Video: How to Install Paneling

scribing tool, jigsaw, paneling, beadboard, micro pins (pneumatic fasteners)

Hi. This is Nathan Harrison for Here are some fine points from a recent project that will be applicable to many projects throughout the home. We are paneling the back of a kitchen bar and the bar has a countertop overhang which means people will be sitting up against the bar. This is the area we’ll be showing photographs of.

Now, because we’re dealing with typical box-style, manufactured cabinetry which has a void in the back of it, we’re going to nee to use blocking. And the blocking will need to be biased toward the bottom to accommodate kicking be little feet. This is important since only 1/4″ paneling is going to be used in this case. And, frankly, if you do blocking correctly, there is no need to go up to 1/2″ or 3/4″ paneling. Typically, manufacturers will only make 1/4″ and 3/4″, so it’s all or nothing. Just do your blocking properly, and you can go with the 1/4″.

Plan ahead so that you’ve predicted exactly where the joints in the paneling will be falling. And if you get the first piece placed properly, all the others will be easy.

For this job I was provided 4×8 sheets of paneling – 4’x8′, that is. So, I simply rough cut them down to the approximate size of this bar. Typical cabinet height in a kitchen is 34 1/2″. I probably cut these at about 36″ so there would be no way I’d be short.

With beadboard like this we always want the grooves to be running up and down.

So, having prepared the blocking, I brought over the first piece of paneling and just loosely set it into place. I leveled it, which is, of course what should should start by doing if your island is level. There can be times when it is okay and the right thing to do to run an island out of level – probably slightly. This is not uncommon in a remodel. But in this case, the island was able to be run level and looked good that way.

And so I level the piece of leveling and it revealed that the wall here on the left, this column was also level, so I decided I did not need to scribe against the wall. Although that would be your first step if the wall was not completely level. You will need to scribe along the bottom and top of the piece of paneling to make it fit perfectly into this position and to have no cracks along the floor. There will be no base or shoe covering this bottom crack. We want it to look good and fit perfectly to the floor. And we use a technique called scribing. Here’s how we do it.

Here’s a close-up of the very left corner where I began scribing. Find the highest point of the paneling, meaning the place where there’s the largest gap between the paneling and the floor. And you adjust your scribing tool so that you’ll definitely stay above the bottom edge of the paneling here.

And then you simply run all along the bottom piece of this paneling and strike a line with that pencil. The line will be somewhat wavy and that’s good because that means it’s going to fit perfectly to the floor which is wavy in exactly the same way.

Now, here’s a great trick. Before you change anything, you leave the panel clamped just like you had it for scribing the bottom, and you leave your scribing tool at exactly the same setting. And you come up to the top and you scribe to the top exactly the same as you did at the bottom. And when we take material away at the bottom what’s going to happen is this line’s going to drop and be perfectly fitted to the tops of this bar, the top of the bar cabinet.

Now simply we cut these 2 lines with a jigsaw. Cut off the excess and attach the paneling to the cabinetry — to the blocking, actually — with pins and adhesive. Finish nails would be OK; pins are better. I’m talking about micro-pins which are very, very tiny pneumatic fasteners.

Once you’ve done this the next piece should go on very easily and things should go very smoothly from there.