. Measure and mark the opening (Image 1).

Cut carefully measured sections of the paneling to sit around the fixture. Position and secure paneling in the normal way (Image 2).

Attach the receptacle in place with screws (Image 3).

Reattach the cover plate (Image 4).

Step 8

Laying the Last Board

Temporarily position a new board exactly on top of the last placed complete board (Image 1).

Cut a small section of the width of a board. Holding one end against the wall, run it down the wall, using a pencil at the other end to draw a line (Image 2).

Surface nail along the edge of the board. There is no tongue for blind nailing at an angle (Image 3), so you must nail through the face of the board into the furring strip below. Then neaten the seam between the paneling and wall by pinning some quarter-round in place, mitering any seams between lengths if required.