Beadboard Ceiling: Is It Still Trending?

If you haven’t heard of beadboard ceiling, you will soon. Traditional beadboard cladding features trim, narrow boards with routered “bead” edges on one side, and beveled edges on the other. Today, older homes have popcorn ceilings. Most new homes have plaster or drywall ceilings

Beadboard Ceiling

There was a time when beadboard ceiling was popular, but it seems they’re making a comeback. DIY beadboard ceiling represents a sign of things to come.

What Is Bead Board Ceiling?

What Is Bead Board Ceiling

Beadboard ceiling is made from decorative planks. The ceiling material uses panels or planks that fit with tongue-and-groove technology. A board is between two and six inches long and has an installing tongue.

Beadboard ceilings are made of wood. However, they also come in laminate, plastic, or other materials.

History Of Beadboard Ceilings

History Beadboard CeilingsView in gallery

Beadboard was invented in the late 1800s. The ceiling originated in England four centuries ago. It served two purposes by providing insulation for homes and protecting walls from scratches and dents. Today, they serve the same purposes and more, like covering nail holes or adding light and texture to a room.

The ceiling boards emerged in US home and office architecture during the English Colonial Age and remained popular in New England. The panels provided wainscotting for walls and served as protective boards to preserve pine walls.

21st Century Beadboard Planks

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

Fiberboard is replacing wood ceiling as the most popular board to use for a room. Wood is thin and warps on a ceiling after its installed. 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 its installed, clean the perimeter and watch how your room is transformed.

Why Beadboard Ceiling

When you install bead board in a room or space, you will add charm and style to your property. A DIY beadboard project is a great idea if you want to give a space added texture. There isn’t a shortage of ideas as data has proven that new ceiling is a sign of a healthy home.

Beadboard ceiling painted in whiteView in gallery
Image from flickr.

Some like beadboard for practical reasons. If you want charm or have other ideas for a DIY beadboard ceiling, make sure you know your space before you start. You might want to invest in a furring strip to help you keep the ceiling level and protect joists.

Here are a few reasons for those who need convincing:


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

Statement Piece

statement beadboard white ceilingView in gallery
Image from Virge Temme Architecture Inc.

If you paint the panels with pretty colors, they’ll stand out. Pine bearded ceilings is another option. But you could paint your panels with alternating colors. For added charm, use a light color to complement pictures you want to pin on your wall.

You don’t need a nail gun, but it would be faster to attach each board if you had one. You will need to figure out how to work around a light fixture. 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 bead boards 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 ceiling can be installed over the old ceiling, like popcorn ceilings. The panels are easy to install over over flat ceilings. 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 it.  If you nail the boards, it will break the popcorn ceiling. You want to cover asbestos with each panel, so glue would work better than nails.

After the ceiling is nailed in and you broke the popcorn ceiling, you would need to remove each board and nail one by one. Nail holes are not fun to cover, and with trim, you don’t want to start over.


Plank ceiling panels are customizable. For example, try framing the panels in 4×4 or 8×8 sections. It’s an easy DIY project and not time-consuming. 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. Even better, you can put them over plaster.

When Beadboard Ceiling Is Bad A Idea

When Not To Get Beadboard CeilingsView in gallery
Image from flickr.

Drywall ceilings are difficult to mud, and old popcorn ceilings may contain asbestos

Here are a few reasons not to install plank ceiling:

Not DIY-Friendly 

It isn’t easy to install the boards by yourself. You will need help or you can hire a contractor. You could also damage other parts of a room like a light fixture or joists.

Healthy Roof 

Must Have A Good Roof View in gallery

With beadboard ceiling, your roof must be in good condition. If your roof has leakage or sagging, 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?

Separating beadboard is caused by high humidity and extreme temperature changes. For example, beadboard in a bathroom will warp due to moisture. The panels in your ceiling or walls will become warped if they’re not protected.

Sealing Beadboard Ceiling

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

Priming wooden beadboard will help 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 for your house. Beadboard is available in wide tongue-and-groove panels and thin strips. The boards should be painted before you install them.

  • Scrape away flaked paint with a scraper or putty knife. Put a drop cloth on the floor to protect your space.
  • Paint any exposed wood with primer. The tongue-and-groove sections may have been overlooked. Priming the exposed tongue-and-groove areas reduces futures.
  • 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 CeilingView in gallery
Image from ninahendrick

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 JoistsView in gallery

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 hold the boards into place other than the support bar is to add adhesive to the back of the panel and then 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 for 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 protect 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 version could be 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.

When you install beadboard ceiling, 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 perfect solution if you’re in need of ideas to improve your bedroom wall, for example, and you don’t want to use plaster.