How to Install 12 Ft. Beadboard Planks for a Ceiling

How to Install 12 Ft. Beadboard Planks for a Ceiling. Beadboard ceiling planks are just like regular, flat ceiling planks, except they have parallel lines all along their lengths to give the impression that the individual boards are only about 2 inches wide. In fact, they are usually 8 to 12 inches wide. If you've got 12-foot beadboard and your room is longer than 12 feet, you can stagger the ends of the boards to different joists. This will give the ceiling a random, natural look.

Table saw

Things Needed

  • Electronic stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Long level
  • Tape measure
  • Finish nailer
  • 12-foot beadboard planks
  • Miter saw
  • Table saw
  • Wood trim

Step 1

Mark each joist in the ceiling, using an electronic stud finder to locate them and a level and pencil to draw the lines.

Step 2

Measure along the edge of the ceiling by the wall where you want to start. It has to be a wall that's perpendicular to the joists. Find the last joist within 12 feet of the end, and measure from the center of that joist back to the wall.

Step 3

Mark a piece of beadboard at that measurement. Subtract 3/8 inch from the measurement. Cut it with a miter saw, at 90 degrees, straight across.

Step 4

Hold the board to the ceiling, from one end of the wall out to the joist that you measured to. Put the groove toward wall. Set the end of the board 3/8 inch from the starting wall, to allow for wood expansion. This should put the end of the board right at the middle of the joist, since you subtracted 3/8 inch from the cut. The long side of the board should be 3/8 inch from the side wall.

Step 5

Shoot finish nails through the board, straight up, two nails per joist.

Step 6

Measure the remaining space at the end of the board. Cut and install another board to fit there, leaving 3/8 inch of space at the walls.

Step 7

Measure and cut the first board for the second course so that it lands on a joist other than the one you took it to the first time. Connect the board to the first course by its tongue-and-groove settings. Nail it through the sides, shooting one nail per joist at an upward angle.

Step 8

Continue across the ceiling in courses, staggering the end of each board to a different joist than the board next to it. You can start each course at either end, so the end-seams aren't all on one side of the room.

Step 9

Cut the final course of boards along their lengths on a table saw so they will fit against the last wall, with 3/8 inch of space there. Install wood trim around the edges of the ceiling with your miter saw and nailer to cover up the 3/8-inch gaps.


  • Wear goggles when cutting the beadboard.


  • Ask The Builder: Wood Ceilings.