Beadboard Ceiling Emergence Inspires Home Design Renaissance

The beadboard ceiling is making a comeback. Interior designers have rekindled their relationship with the amazing home ceiling style. Those wondering what beadboard is, they will soon find out.

Beadboard Ceiling

Traditional beadboard cladding features trim, narrow boards with routered bead edges on one side, and beveled edges on the other. Older houses feature a layer of popcorn ceilings while newer homes have plaster or drywall ceilings. 

Beadboard ceilings were once the most popular ceiling in houses across the country. Although the first trend waned, today, the ceiling style is undergoing a renaissance and is back in high demand. 

What Is Beadboard Ceiling?

What Is Bead Board Ceiling

A beadboard ceiling is made with decorative planks. The ceiling style consists of panels that connect via tongue-and-groove technology.

Each panel is between two and six inches long and has an installation tongue. The ceilings are made of wood and add depth to interior spaces. However, laminate and plastic options are available, among others.

21st Century Beadboard Planks

Beadboard ceilings haven’t changed. Today, beadboard ceilings come in planks and panels and have a various square and detailed grooves. A DIY beadboard ceiling and trim offer an opportunity to expand your DIY skills.

Fiberboard is replacing wood ceiling in popularity. Wood is thin and can warp on a ceiling after installation. Fiberboard is a durable ceiling texture and easier to apply around a light fixture.

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is available in 4×8 panels, so you don’t have to trim pieces as much. After installation, clean the perimeter and watch how it transforms the room.

Why Choose Beadboard Ceiling?

When you install beadboard, it adds charm and style to your property. A DIY beadboard project is a great idea if you want to give a space added texture. Data has proven that a new ceiling indicates a healthy home.

Beadboard ceiling painted in white

Some like beadboard for practical reasons. If you have other ideas for a DIY beadboard ceiling, make sure you know your space before you start. You should consider investing in a furring strip to maintain your ceiling level and protect the joists.

Here are a few reasons that might convince you: 


If you install beadboard ceiling, you won’t spend more than a dollar or two per square foot.

Statement Piece

statement beadboard white ceiling
Virge Temme Architecture Inc.

If you paint the panels with bright colors, they’ll stand out. Pine bearded ceiling would be another option. You could paint the panels with alternating colors. For added charm, use a light color to compliment the photos hanging on your walls.

You don’t need a nail gun, but it would be faster to attach each board if you had one. You will need to determine the room’s dimensions and how to work around your light fixtures. This part can be a little challenging. Also, now might be the time to buy a stud finder.

If you want your ceiling to blend in, you may not want beadboard ceilings. Instead, use drywall or plaster as beadboard would not blend. Also, you don’t want warped boards installed on a surface. You should also learn how to blind nail your planks.

Hide Old Ceiling

Beadboard ceilings can be installed over old ceilings, like popcorn ceilings. The panels fit over flat ceiling surfaces. As a workaround, build a frame with 2x4s and nail each board into the structure.

If your ceiling has asbestos and you want to cover it, don’t disturb the asbestos. When nailing the boards, it could break the popcorn ceiling, for example, which would disrupt the asbestos. Should that happen, it would create a health hazard inside your home. To prevent that from happening, use glue with the panels instead of nails.

Custom Fitting

Plank ceiling panels can be custom made. For example, frame the panels in 4×4 or 8×8 sections. This would be an easy DIY project and wouldn’t require a lot of time on your behalf.

The planks look good in a traditional dining room setting or bedroom. You can make the boards extend across the ceiling in one or two pieces for a finished look. You can also place them over plaster.

When Not To Install Beadboard Ceiling 

When Not To Get Beadboard Ceilings

Drywall ceilings are difficult to mud, and old popcorn ceilings contain asbestos. You’ll need to consider these factors and others before installing beadboard ceiling.

Here are a few reasons not to install a plank ceiling:

Not DIY Friendly 

It isn’t easy to install the boards yourself. You could cause serious damage to your room and ruin your light fixtures or joists.

Healthy Roof 

Must Have A Good Roof 

With a beadboard ceiling, your roof must be in excellent condition. Check to see if your roof is leaking or sagging. If you discover any problems with your roof, repair it before installing new ceiling.


Beadboard planks are not easy to clean. The material has hard-to-reach cracks and creases. Use a damp cloth or duster to clean the ceiling planks twice a month.

How To Repair Beadboard Ceiling That Is Separating?

Beadboard will split in high humid and extreme temperatures. Also, beadboard in a bathroom will warp due to moisture. The panels in your ceiling or walls will also warp if they are unprotected.

Sealing Beadboard Ceiling

You can remove ceiling that has nails in it, and after sand the panels. If it was installed with construction adhesive, that’s a different problem altogether.

Priming wooden beadboard will seal the wood and prevent it from absorbing moisture. If you can’t remove the beadboard, attempt to prime and paint the exposed cracks as they happen.

This won’t fill in the cracks but it will keep the panels from expanding faster. You should use a furring strip as it would help level the ceiling.

Caulk The Seams

High-quality caulk will protect your panels from moisture. Do not use wood putty or wood filler. When you caulk the seams, the panels will expand but they won’t split.

Humidity Control

Install an exhaust fan to reduce humidity in your bathroom space.  

How To Hide The Seam On Beadboard Ceilings

Beadboard can help you achieve a Cape Cod-style cottagecore aesthetic. The ceiling style is available in wide tongue-and-groove panels and thin strips. You’ll need to paint the each board before installing them. 

  • Scrape away flaked paint with a scraper or putty knife. Put a drop cloth on the floor to protect your space.
  • Paint exposed wood with primer on the tongue-and-groove areas as it reduces friction.
  • Prepare acrylic caulk tube.
  • Caulk the seams.
  • Dry for 24 hours and then paint it to match the ceiling.

How To Install Beadboard Ceiling

How To Install Beadboard Ceiling

Installing beadboard isn’t a one-person job.

The following steps will guide you through installing beadboard planks. 

Step 1: Mark Ceilings

Mark the ceiling joists on the walls with a pencil or painter’s tape. Mark the areas where the panels will meet.

If you have 4X8 panels, mark every third joist and start at one end. Because the boards will cover 48-inches and every joist should be 16-inches, make sure they are 16″ before marking.

What Are Ceiling Joists?

What Are Ceiling Joists

Ceiling joists are horizontal beams that run parallel from the perimeter of one wall to the opposite side of your structure. The beams are attached to the top of the wall, otherwise known as a wall plate. The joists on the top floor can also provide support for a flat roof.

Step 2: Cut Holes

If you are working with only one or two people then create a support brace to hold the planks. You can build one out of 2X4s that are T or Y-shaped.

Measure, mark, and cut holes for fixtures. Cut these out before you begin the next step as you want each plank to have a flat texture. 

Step 3: Secure Each Panel

The best way to secure the boards is to add adhesive to the back of the panel and push them into place.

Use a nail gun or liquid nails to secure each board.

Step 4:  Fill Gaps And Add Trim 

Use wood filler or spackling to fill any cracks that don’t meet. You will cover it up with trim, but the wood filler is to help weatherproof the ceiling. It can be painted over once it is dried and sanded. 

You can add trim around the edge of the ceiling or attach it to places where the panels meet.

Step 5: Painting

You can stain real boards to look like beadboard ceiling, but if you attach anything other than real wood, you’ll need to paint it. For bathroom ceilings, use water-resistant paint to safeguard against mold and moisture.

Cream or ivory is a nice alternative to white. But like with any room in your house you’re free to use whatever color you want. After you’ve painted your bedroom wall or ceiling, keep your window open.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Are Shiplap Boards?

Shiplap boards are joined with an overlapping “rabbet” joint, which creates a 90 degree-angled gap in between the boards. The planks can be set to a wider or lesser degree from each other.

What Is V-Groove?

V-groove planks have a chamfered edge and are wider than beadboard planks. They fit together via a tongue-and-groove joint. Once connected, it looks like a V-shape in-between the boards.

Can You Pin Beadboard Ceiling Over Drywall?

You can use adhesive for beadboard planks on this surface. When the adhesive is curing, attach special clips to the planks. If your room corners aren’t soft, you might have to cut the planks to conform to your bedroom or living room, for example. After the planks are nailed, you wouldn’t want to do the job over again.

Can You Do A Beadboard Treatment On A Larger Ceiling?

Yes, you can, but be prepared to spend time and money. What most people forget is how beadboard sheets are made for walls, not ceilings. Also, plan ahead because you will need more caulk than normal. For something different, try pine wood for a rustic look.

How Much Does A Sheet Of Beadboard Cost?

Beadboard planks aren’t pricey, but it’s not super cheap either. DIY beadboard kit systems can be installed by those with basic carpentry skills.

Wood beadboard panels cost $1 per square foot. Fake beadboards planks cost upward of .75 per square foot. You will need ceiling studs, caps, and baseboards to finish the paneling. The materials cost between $0.30 to $2.50 per foot and are sold in 10-foot sections.

Beadboard Ceiling Conclusion

As beadboard ceiling planks make their way back into US homes, this latest wave is here to stay. There are plenty of beadboard ceiling panel options to choose from, so you won’t have a problem finding a place to install the wood or even pine paneling.

If you’re thinking about installing beadboard ceiling, remember, it adds charm to a room or wall. It’s a less time-consuming DIY method that adds value to your traditional home. It is the best solution to improve your bedroom wall, for example, when you don’t want to use plaster.