How to Install Tongue-and-Groove Pine on Inside Walls

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Walls are usually finished out with paint, wallpaper, tile or sometimes paneling. For a more rustic look, though, you can use tongue-and-groove pine planks, arranged horizontally up the wall. The connections between the planks work the same way they do in wood floors, with the tongue-and-groove fittings locking the boards together to form the flat surface. Get the planks pre-finished, or stain and varnish them yourself, before installation.

Things You'll Need

  • Electronic stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Long level
  • Nail gun with finish nails
  • Miter saw
  • Table saw

Mark all the studs on the walls, using your electronic stud finder. Mark them with vertical lines, floor to ceiling, using a level and pencil.

Mark a horizontal line along the bottom of the wall, from end to end, at the height of a plank plus ½ inch. So if the planks are 10 inches wide, the line should be 10 1/2 inches up from the floor.

Measure the length of the wall. Use your miter saw to cut a plank to that length.

Hold the plank underneath the horizontal line, so there is a ½-inch gap at the floor. Position the plank so the tongue is facing up. Shoot finish nails into the plank at each point where it crosses a stud (based on the vertical lines you drew on the wall). Put in two nails per stud, one on the upper edge of the board and one on the lower edge.

Cut the second plank to size. Set it on top of the first plank, locking together the tongue-and-groove fittings. Shoot one nail though the upper edge of the board, at a downward angle, just above the tongue, at each point where it crosses a stud. (This will hide the nail heads, as the next board will cover them.)

Repeat the process for each new plank, building up the wall. Cut the top plank along its length on a table saw so it fits near the ceiling, with a ½-gap left there. Floor and ceiling trim will cover the gaps at the top and bottom.

Tips & Warnings

  • The same process is used to install cedar plank paneling.

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