How do I Install a B-Board Ceiling?


Beadboard ceilings have been used for decades in both rustic retreats and seaside cottages. Simple construction and clean lines make beadboard a popular choice in all manner of homes. Beadboard is also a versatile choice, as it can be stained and varnished or painted to match any decor. Its tongue-and-groove design makes this product one of the easier ceilings to install. While this is not a one-man operation, two people can have a ceiling up in just a few hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Beadboard planks
  • Primer and paint or stain and varnish
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Nailset
  • Apply finish to both sides and the edges of each beadboard plank, using either stain and varnish or primer and paint. Do not cover the tongue or groove with thick layers, as this may prevent them from fitting together snugly during installation.

  • Measure the width of the ceiling along the starting wall, perpendicular to the ceiling joists. Mark and cut the first beadboard plank to fit, using a circular saw with a sharp blade.

  • Position the board with the grooved edge against the starter wall and hold it in place. Have your helper measure the distance between both ends of the board and the opposite wall. Reposition one end of the board until the measurements are equal. The small gap that will be created between the board and the starter wall will be covered when trim is installed.

  • Drill pilot holes into the face of the board, close to the starter wall, to prevent splitting. Drive four finishing nails through the tongue of the board into the joists, across the length of the board. Using a nailset and hammer, set the finishing nails slightly below the surface of the wood.

  • Place subsequent boards, measured and cut to length, by pressing the grooved side onto the tongue of the previous board. Tap lightly to close any gaps, being careful not to damage the board tongues. Drive several finishing nails into the joists across the length of the board through the tongue. Set each with the hammer and nailset. Continue in this manner across the ceiling.

  • Install the final board by measuring the distance between the last board installed and the wall. Use the circular saw to rip the board to the correct width. Press the final board into place so the tongue and groove are fit snugly together. Drill pilot holes into the face of the board, close to the wall. Hammer finishing nails through the pilot holes and into the joists to hold the board in place. Use the nailset and hammer to sink the nails.

  • Finish the ceiling by installing your choice of trim around the perimeter. Choose trim that is wide enough to cover any gaps between the wall and ceiling boards.

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  • Photo Credit valley view porch image by John Keith from
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