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kitchen bead board wall covering

This is the second part of my article on installing beadboard in a kitchen area, after the demolition of some '70's era wall tile. You may see the first part here. We now move on to the carpentry work itself, and I'll show you a couple other things I did in the ongoing process. Take quick look at the gallery to see where I'm going.

The beadboard installation.(click thumbnails to view gallery)

I cut the beadboard outside ...I used a plywood and trim blade on the saw.And the jig saw, of course.Starting with the installation.The area to the right of the range.

First off, safety: I was working with a jig saw, compound miter saw, hammers and nails. Especially when cutting small pieces of trim, pay attention to where your fingers are with relation to the saw blade. Remember, if it'll cut wood, it'll cut you. If you are working near known (or unknown, for that matter) electrical circuits, be certain you interrupt the circuit at the breaker box -- you really don't want to be surprised by a live 110 volt line; not that anything like that has ever happened to me.

The materials:

  • Beadboard -- I calculated the square footage of the project, added 10% for cuts and waste, and rounded up to the next full sheet; in my case that was three, 4' x 8' sheets. Cleverly (or luckily), I finished the work with about a quarter sheet remaining, mostly in little pieces. It's really not a big deal, you can always get more at about $17 a sheet; I just hate to waste materials.
  • Trim (see the gallery) -- cost me, on average, about 60 cents a foot and I used about 125' of it; I did have some left over, given that I bought the longest sticks -- 16' -- of the PVC base shoe I could find (to minimize the visible joints and help preserve the water-tight integrity of the junction at the beadboard and the counter top.) To determine the total footage needed, I measured all the joints I would have to cover, added 10% and rounded up to the nearest stick length -- usually 12' or 16' lengths.
  • Finish nails -- 2" 6d (6 penny) and 1 1/2" 4d; a box of each. I used the 2" for the beadboard and the other for the trim. They run about $2.80 per one pound box.
  • Painter's and silicone caulk -- generally, the difference is that painter's caulk is white and can be painted, and silicone is clear (or color tinted) and, depending on the variety, may or may not be paintable, so read the label. The painters caulk runs about $1.35 and the silicone anywhere from $4-6. (If you have a project that requires just a bit of caulk, look at what Diane recommends.)
  • Outlet covers -- I replaced the original ones with new, over-sized ones for about $1.05 each -- OK, not for the reason you think; my penetration cuts were very tight; the bigger ones just look nicer and I got the almond tint to better go with the future paint color. So there ... .

The time for the project: it took me about 17 total hours to put up the beadboard and trim, but I took my time.

The tools for the work:

  • Jig and compound miter saws (allows you to easily make angle cuts, should you need them).
  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers
  • Electricians pliers, for the range hood project. These guys are not required, but they sure are handy.
  • Framing square -- optional. You can also use a carpenters square or just be fastidious (your word of the day) with your layout lines.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Carpenters pencil. You can use anything that will make a mark; I just am accustomed to using them.
  • Nail set, so you don't dimple the wood when sinking the nail below the surface of the beadboard or trim.

The process:

  1. I took the initial measurements (twice), laid out the beadboard with a framing square, and made the cuts with my circular saw. I generally made the cuts about a half inch smaller than the measurements, given that I was going to use one inch(+) trim and that would cover it easily. No problems in that regard.
  2. When I had penetrations to deal with -- outlets, switches, and the like -- I was very careful with my measurements and made the cuts with very close tolerances (1/4"). If you goof up a penetration cut, that piece of wood is likely useless and you get to begin all over again -- lucky you. Keep in mind that over-sized covers are only so big and certainly won't cover a hole way out of position.
  3. I marked the locations of the framing lumber, behind the old sheet rock, so that I could easily find the 2 x 4's to put my fasteners into. The studs were not always on 16" centers (imagine that), so I had to make sure I knew where they were so as to not be nailing into air, if you get what I mean. I did this in two ways -- marking the counter top and the cabinet bottoms.
  4. I placed the beadboard into position, tacked it with several of the 2" finish nails, checked the fit and alignment (near perfect, of course!) and stuck the wood into position with more nails. The only problem I encountered was in one corner, when I joined two pieces together only to discover, a few seconds later, a stream of water jetting out from the wood. Well, that certainly couldn't be good! I quickly removed the piece of beadboard, found where I had put a finish nail into a vertical copper water line (where it shouldn't have been, both by code and common sense), shut the master water line valve off (always good to know where that is) and plugged the leak with plumber's epoxy. What a lifesaver; given the location, there was no room for any other kind of repair. I would have had to cut into both walls and the studs and the water line ... .
  5. Then I cut the trim with my miter saw -- love that saw. I made careful measurements and precise cuts and the work turned out well. I nailed the trim with my 1 1/2" finish nails; I set all the finish nails (beadboard and trim) with my nail set.
  6. Lastly, with the painters caulk, I caulked the lap joints of the beadboard, the joints in the trim pieces, and the nail heads. The only thing remaining is to sand, prime, and paint the work. Finito!

I also did one other little project in the course of the work; I installed a range hood. Now was the time to take care of this, as I had access to the area to easily run the electrical wiring. Fortunately, the ducting was in place from a previous installation, so the whole job only took me about two hours in total, but had I had someone to help me with the final part of the work -- securing the hood in place, overhead -- I could have saved a few minutes. I was conspicuously short one of the three hands needed to move that part of the project along in an efficient manner.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. All in all, a fun job and one that can be easily accomplished in a weekend, including the multiple trips necessary, to the home store, for stuff. You can do it.


  • Paul

    If you decide to stay with tile consider glass tile - you can fuse them yourself to get exactly what you want. A good site for learning about fused glass is

    - Paul

  • eileen

    love the look of glass tile.will being installing it for the first time soon. Will let you know if it was easy.

  • eileen

    I love bead board.looks good and very easy to install!

  • eileen


  • michelle

    THIS MAY BE AN EASY FIX BUT LOOKS PLAIN. i wonder if metal or tin would look cool.

  • 5 Comments / 1 Pages

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