How to Install Solid Board Paneling
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Home » Woodwork » How to Install Solid Board Paneling
How to Install Solid Board Paneling
Though solid boards are usually installed vertically or horizontally, you don’t need to limit your options to these two installations. For an interesting effect, consider using a decorative pattern.
Cutting and installing boards
Cut solid boards to fit into corners and around openings the same way as you do sheet paneling. To prevent splintering, place finished boards face up if you’re cutting them with a handsaw or a table saw, face down if you’re using a portable saw or saber saw.
You can nail the boards to the wall surface or attach them with adhesive. Nailing is the preferred method. Use finishing nails and recess the heads 1/32 inch below the surface, using a nailset. Cover the nail heads, using a patty stick in a matching color. Where you nail depends on the paneling’s milling.
PATTERNS FOR SOLID BOARD PANELING
vertical pattern. Before paneling vertically with solid boards, you must attach horizontal furring strips. Measure the width of the boards you’re using, then measure the width of the wall. Using these figures, calculate the width of the final board. To avoid a sliver-size board, split the difference so the first and last boards are the same size.
When you place the first board into the corner, check the outer edge with a carpenter’s level. If the board isn’t plumb or doesn’t fit exactly against the adjoining wall, mark it (please refer to my other Hub entitled “How to Install Sheet Paneling” and read on the section “Scribing Paneling). Then trim it, using a plane or saw. Attach the first board; then butt the second board against its edge and check for plumb before you nail or glue it. Repeat this procedure for all subsequent boards.
horizontal pattern. Generally, you won’t need to apply furring unless the wall is badly damaged or not plumb. You can nail the boards to the studs through the wall covering. To avoid ending up with a very narrow board at the ceiling, work out and adjust its size as described under “vertical pattern” above.
Start at a bottom corner of the wall and work up to the ceiling. Nail the first board temporarily at one end, ½ inch up from the floor. Then level the board and complete nailing. Attach the remaining boards in the same way.
diagonal pattern. Installed correctly this pattern appears to run from one wall onto the next. For this reason, cutting the board ends requires special attention. Boards are usually installed at a 45 degrees angle unless the room’s shape or style suggests an alternative. Furring isn’t needed unless the wall is badly damaged or out of plumb.
If you’re making end cuts at 45 degrees, you’ll need a combination square that has a 45 degrees angle (if you’re using a handsaw). Otherwise, a table (bench) or radial-arm saw will do it all very accurately with one adjustment.
Where you begin installing the boards depends on whether you want the boards to run diagonally up to the right or left. If you start at the lower left corner, the boards will run up to the right. Start at the lower right corner to have the boards run up to the left.
In the corner where you want to begin, measure the height of the wall from floor to ceiling. Measure the same distance across the bottom of the wall and mark the wall at that point. Hand a plumb line directly above the mark and make another mark at the top of the wall. Using a straight board, draw a line from the bottom corner to the mark at the top of the wall. This line should form a 45 degree angle.
Measure the length of this line and transfer that measurement to a length of board paneling. Use a combination square to mark 45 degrees end cuts if you’re using a handsaw. Cut the board and nail or glue it into place. For each additional board, measure, mark, cut, and attach, using the same methods.
herringbone pattern. Cutting the boards for this pattern requires even more care than for the diagonal pattern. And you may have to sand the cut ends lightly to make smooth joints.
As with the diagonal pattern, end cuts are usually made at 45 degrees angle. Furring isn’t necessary because boards stretch across plates and studs and can be nailed directly to them.
Installing the boards in this pattern is a little tricky, but the final effect is well worth the effort. You start in one corner and work across the wall. You’ll probably encounter the usual out-of-plumb condition at the starting corner. To ensure proper symmetry, use the following procedure:
Decide how many herringbones will make a pleasing pattern for the expanse of wall you want to panel. Make sure the center of each pattern falls on a stud.Using a plumb line, mark the top and bottom of the wall over the center of a stud. Snap a chalk between the marks or connect them using a straightedge. Each line will mark the center of a herringbone pattern.Temporary nail a 1 by 2 guide strip flush with the first chalk line. This step provides a steady “third hand” as you lay up the first floor-to-ceiling half of a herringbone.As you attach each board, rest one edge against the guide strip. This allows you to maintain plumb as you work upward.After you’ve installed a plumb half-herringbone, remove the guide strip; the completed half-herringbone will serve as a plumb guide for the rest of the job.
random width and thickness pattern. You can install boards of varying widths, lengths, and thicknesses by nailing them against horizontal furring or by attaching them (usually with adhesive) to sheets of inexpensive plywood. For this pattern, you can use pieces of scrap lumber, arranged in any order. Leave the surface natural or finish it with paint, primer, stain, or sealer.
board and batten pattern. Install this pattern either vertically or horizontally. For the vertical pattern, install furring. Square-edge boards are the best choice for this pattern—tongue-and-groove or shiplap are unnecessary expenses. After installing the boards, simply nail battens (1 by 2-inch wood strips) over the seams where the board meet.
board on gap pattern. Install this patter in the same way as you do vertical or horizontal patterns. Each board is rabbeted—shiplap style—usually 1 inch at one side and ¼ inch at the opposite side. When two boards are butted together, you can see the ¾-inch groove between them.
board on board pattern. Installation is the same as for board and batten. Furring is necessary for vertical application. Space the boards several inches apart; then center and nail boards over the spaces.
strip-facing pattern. Solid boards of the same or varying widths are separated by ¾-inch strips 1 by 2 batten laid on edge. Because the boards are usually installed vertically, horizontal furring is required underneath. Follow the instruction for vertical paneling, but attach the 1 by 2 battens sideways so the 1-inch width faces the wall. Toenail the batten at each furring strip.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
When your paneling is in place, all that remains is to add those small but important finishing touches. Molding not only covers exposed edges of paneling, but also adds character to your room when used decoratively. Most board paneling and some sheet paneling also require a stain or paint finish.
Moldings are more than a cover for the raw edges of wood paneling. You can use moldings to cover seams in sheet paneling, to camouflage mistakes and flaws, and to introduce architectural features that never existed before.
Molding along the bottom of the paneling will cover the ½-inch space between the paneling and the floor. You may also want to add molding at the ceiling line and along the edges of large openings, such as windows and doors. A common decorative use for molding is wainscoting.
Moldings are available in a wide range of styles and in many materials, including milled wood, wood grained-printed plastic, vinyl, or aluminum. Most lumberyards carry a wide variety of molding strips to match whatever style of paneling you choose.
Measuring and cutting moldings
When measuring for molding—to frame a window, for example—measure the inside dimensions and cut your material accordingly. Remember that you must reverse the cuts on the ends of each piece of molding. Use a combination square for marking miter joints. For cutting straight lines and miters accurately, use a miter box or a circular saw.
To fit curved moldings, such as crown and base moldings, miter the ends or cut one end to the proper curvature. To cut a curved edge, use a coping saw. Especially when it is curved, molding can be difficult to cut. Clamp the section you’re working with so it won’t “creep,” but be careful to pad the material to avoid marring it. As in any other type of woodwork, remember that a saw blade has thickness, and allow for it.
Cut away the underside of the material when you’re using thick molding so the outer (visible) edge of the molding will fit tightly.
To attach molding, either nail it into place with finishing nails and recess the heads with a nailset, or blind nail the molding. To blind nail, use a small knife or gouge to raise a sliver of wood that’s large enough to head the head of a finishing nail; don’t break off the sliver. Pull the sliver to the side, nail into the cavity with a finishing nail, and then glue the sliver back into place.
You can tape the sliver down with masking tape until the glue is dry. Rubbing the spot lightly with fine sandpaper will remove all signs of fastening. It’s faster to make all the gouges first and then recess all the nails, rather than going through the entire procedure for one nail at a time.
Tips & Warnings
FINISHING AND MAINTAINING YOUR PANELING
Normal wear and tear in a home may leave walls with a deposit or dirt and grease that, if not regularly cleaned off, can gradually change the color of your paneling. For this reason, it’s a good idea to apply a penetrating stain or varnish. See my other Hubs on painting. You can click on the links at the bottom.
Finished walls—either vinyl-covered sheet paneling or solid board paneling—should be waxed when first installed and then cleaned and re-waxed about twice a year.
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“How to Install Solid Board Paneling” is managed by Wenefredo Melencion
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vertical pattern ·
horizontal pattern ·
diagonal pattern ·
herringbone pattern ·
random width and thickness pattern ·
board and batten pattern ·
board on gap pattern ·
board on board pattern ·
strip-facing pattern ·
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