Post #2 in the series “RG’s Complete Guide To Wood Paneling”, subscribe here to be sure to catch the rest of the series.
I almost titled this post Not Your Grandfathers Paneling but then I looked more closely at this picture and thought…isn’t it? In fact, the paneling I’m going to be sharing with you in this post series isn’t new at all, we’ve just gone back to the old way of doing things. And we call it new!
Real Wood, Real Color, Real Nice
New or old, the kind of paneling I’m talking about is the real deal. Real wood (except for a few outdoor options we’ll talk about in a later post) is far and away the best wallcovering material for my taste. Wood offers so much in terms of versatility and value:
- Wood is readily available
- Wood paneling can be painted, stained, or left unfinished
- Wood can look rustic, classy, or ultra-modern
- Wood offers great insulation value and soundproofing
- Wood can be installed by relative beginners (nicely)
The only reasonable objection I know of to wood is the concern of sustainable forestry. I’ve driven through parts of the Pacific Northwest and been shocked by the mountains stripped totally bare of timber. That’s not something I want my kids and grandkids to see.
I’m as against those practices as anyone, but I don’t believe it means wood in-general is bad for the environment. Wood is a natural product and proper harvesting and purposeful planting and growing can make it among the most environmentally friendly products available.
Wood Paneling Styles – There Are Many
We’ll start with a quick overview of the various types of wood paneling, then in later posts, we’ll get into the details of each.
Board & Batten
The top photo and the one above (both from www.coastalliving.com ) are examples of the look of board and batten paneling. I emphasize look because the look can be imitated with plywood (or even drywall) and false batten strips.
Traditionally, board and batten siding consisted of solid wood planks run vertically on an exterior wall. The planks were just pushed up against the adjoining plank with no “lap” on the seam. A smaller strip is added to cover the seam and the nails. In a cross-section view, it looks like this:
While this method is still used for exterior siding, we’ll be talking about using it for interior wall paneling.
V-Joint Tounge & Groove
The term “tongue and groove” applies to any wood that interlocks by having a “groove” cut into one side of the board and leaving a small part sticking out on the other side (called the tongue). When two of these boards are placed side-by-side, they can be joined creating a stronger and more invisible seam.
T&G material is generally “blind-nailed” in the joint where you don’t see the nail.
V-Joint Is Great For Ceilings
One of the real advantages of v-joint paneling is that the joints can be forgiving over long spans. This wood is relatively easy to work with and the look is great. It’s often used on ceilings.
Bead-Board Tongue & Groove
Another great T&G product is widely known as “bead-board”. Now there are also plywood products with the same name, but for the moment, we’re talking about solid lumber. (though it is often hard to tell the difference)
In this photo from brownstoner.com you can see that the entire wall is covered in beadboard with a very close repeating pattern. I’ll get into the details of T&G beadboard in a later post.
Unlike T&G planks, beadboard panels come in sheets. Often it’s impossible to tell the difference and the sheets can be much faster to install. They often aren’t as thick though and sometimes need to be placed over another surface, such as plywood or drwall.
I found this picture on the amazing website, RemodelingGuy.net ! Honestly, I think I have a condition related to beadboard. I have more pictures of the stuff on my website than they do at Coastal Living. I really, really, really… HEART beadboard.
Flat panels use a combination of trim boards to frame a flat section of wall. The flat part can even be drywall, but it is often high-quality plywood. This type of treatment can look incredible.
I wrote about a quick method of using picture frame molding to create wall panels on Hub Pages.
Raised Panel Walls
Raised panels are often something seen only in very high-end homes. The amount of custom effort that goes into getting the panels to line-up properly and look good is no small feat.
A raised panel, traditionally, is made up of joined solid lumber that has been shaped on the edge, just like in a fine cabinet door. Nowadays, painted raised panels can be made out of solid sheet goods, such as MDF. That is very likely the material in the picture below from carolinabuildingservices.com.
There are companies that will custom make your raised panel system for you and send it out ready to assemble, the picture below is from one such company, wainscot-panel.com
More Pictures, Detailed Info, and How-To Coming Up
We’ll go over these types of paneling one-by-one in upcoming posts and talk about how you can implement these ideas into your house.
Which style is your favorite? Are you a beadboard nut like me?
Previous posts in this series:
Post #2 – Overview of Paneling Styles (you’re reading it)
Post#4 – V-Joint Tongue and Groove
Post#5 – Beadboard Inspiration