How to Install Beadboard in the Ceiling

  • 10-20 hours
  • Beginner
  • 250-500
What You'll Need
Measuring Tape
Beadboard Ceiling
Paint or Stain
Stud Finder
Paint Brushes or Rollers
Finishing Nails (Size 4D)
Chalk Line

Installing a beadboard ceiling can add a warm look to any room in your home. There are several styles and shades to choose from, so that you are able to customize the look of your ceiling allowing it to match the rest of your home or any furniture in the room. It will take some time, but with the right steps and tools, the task is fairly simple to complete.

Step 1: Measure the Area of Your Ceiling

Using a measuring tape, measure the area of your ceiling to determine how much beadboard you will need. You can do this easily by taking the width and the length of the width of the ceiling and multiplying the measurements together. Make sure you take in account any slopes or slanted walls and measure accurately so that you will not have to redo your work later.

Step 2: Purchase Your Beadboard

Though beadboard generally comes in planks that are 8 feet long, there are usually other sizes available. Choose the size and type you prefer and purchase enough to cover your whole ceiling, making sure that you get a few extra pieces for scraps or errors. The sales associate at the store you are working with will be glad to help you.

Step 3: Priming and Painting / Staining

Lay out newspaper in an area where you can paint or stain your wood. Lay out your planks on the newspaper and go over them with primer. Once the primer has dried completely, paint or stain your wood in the color of your choice, making sure that the wood is completely covered evenly. Allow the paint or stain to dry completely. You may want to do an additional layer to make sure that your boards are covered completely.

Step 4: Find the Joists in Your Ceiling

If there is no drywall installed, you will be able to see your ceiling joists. If you do have drywall hanging, go over your ceiling with a stud finder and find them, making sure to mark them with a chalk line. You will need to know exactly where the joists are to ensure your beadboard is nailed into solid wood. Nails that are just into drywall will not be secure.

Step 5: Install the Beadboard Planks

Install the beadboard planks perpendicular to the joists of the ceiling. Make sure that you start against the edge of one wall, rather than in the middle of the room. Using your 4D nails, attach the beadboard. The grooved edge should be against the wall. Then, you will need to drill holes in the plank's face near the edge of the wall, making sure that are slightly smaller than the width of your nails. Once the board has been drilled, nail them to the ceiling joists.

Once the first plank is secure, take the grooved end of the next plank and slip it under the tongue of the first plank. Place a block of wood over the joint and tap the planks tightly together with a hammer. Hit the block of wood to keep from leaving marks on the planks. Add pilot holes and nail the second plank into place through the tongue between the two boards.

Repeat this process until you reach the last plank on the other side of your room.

Step 6: Installing the Last Plank

Using a circular saw, cut your last plank to the length and width you need. Then, fit the groove of the plank over the tongue of the previous plank. Drill in pilot holes and hammer nails through the face.

Once you have finished attaching the planks to your ceiling, add a trim of molding to hide the seam between the planks and the walls.