By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Whether painted or finished naturally, beadboard is a popular choice for paneling in many rooms because of its casual but clean appearance. It adds warmth and appeal that no other wall covering can match.
Decades ago, beadboard was commonly used on porch ceilings and as wainscoting. Narrow strips of wood with rounded edges were installed individually. Today beadboard comes in sheet paneling, which means it's much easier and faster to install on a wall.
How much does it cost to install wall paneling? A carpenter will charge $1,296 to install 4-by-8 sheets of beadboard paneling in a 12-by-15-foot room with an 8-foot ceiling and a single door and window, approximately 330 square feet. That includes labor and material. You can buy the paneling and materials for $440 and do the job yourself, pocketing a 66 percent savings.
Materials include the paneling, furring strips, adhesive and finishing nails. Power tools needed are a jigsaw, circular saw and finishing sander. An electronic stud finder is handy when installing the furring strips.
Prepare the room by removing all wall decorations, ceiling or base moldings, and electrical outlet and switch plate covers. Begin by fastening the furring strips to the walls, and then measure and cut the panels to fit around door and window trim and the electrical openings. Then nail the panels to the furring strips and install ceiling and base molding to trim out the job.
Sound too complicated and time consuming? Here's a link to Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local contractors.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to install wall paneling with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020