How to Install Tongue-and-Groove Wainscot Paneling
There are many way to add wall paneling. Sturdy, interlocking boards give a more dimensional look than flat-plywood type paneling.
Use a pry bar to carefully remove existing moldings and any protruding surface materials. Also remove and save any window trim that will be in the way. The moldings will be replaced over the beadboard in the finished project.
Beadboard may be installed over drywall or old plaster providing these materials are solidly attached to the wall framing. In our project, we installed the beadboard as a countertop backsplash and needed to remove the old laminate from the wall.
At the main circuit panel, turn off the electricity to any receptacles where the beadboard will be installed. Use a circuit tester to be sure all power is off, and remove the switches and outlets from their boxes. Cover the open boxes to prevent them from filling with dust and debris.
Use a stud sensor to locate and mark the wall framing. Plan the installation to start at a left-side corner and work outward across the wall to the right. In a conventionally framed room with wall studs 16” on-center, each 4x8 ft. panel should end (and begin) on a stud.
If you are installing over an existing wall surface, trim a piece off the left edge of the starter panel to allow for the thickness of the existing material. Don’t make this cut on the right edge – panels are made with lap joints on the side edges, and the joint on the right edge is needed to hide the first seam (Image 1).
Measure and cut the beadboard panels with a circular saw to the required height and width, if necessary.
Also carefully measure and mark any openings for electrical boxes or other penetrations. Use an electrical box as a template to transfer the cutout dimensions onto the panel, and use a 1/4" drill bit to bore pilot holes in the corners. Make the cut with a jig saw (Image 2).
Install the panels to the wall studs with finishing nails or a pneumatic nailer.
Adhesive may be used to fasten panels to a smooth, well-adhered surface. On the back of each panel, place a 1/4" bead of adhesive about 1" from the edges of the panel. Press the panel firmly onto the wall, and add nails at approximately 12” intervals to hold it in place while the adhesive dries.
Replace wall, floor and window moldings, rewire the electrical fixtures and reinstall them in their boxes.