Paneling can be used to decorate a master bath, family room, home office, dining room, or laundry room in your home. Learn how to install beaded plank and other types of decorative wall paneling.
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Beaded plank or beadboard paneling is a traditional style that has returned with easy-to-install kits and components. The following instructions and accompanying video (available at Lowes.com/Videos) illustrate installation in a dining room using special baseboard and chair (top) rail mouldings.
If you're installing paneling and moulding without channels, you can use the following steps with one change: install the baseboard moulding after the paneling instead of before. Refer to the Materials and Tools list, making sure you have what you need before you begin your project.
You'll want to read the manufacturer’s instructions for all paneling materials and hardware you will install. If you have additional questions, a Lowe's Associate can help.
You can install beaded plank and other paneling on uneven, cracked, or rough walls by first installing a framework of 1-in x 3-in or 1-in x 4-in kiln-dried furring strips. If the installation room is below ground level, first install a vapor barrier following manufacturer's instructions.
Before installation, make sure that all materials are acclimated to the temperature and humidity of the room in which they will be installed. Wood paneling typically requires at least 48 hours of acclimation, preferably with spacers in between panel layers to allow air to circulate.
If you are going to paint the paneling, it is easier to do so before installation. Calculate the amount of paint you will need. Beaded paneling is available unfinished, primed, and finished.
Decide whether you will install paneling to cover the entire wall, the lower half, or to some point below the ceiling edge.
Determine the height of your installed paneling, and make level marks around the room with a pencil and level.
Measure the length of each wall to calculate the linear footage of the area to be covered.
Divide the total linear footage by the width of the panels and round up. This is the number of planks you'll need.
Paneling is typically sold in 32-in (wainscot) and 8-ft (full) lengths. For panel heights taller than 32-in, purchase full lengths and trim them.
Calculate the linear footage of chair rail trim and base moulding you will need for the installation.
Prepare the installation area by moving all furniture or appliances away from the wall or out of the room and removing all outlet covers.
Remove any base moulding with a pry bar.
Carefully remove the moulding if you plan to reuse it. Place shims behind the pry bar to help protect the walls.
Use a stud finder to identify all studs (vertical supports) on the wall, and mark their location with a pencil. Wall studs typically are installed 16-in apart. Be sure to mark where the baseboard and chair rail will be installed.
If you're using pre-notched baseboards, install them now. New moulding made for beaded plank paneling is pre-notched for easier installation.
If joining 2 pieces of trim end to end, trim them at opposing 45° angles to create a clean seam. Apply adhesive to the baseboard pieces before installing.
Starting in one corner and working around the room, place the pieces in position on the wall, verifying that each one is level.
To prevent splitting the baseboard material, drill pilot holes for the nails through the baseboard and into a stud. If you’re using a pneumatic nail gun, you don’t have to drill pilot holes. Check the nail gun and air compressor instructions for pressure settings.
Nail the baseboards to the stud.
Use a nail set to countersink the finish nails slightly below the surface of the baseboard.
Start installing the paneling at a corner. Hold a panel in place and verify that it is plumb (vertical) and level (horizontal), called dry-fitting. If needed, trim the first plank to fit.
To trim the board to height, measure up from the baseboard moulding, and account for the shoe (notched portion) on the baseboard and chair rail.
If you’re installing the baseboards after the paneling, measure up from the floor, leaving 1/8-in at the floor for expansion.
Transfer this measurement to the board and use a saw to make the cut.
Apply a bead of adhesive on the back of the plank and place it against the wall, inside the baseboard channel. Leave 1/8-in gap at the corners for expansion. You can use adhesive or nails to attach the planks to the wall; however, you must nail the first piece in place.
Verify that the plank is level and plumb, and adjust as needed.
If you’re using a hammer and nails, drill pilot holes through the planks.
If you’re using a pneumatic nail gun, you don’t have to drill pilot holes. Check the nail gun and air compressor instructions for pressure settings.
Continue to add planks to the wall by locking the groove of each plank onto the tongue of the adjacent plank.
When a plank lines up with a stud, nail it to the stud, even if you’re using adhesive.
If needed, measure and cut for outlet openings.
Measure for the door and window openings using a tape measure.
Cut all openings in about 1/8-in to allow for expansion. Trim if needed.
You may have to cut the last panel to fit.
Use a nail set to countersink the finish nails slightly below the surface of the paneling.
Measure and mark the span of top (or chair rail) moulding needed.
Lay the moulding with its back flat against the miter saw and cut.
If joining 2 pieces of trim end to end, trim them at opposing 45° angles to create a clean seam.
Apply adhesive to the moulding pieces before installing.
Working from one corner around the room, place the pieces in position on the wall, verifying that each one is level.
If you’re using a hammer and nails, drill pilot holes through the moulding and into the studs. If you’re using a pneumatic nail gun, you don’t have to drill pilot holes. Check the nail gun and air compressor instructions for pressure settings.
Nail the moulding pieces to a stud.
Use a nail set to countersink the finish nails slightly below the surface of the moulding.
When you’re done with the installation, use wood filler (available in colors) or spackle to fill all nail holes.
When dry, sand the filler.
Touch up with paint as needed.
Apply a bead of paintable caulk along the edge of the chair rail where the moulding meets the wall.
Replace the outlet covers and switchplates.