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Ah beadboard. The funny this about this is that I really dislike beadboard. White beadboard makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know why, but it just irks me. But black beadboard. Now you’re talking! Black beadboard is classy and elegant and nothing could be better!
Isn’t it interesting how a paint color can completely change our perception of something? Paint can give something new life or a completely different feel. It can turn something you strongly dislike into something you love.
But you’re here to talk about installing beadboard. And most importantly installing beadboard without removing your baseboards. So let’s get to it. Let’s start DIYing!
P.S. if you do want to remove your baseboards, that’s fine too. Check out how to remove quarter round and trim with ease before starting this tutorial.
- Circular saw or table saw
- Nail gun
- Measuring tape or laser measure
- Stud finder
What You’ll Need
Note: your quantity for each item will vary based on the size of your room. The amount we used is in parenthesis after the item.
- Beadboard paneling – make sure to get the thinnest option! (2)
- 1×3 primed pine trim boards (2)
- Paint (we used Sherwin Williams Emerald Paint in Caviar SW 6990)
How to Install Beadboard Without Removing Baseboards
New to DIY? Download our free 5 Steps to Getting Start with DIY guide!
Step 1: Find your studs
Find and mark all of your studs using a stud finder. Be sure to mark your studs a few inches above where your beadboard will end so that you don’t cover up your marks with the paneling. If you are not painting the wall above the beadboard, you can mark the studs using painter’s tape.
Step 2: cut your beadboard
Cut your beadboard paneling down to the height you want it to be using your circular or table saw. You can also ask your local home improvement store to cut them down to the right height, but they will not guarantee accurate measurements.
To determine your height, subtract 2.5″ and the height of your baseboards from the total height that you would like your beadboard wainscoting to be from the ground.
Once your beadboard paneling is the correct height, determine the width that you need. Measure the distance of your wall at both the top where the beadboard will lie and the bottom where the beadboard will sit.
It is important to measure both distances because your walls are likely not completely square. Because of this, you might have to cut your beadboard at a slight angle to get it flush at the ends with the walls. if you have a small gap, don’t fear! We’ll cover that up later.
If you have a wall that won’t need to join multiple pieces of beadboard together, start there.
If you do need to join multiple pieces together, be sure to cut the boards strategically so that the pattern spacing is correct and looks continuous.
We also recommend cutting and installing the first piece of beadboard and then measuring for the next piece. This will help ensure that your beadboard fits better on the first try.
step 3: install your beadboard
To install your beadboard, place the paneling on top of your baseboards. It should line up flush with the top piece of your baseboards.
Nail it into the studs to secure it to the wall. If you don’t have studs close enough to the edge of your paneling, see the FAQ below.
If you need to cut out spaces for outlets, window sills, or pipes, measure in multiple directions multiple times. You don’t want to accidentally cut the hole too big.
I found it easiest to mark the measurements on the wall (luckily it’s getting covered with beadboard) and then transfer them to my beadboard piece. Before grabbing your jigsaw to cut out the hole, make sure the beadboard is the proper width. Then double-check your measurements from both sides.
As you can see, I used a lot of different measurements to cut around the window sill, but you can also get an awesome tool like this to make it a lot easier to get just the right shape.
Step 4: add your trim
Now that the beadboard is installed, it’s time to add our 1×3 trim boards to the top. You will simply place this on top of your beadboard and nail it into the studs.
Grab a level before you start nailing to make sure your board is level. If there is a slight gap between your trim board and beadboard in some places, we will fix that in the next step.
Since the 1×3 boards are flat and don’t have a pattern to them, we will butt them together rather than mitering the edges.
Once you caulk and use wood filler on the seams, you won’t be able to tell that it’s not a continuous piece around the whole space. More on this in a moment.
Step 5: prep for paint
Once everything is installed, tape where the 1x3s meet the wall and any trim. You want to do this before you caulk because it will ensure you have a super straight paint line.
We’ve reached the step where it’s time to cover up our mistakes. Use wood filler on all of the nail holes and any seams in your beadboard. Once your wood filler is dry, sand down the excess until it is flush.
Then go through and caulk any seams between the beadboards/trim and the trim/walls. You can also caulk all of the corners to ensure a smooth transition once everything is painted.
Step 6: Paint
Once the beadboard is prepped and ready to go, it’s time to start painting. There are two options on how to paint the beadboard. Option 1 is to use a paint sprayer. Option 2 is to paint with a roller.
If you decide to paint with a roller (that’s what we did), start by painting all of the grooves. We used these awesome rollers (not an affiliate link, we’re just big fans) that continue the foam around one side.
You can use this rounded side to press your paint into the grooves. You can also use a paintbrush, but we found the roller was quicker.
Once you get the grooves painted, paint your beadboard as you would a normal wall. You want to work in small sections and roll over the beadboard quickly after getting the grooves painted. This will ensure that you have a smooth finish and don’t have paint globs around the grooves.
Once you roll over the beadboard, make sure there aren’t any drips in the grooves. If there are, use a small paintbrush to distribute the paint throughout the groove or remove the excess.
Now for the last painting step. This one is a bit tedious and is not required. If you’re feeling extra detail-oriented, you can look over your beadboard with a flashlight to make sure you didn’t miss any areas.
FAQ: How to Install Beadboard
Have another question? Drop it in the comments below.
There you have it! You now have all the tools (well the knowledge tools at least) to install your own beadboard! Which room are you going to put it in? More importantly, what color are thinking your beadboard will be?
As always, we would LOVE to see your photos. Send us (or tag us in) a picture of your installed beadboard on Instagram and feel free to reach out with any questions!
What colour black did you paint the headboard!?
Hi Katelyn! We used Sherwin Williams Emerald Paint in Caviar SW 6990.
Did you have to remove the toilet?
We removed the top of ours to make it easier to paint, but you don’t have to. It’ll just be really awkward when you’re painting!
What about possible pipes behind the studs? Could you accidentally puncture them if you use the nail gun in bathroom walls? Any suggestions on not doing that?
Hi Lyss! There’s always a possibility when nailing into walls that you will hit something you don’t intend to. The great thing about nailing into studs is that it’s more secure and if you’re nailing straight into a stud, you shouldn’t hit a pipe. The pipes are usually next to and in between studs.
Hi Zoe – What about humidity in a bathroom, moisture getting behind the beadboard? I’m putting beadboard on a plaster wall and I want to avoid any opportunities for mold to grow!
Hi Nancy! That wasn’t a concern for us in this space since there isn’t a shower in this bathroom. I’m not a mold expert, but I’d recommend getting water-resistant beadboard and making sure to caulk it well to seal up any gaps after installing.
Did you place the 1 x 3s against the top 3” inches of the board board panel? Or did you place the 1” edge of the 1” x 3”, against/ or on top of the narrow edge of the beard board panel? In other words, did your 1 x 3 make it taller? Sorry I don’t know how to explain it better.
Thank you. It looks great!
Hi Denise! We placed the 1″ edge on top of the top edge of the beadboard, so yes, the 1×3 made our total wall treatment taller. Hope that makes sense!
What if we want to leave it white? Do you recommend repainting it or just using white materials to correct mistakes?
You could go either way! For best results, you’ll likely want to paint it white to ensure everything is the exact same shade and color!
Hi! What kind of caulk did you use to fill in the seams?
Hi! We generally use DAP Alex Plus. Just make sure you grab something that is paintable!
I love the look of the dark beadboard! One small comment, please don’t recommend painting electrical receptacles. This is a code violation as it inhibits the ability of the receptacle to dissipate heat and can create a fire hazard.
Why not paint the headboard before installing?
We chose to paint afterward so that we could fill all the nail holes and spackled areas at the same time as the rest of the beadboard. You could also paint first and then add touch-up paint to those areas. I just find that I can always see where I touched the paint up.