How to hide seams in Beadboard

1. Make sure beads and grooves line up

When installing multiple pieces of beadboard vertically, the most important thing is that the grooves and beads line up as perfectly as possible. There can be a difference from one sheet to another so take some time to select beadboard panels that match.

8. Paint with care

 Above: Shiplap adds warmth to a bath in A Cottage
Above: Shiplap adds warmth to a bath in A Cottage Reborn in Coastal Maine. Photograph by Justine Hand.

The charm of shiplap comes from the visible gap between the boards. If you choose to paint yours, paint with care to be sure the paint doesn’t fill in the gaps.


Shiplap to Tile Transition

There are a lot of options to cover where the tile meets shiplap.

You can use any trim with a flat back for this spot. For a modern look, consider using plain trim (like lattice wood).

In this bathroom, I used a more decorative trim for added detail.

4. It originated in harsh climates

 Above: Shiplap cladding looks charming in A Briti
Above: Shiplap cladding looks charming in A British Standard Kitchen in a Shepherd’s Hut, and has the added benefit of keeping the little kitchen snug against the wind.

Shiplap is associated with seaside cottages and cabins for a reason: historically, it was used in punishing climates as a way of keeping wind and water out of houses, thanks to the overlapping joint between the boards. It was also often installed on the exteriors of buildings. (More on the history of shiplap in Expert Advice: The Enduring Appeal of Shiplap.)

4. Clean wood putty out of grooves

 Use the corner of a putty knife to scrape the putty out of the grooves. In some areas you may find that this action reveals the seam. If this happens, reapply putty in that area and take less out when scraping the groove. You may have to use your fingers to shape and round the wood putty over the beads.

Beware of Home Improvement Centers Saws!

The cheapest way to get thin wood shiplap strips at an exact height is to cut them out of ¼″ plywood or MDF sheets (I went with maple plywood sheets because they seemed to be the smoothest of the ¼″ plywood options at Lowes).  Lowes and Home Depot will cut your plywood sheets into strips for you for a small fee and while I know some people have had this done successfully, I would definitely proceed with caution – their saws are made for doing rough cuts and often leave jagged and/or uneven edges. If you’re going to try having them do it for you, I would try just one sheet first to check that you’re getting a nice clean and even cut. If not, hire this job out to a contractor if you don’t have your own table saw.

Another option that’s become available since doing my shiplap walls is buying pre-cut & boards like {these} – they get great reviews!

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