Install Bead Board Paneling And Trim

by Darwin Hall

bathroom project painting gray bead board

The bathroom remodel is going pretty well.  I installed a new floor and a tub surround.

Now, I want to dress up the bottom portion of the walls with bead board paneling, which should give the room a warm, country feeling.

I also chose to put bead board up because the walls are kind of damaged in places along the bottom half of the room.

A spot near the vent has cracked drywall from a previous moisture issue, so I’ll replace a section of it near the tub.  I don’t plan to finish the repaired drywall area completely; only one coat of compound and a light sanding will do the trick, because it will be covered with paneling anyway.

I also installed a small 4 inch recessed LED light above the tub.  It really brightens up the newly tiled area.  While doing so, I added a small 50 CFM bath fan in the middle of the ceiling, and connected these fixtures by tapping into the main light fixture above the vanity.

See also:  How To Install Backerboard For Wall Tile

So today, I’ll use a better portion of my time trimming out the room with molding and bead board paneling.  This trim molding will bring the bathroom a more sophisticated, high-end look.

I started this project by determining what height I wanted the bead board to be.  I decided an adequate size for this room would be around 38 inches high.

Some people like to install it taller than that, but it’s really a matter of taste and the aesthetics you’re trying to achieve.  When installing bead board and chair rail, less is always better; as opposed to something over half the height of the wall.

A good rule of thumb is to use one-third of the height of the ceiling.  For example, 9-foot walls can safely use bead board and chair rail that is 3 feet tall, without looking out of sync with the rest of the space.

I measured up 38 inches and drew a leveled pencil line around the whole circumference of the room, using my four foot and two foot levels.

You only should have to measure the height in one place of the room.  Once you measure and make that first mark on the wall, use your level and make the rest of the layout lines absolutely plumb around the whole room.

pencil mark for bead boardOnce I made the level line around the entire room, I measured the thickness of a piece chair rail, which is really not chair rail, but a wainscoting rail I’m using.  I drew the additional chair rail line right above the bead board line to indicate the molding.

I then found all the framing studs by employing a little thumping on the wall, finding a stud, then measuring 16 inches from it; however, you can find framing members on your project by using a stud finder if needed.  Framing studs in most homes are located 16 inches on-center from each other.

I marked the stud locations with a vertical line at each stud’s position.  These vertical lines are what I’ll fasten the panels to (along with glue).

lines drawn on wallsSo here’s the way I’ll install all the trim pieces:

  • bead board panels go first,
  • then chair rail,
  • then baseboards,
  • finally inner and outer corner molding will be trimmed and installed accordingly.

Step 1

Installing the bead board panels.  I begin this part of the installation by pre-cutting all the panels to the height I set for all walls, with a circular saw and straight edge.  I also cut and installed the door trim, leaving about a quarter inch gap along the door jamb’s inner boundary, and leveled the lines I marked.

I then determined where I wanted to place the first bead board panel.  The first piece will be installed so that it will meet dead-center at a stud on-end at the start of the next panel.

The key is to place panels so they butt up against each other, with a stud underneath each end to fasten the panels to the framing.  You may have to cut a panel to make an adjustment in this way.

Next, I dry-fitted the piece on the wall before adding paneling adhesive.  If there are cuts to make in the panel’s field, like for a heat register, you can use a jigsaw for that.  Simply draw the cut-out with a pencil, drill a hole for the jigsaw blade to fit into, then cut it out.

For things like water supply pipes for the vanity and toilet, use an appropriately sized hole bit and a power drill.  Any irregularities you cut can be covered with a metal flange placed over the supply pipe.

The bead board panels I’m working with are made on a sheet of MDF, which stands for Medium Density Fiberboard, and is a hardened type of cardboard-like material.  You have the raw material in it’s original form on the back, and a bead board pattern on the front — that’s primed by the factory and ready for paint.

zig-zag adhesive added bead board

After dry-fitting the piece and being satisfied with the fit, I applied construction adhesive to the back of the panel and stuck it in position.  I then extended the vertical pencil marks I made earlier on the wall to the panels, using my four foot level.

After that, I used 2 ½ inch-long finished nails to secure the piece, counter-sunk into a stud and through the panel, into the wall.  I placed all nails about 6 to 8 inches apart.

The panels look pretty ugly on the walls at this stage 🙁 — however, they will be much better-looking once the rest of the trim and caulk is in place.

Some of the walls weren’t even; but the important thing I followed is the horizontal pencil lines I made in the beginning of this project, to make sure the panels are level.

installed bead board

For panels that butt up against each other, the object is to make their seam disappear.  You do this by examining the bead board pattern:  On one end of the panel (left or right) you’ll notice a double seam, and one the other end is no seam.

All you have to do is turn the piece upside down and install it.  Once all the panels are in place, you’ll just caulk the vertical joint and make these two panels blend in with one another.

Step 2

Install the chair rail and base board.  I like to install these two items together, because the cuts you make will roughly be the same lengths for both areas.

I begin by measuring the length of the longest wall.  I cut the piece of chair rail to that dimension, accounting for the inside corner at one end, and making a 45 degree cut for it.

I then place the piece on the wall, and fastened it into the studs with 2 or 2 ½ inch finish nails.  You should fasten the piece utilizing the flat portions of the trim molding.

This is so you can conceal the nail perfectly under wood filler when you begin the finishing stage.  When you sand the area afterwards, imperfections won’t show through the paint, because you have sanded a flat surface.

I do the exact same for the base board, fastening the pieces to the wall with a nail in the upper and lower part of the flat portion of board.  I methodically cut and install baseboard and chair rail for the entire room, paying attention to curves that may be in the wall.

For really small lengths of trim, like near the door, I used construction adhesive with tape to hold the piece in place until the glue dried.  I also glued the end surface of the outer corners to keep the miters tight.

installing chair rail and base board

I did find one area along the back wall that needed to be shimmed to make the chair rail straight.  I found this out because I sat in the bath tub and observed the wall and chair rail along the back wall.

It had a big ‘ole wave in the middle, so I pulled the piece away from the wall with a pry bar, and stuck a shim behind the piece.  I then cut the extra off the top of the shim with my oscillating tool.

Once all the base board and chair rail was in place, The final touch was to cover those ugly imperfections in the corners with proper trim.  I installed a cove molding in the inner corners of where two panels meet, and a outer molding piece on the one outer corner. I secured it with blue tape.

taped corner trim moldingThe cove molding in the inner corner required finish nails, with a bead of construction adhesive along one side of the piece.  However, the outer corner molding is only secured with adhesive and blue painter’s tape to hold it into place — no finish nails.

Nails will cause the thin wood to split, so that’s a no-go.  I let the paneling adhesive cure for a day, then moved on to the next stage.

Step 3

Adding wood putty and caulking.  This is one of my favorite stages in a project like this because you can really see how the trim is starting to look better.  It basically transforms before your eyes!

I covered all the nails holes with a professional wood filler.  I also forced wood filler into the outer corners of the chair rail and baseboard molding, using a small metal putty knife.

I then caulked the top of the chair rail, the seams where pieces butted up against one another, and the top of the base board.  For the inside corners of the bead board and chair rail, I used a small plastic caulking tool to get a perfect 90 degree angle of caulk in the corners.

caulked wood trim

vent area bathroomI had spare time left in the day while the caulk was drying, so I trimmed out the window in the tub area.

There was a big, unsightly ¾ inch or so gap between the vinyl window and the 1 x 2 trim boards I installed — which was to make the porcelain tile uniform, and flat to the face of the back wall.

I used simple base shoe molding to cover the gaps, with miter cuts at the ends of the pieces.

window trimmed in bath tub

The very next day, I came in and sanded all the areas I covered with wood filler, using my palm sander.  I also primed the ceilings in preparation for painting this bathroom.

Step 5

Painting the room.  I choose a very light gray color for the walls, called “shiny luster”, and white for the bead board panels and trim.  Before I can get into painting the walls though, the ceiling comes first — always.  Then I’ll work my way down.

prep ceiling for paint

This painting project will go as follows:

  • Paint the ceilings,
  • paint the upper portion of the walls,
  • paint the bead board
  • then paint the chair rail and base boards.

I broke it up this way because I’m using different paint finishes: flat white for the ceilings, eggshell for the walls, and semi-gloss for the chair rail and baseboards.  Each individual area will get two coats of paint.

I begin by taping off the tub surround.  I then tape off the ceiling so my paint lines will be sharp.  I then drop the bath fan and recessed light so I won’t get paint on them.

freshly painted bathroom ceilingAfter painting the ceiling with one coat of primer and two coats of flat white paint, I taped off the ceiling (after it fully dried a day or so), and began the part of painting the walls gray, with a standard paint roller.

Before I painted though, I removed the outlet covers from the GFCI outlet, and the room’s light switch.

I ended up replacing the GFCI receptacle because it had the original in place, which works but has a yellowish color to it and hey, I might as well replace it now.

I also swapped out the old light switch for a dimmer switch — because I thought the bath fan I installed was a little too loud.  So now you can either dim the lights and slow down the fan motor, or go full blast and clear the room of built up shower steam.

And to achieve the proper room mood, what’s a better way — than putting the lights on a dimmer?

painted walls and beadboard

painted gray bathroom

I painted all the bead board with ultra-pure white using a 3 inch wide brush.  Don’t use a roller to paint bead board panels, because using a roller will give the wrong finish to the panels.

Simple up and down brush strokes following the direction of the bead is the way to go.  The brush stokes in the paint further add a realistic effect to the boards.

I let it all dry, then finished up with white semi-gloss paint for the remaining trim molding, which of course, is the base board and chair rail.

painted bead board new floor

caulked and painted bead board

bead board painted vent side

I’ll be done with this project very soon.  The next thing I want to do is install a new vanity sink, faucet, mirror, and bath bar light fixture.  I also want to put a tissue holder and towel rack on the back wall across from the sink.

Making the right choices for these items should be challenging; however, I know the kind of style I’d like the design to follow 😉 .  I’d like to think a nice “calming effect”, with the fixtures being picked in respect to that.

Published on October 7th 2016 by Darwin, in DIY Diaries.

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