Types of Bead Board

Bead board can be an inexpensive design element for building or remodeling projects. Bead board comes in 4- and 8-foot sheet sections, which can be cut down to size for a variety of projects, as well as 3 inch wide tongue-and-groove boards.

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1-1/2-Inch Beaded Bead Board

This type comes in sheets, with 3/8 inch depths, or tongue-and-groove format, with 5/8 inch depths. The bead board sheets tend to be less expensive than the tongue-and-groove boards. Each plank has one narrow, vertically milled groove in the center (a bead) for a clean look that adds visual interest. This narrow type is best used for smaller projects like back splashes, cabinets, bookcases and headboards.

1-1/-Inch Notched Bead Board

This type is similar to the beaded board, however there are two narrow vertically milled grooves next to each other running down the center of each plank for more detailing. It is only available in tongue-and-groove format. Tongue and groove is more time consuming to install, but when done correctly it has a more professional look.

3-Inch Beaded Bead Board

This version is available in sheet format. This larger style, for design purposes, is best when used for surfaces like large sections of wall space. The narrower beaded style could be too busy in appearance for larger-scale projects, which makes this 3-inch version great for decorative wall treatments and even on ceilings, to cover up any flaws.

Bead Board Composition Types

Each type of bead board can be made of solid wood, wood veneers, high-density fiberboard (HDF), or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Solid wood bead board is a more expensive type, but tends to look the nicest. It should be installed in the spring or fall, to avoid the possibility of the wood swelling in the summer when the air is moist, or shrinking in winter when the air is dry. The fiberboard versions are effective in areas with high moisture levels, like bathrooms, as they won’t warp, like wood can.

Bead Board Finishes

Many manufacturers offer bead board in finishes like red oak, hard maple, cherry and white. To obtain more of a unique look with a different finish, you may use an oil-based primer before painting or staining to ensure it will last many years.

Bead Board Configurations

Bead board comes in a variety of configurations including planks, sheets or kits. Kits are available from a limited number of manufacturers. The kits are meant to save time, as pieces are pre-cut and ready for installation. There are kits intended specifically for projects like wall and stair treatments.


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