I’m dedicating this article to my three blood Uncles, my brother, and my two Grandfathers. I want you all to know that I was paying attention and I did actually learn something!
We’ve gotten a lot of comments on our beadboard bar makeover! Well, brace yourselves, here is the nitty gritty on our project from this past weekend. While I have to admit that actually “doing” this project was a lot more fun than “writing” about it, I’m convinced that if I can spread good cheer about the wonders of power saws and compressors, then perhaps more women will be willing to use them! However, mad props to my husband, J, who served as my spotter all weekend long so that I could write my first power tool article! All hail the Jigsaw, the Table Saw, the Compressor, and the Nail gun!
Prep your area: This is always my favorite step – removing baseboards (and power outlet covers, paintings, etc.). The easiest way to get baseboards out is to first score the caulk line on top of your baseboards, stick a chisel in between wall and baseboard (or if you’re in a pinch, a flat-head screwdriver), and hammer away.
It’s so much fun and it’s a great stress reliever! I would add, however, that we really didn’t take the time to “conserve” our baseboards because they’re so crappy to begin with, but do take care if you plan to reuse yours not to put *too* much pressure when you’re removing it simply because you don’t want to hurt your baseboards (obviously, if you’re painting them later, then it’s not that big of a deal).
Buy your boards: So first off, I should mention that there are many options for beadboard. You could buy paneling that you can install with a little bit of glue and a finishing nail and be done with it. It usually comes in “sheets” and is about chair rail height (or about 3 feet). Really, anybody can install it. Unfortunately, since we had 42″ of bar, we needed to go with “real” beadboard as it provides more flexibility in terms of height. It’s made of paint-grade MDF, it is tongue and groove and the particular kind we got is about 8 feet tall – or, rather, cut down the middle, it gives us two for the price of one – always out for a bargain! Naturally, I didn’t take a photo of the product and I can’t find it online, so here is a cropped photo that we took during our project this weekend (no, your eyes aren’t going bad, it really is a little blurry):
We purchased 3 packages of the stuff and we used all of it. I think there are 3 planks per package, which translates to 6 (because we cut them in half), which translates to 18 for all of the packages together. Are you with me?
Cut ‘er Up: Measure twice, cut once! There is no dress rehearsal for this one. If you have bought the same stuff as above, then you will need to cut it to size. You probably don’t have to have a table saw for this one, but I would highly recommend it. If you don’t have a table saw, then a very steady hand saw would do the trick, but it will take longer. Just be sure you have a spotter and you both have GOGGLES!!! Safety first! The easiest way to do this is to create a “template”. Cut one to size ahead of time and then double-check to make sure it fits!!!!! If it does, then go ahead and cut the rest to size using your “template” by marking each board and cutting them to size. We did about 2-3 at a time using our table saw. With a hand saw, I would recommend only cutting one at a time.
Start layin’ ‘er up!: Because of the nature of beadboard (tongue and groove), you cannot completely pre-cut everything because you will lose a fraction of an inch every time you install a piece to the groove. Well, you probably could if you’re a *real* professional, but we certainly aren’t! You kind of have to do it once piece at a time. In other words, you lay one piece, then you measure for the following piece and continue along. It’s a little time-consuming, but better safe than sorry! Here are the basic steps. First, you glue your backs:
Then you place where you need it to go. If it’s your first piece, lay it wherever, but if it is any subsequent piece, then you need to get the tongue in the groove. Keep an extra piece of wood around, because you will need to “hammer” one board into the other board, but don’t hammer the beadboard itself. You’ll damage the wood, damage the groove, and it’ll just look like crap. So don’t do it!! Use a scrap piece of wood, lay it next to the beadboard, and gently tap the tongue into the groove. The glue will help keep it secure until you have time to get the hammer and nails (or nail gun! Yippee!!!) into the board. Word to the wise, try to nail into the “grooves” as much as possible! It will hide the nails a little bit better and look a little cleaner.
Tricky, Tricky (or…”Damn Corbels and Wall Warts”): So if you’re installing on a flat wall with no embellishments, you probably don’t have to worry about this step. But I am including it here as another demonstration of me using *another* fun tool, the jigsaw!!! As you can see in the photo above, we have Corbels under our bar – ya know, those decorative things that supposedly “support” your bar. I say “support” lightly because whenever we were climbing up the bar from the floor, we always pulled out those damn things out from the drywall – it surprised us the first few times and we would collapse in fits of laughter! Amazingly, the bar didn’t topple like Koppel! Go figure.
Essentially, you have to make cut outs for the corbels (and for power outlets if you have them – some designers call them “Wall Warts”). Again, no dress rehearsals, measure twice, cut once!! We kept a scrap piece of beadboard around so that we could better measure our wall warts. It was small (about 10 inches), so it was easy to cart around, and we would “dry-fit” it into the tongue and groove and then make markings on that piece for relative locations, etc. You could probably just “measure”, but we found this much easier to do and required no paper to carry around. Then we would measure from the floor or from the top the length of said “wall wart” and make our marks on our next piece of beadboard. Then it was time to get jiggy with it!
Like the sunglasses? Yea, I probably wouldn’t advocate using those over safety goggles, but it was bright out, okay?!? And besides, I needed to girl up my Jiggin’! Also, notice the clamps? Those blue things? Those are exceptionally helpful to keep everything “stable”. Especially while your spouse is taking pictures to prove to his cohorts that his wife actually helped with a weekend power tool project!
Lay, Nail, Measure, Jig, Repeat: That’s basically it until you finish the job! It is time-consuming, but it’s really pretty simple. Though once you get everything up, the project does look a little incomplete. There are a few small steps you need to take to really polish it off…
Baseboards: I may have mentioned this before, but I really abhor the baseboards in our house. So we replaced our baseboards completely on the bar (we also replaced the baseboards in our office as well, so this is definitely a trend in our house). Now, if you’re fortunate to own a table saw, then this isn’t impossible. However, there will be a “Men’s Den” later that shows you how to cut an outside corner for a 45 degree angle – most walls are 90. Yea, that threw me as well. What does 22.5 degrees look like? Ugh….my brain hurts! But anyway, we replaced the baseboards:
Oh, and a word to the wise – if you’re doing brand new baseboards, be sure to dry fit everything before you nail it on – just a little tip. Wouldn’t want to have to tear it all out again once it’s up! The last thing we did was to install MDF decorative corner pieces on all of the corners and that really put the final touch on the whole thing.
Is it White Caulk, Black Caulk, Red Caulk?? (SNL fans will get that reference – sorry, but it just makes me giggle EVERYtime): Ok, enough sickness, but Caulk is amazing stuff! It covers everything! Nail holes (which we had a lot of), gaps, and filling in any areas that just didn’t quite fit together well, especially on your baseboards. It’s messy, though, so keep lots of paper towels around. Ok, how do I exit gracefully from that reference? Answer: I’m not gonna! Just keep reading and git yer mind outta the gutter!
Paint ON: I’ve kind of discovered lately that if I don’t have a paintbrush in my hand, then it’s not a normal day. If you don’t paint your beadboard, it will probably look a little something like this:
Pretty, but definitely unpolished! You can use whatever color you like (and we almost did two different colors (baseboards in du Jour by Valspar and the beadboard in Muslin Wrap by Valspar), but we were lazy and didn’t feel like taping. So everything just went crisp white du Jour by Valspar in Semi-Gloss. I would recommend not going any lower in sheen than a Semi-Gloss, especially under a bar – this area is going to get some wear and tear, so the glossier it is, the easier it is to clean, the happier you will be! But I would advocate taping the corbels and the floor. Honestly, though, no matter how good and clean you are, you will still get paint places, so just go slow and you’ll be good to go!
So there ya have it! Our weekend tale of work, work, and more work! We’re still ogling our bar every time we are down in the kitchen and the family room and I have to say it has totally given the entire area some much needed polish! I hope that this article was helpful! I must admit we are not professional installers, I’m not a professional anything, but I would still say that this project was pretty darn easy *and* easy on the bank. Overall, this project cost us just under $100 for everything (minus the heavy duty tools, etc).
Thanks for reading!