Since the first day I started blogging, the most frequently asked question is “What kind of bead board do you use?” closely followed by “What kind of bead board should I use?” I know there are a bajillion products out there to give you the look of bead board, but the time has finally come for me to share how we hang our bead board walls.
We use a product called Ply Bead, which we can always find at Home Depot or Lowe’s in the same aisle with the plywood & MDF. It varies a little, but runs about $25 per sheet. It’s a big chunk to spend (we used 14 sheets in our living room) but lends more than just looking good. Since I live in a mobile home, it also gives me the additional bonuses of better insulation on my walls making my home more energy efficient, and it gives me sturdy walls to hang basically anything I’d like. (Dude… it’s HARD to hang stuff on flimsy mobile home drywall!)
Ply bead has a tongue and groove feature, where one side is recessed (like in the photo) and the other side has a lip. The top and bottom and simply straight, so it goes together in an interlocking fashion. Notice the gap in the wall? That’s what the wall behind those pesky strips in manufactured homes looks like. The great part of the strips is that it shows you exactly where the studs are, and a full sheet of drywall is the same width as a full sheet of ply bead, making it easier to figure out your layout. We install the ply bead right on top of the drywall.
We use screws in the corners of the ply bead to make sure it’s safe & secure. Notice how he pulled it up off the floor just a bit? That wall is about 102 inches tall, which is about 6 inches more than 8 ft. The sheets we use are 8 ft. tall, so we pull it up off the floor just a little, then cover up the difference by using shims beneath and covering it all up with 6 inch trim on the bottom (aka base boards) and 4 inch trim on top (aka crown molding.)
The second piece overlaps just a bit, to make the tongue and groove action do it’s magic. Then rinse and repeat with all of the screws and nails. To make holes for electrical outlets, we measure out where it needs to be, then cut it out by using a jigsaw.
Once it’s all hung, I use paintable caulk to seal up the corners & where the trim goes, then paint it all. Now here comes the “UGH!” moment… it’s all painted – from top to bottom – with a brush. I know, I know… it’s not fun, but painting it with a good brush will get in all of those nooks and crannies, but also helps to make it smooth and beautiful. There is a slightly rough texture to the ply bead, which is somewhat typical of any ply wood product. Painting it with a brush makes all that grain lay down smoothly and creates a beautiful result.
So… that’s how we install bead board walls. It may or may not work for you. We love this method (which is why we’ve used it in 90% of our home) – but if you have good smooth dry wall to start with, then I highly suggest using the bead board wall paper method, too.