Friday, February 4, 2011

Beadboard Backsplash

I love love love beadboard. I love it on the wall, on the ceiling, on cabinets, as wainscot, as a backsplash, in Kitchens, in Bathrooms, on porches. Think Country Beautiful or the Pottery Barn catalog.Luckily I have a house that fits well with the beadboard style. When we moved in, we only had one area with beadboard.. the front porch ceiling (which will be repainted and beautified this spring). We had some wood paneling wainscoting in the Kitchen and also some matching wide paneling in the built-in hutch, but that's it. 
In 2009 we renovated a Kitchen as part of a work project.  We decided to install a beadboard backsplash, with 2 1/2" wide v-groove boards painted the wall color, with a simple 3" base molding.  It looked gorgeous! 
When designing my own Kitchen a year later, I knew that tile just wouldn't work. As much as I like tile (and know a good tile installer aka my uncle), it just didn't seem right for a 240 year old house. The beadboard would give the kitchen a more country farmhouse look, which is what we were going for.
So now it was down to whether to use beadboard panels, or use the real thing. I voted for the panels (less seams, less nails, and a more consistent look. Plus we'd be able to use mdf which would stand up to cleaning better). R, the beadboard installer, wanted to use wood panels, which were 2 beadboards (is that the correct terminology?) wide. They were tongue and groove and relatively easy to install. Since he was the installer, he won this argument (though I still wish we went with mdf). The beadboard looks great, but I do have a couple complaints. Because they were pine panels, they took a ton of coats of paint to cover the wood grain and knots (there were a lot). We also wasted a lot of pieces because there were knots in less than ideal spots (such as right on the edge, or huge knot holes in the middle of a board). Now that they're painted, from afar you don't notice these imperfections. However, they are very rough to the touch, and I worry that they will not do as well over a couple years of use and cleaning (especially since they're right behind my sink). But oh well. This isn't our permanent Kitchen in the house.. it's more of a temporary kitchen to get us through the years until we can afford the addition.
For the base, we decided to use a mdf trim piece we found at Lowe's. Initially, R wanted to use wood (again). But I put the piece of wood behind the sink for a couple days (just to see how it would look), and after about 2 days all of the paint was peeling off and it was basically ruined (so we can't even return it). Luckily Lowe's carried the exact same trim in mdf, which has been installed for about 2 months now and still looks great. I suppose if I had to have one piece not be wood I'd prefer it to be the base trim... this will be getting wetter than the beadboard ever will.
We still have some upper trim to install (very small 1/2" mdf trim, just to cover the seam between the boards and the underside of the cabinets). Once that is installed we can do one final coat of paint over everything, caulk a couple seams and then install my over the sink light (I've been waiting to do this so it doesn't get scratched or broken when the trim/boards were being installed/painted).


  1. Hi, I found you through Picket Fence - great blog! I'm from New England and love old historic houses. I look forward to seeing your work and following your blog. I just started but am also doing home fix-up, health and family stuff, come visit sometime!

  2. Love your new kitchen! I also am a lover of beadboard. I found your blog through Picket Fence and I like it so far. Thank you for posting locations and prices of the items you are looking for. We have the same taste and I love all the things you are picking out/buying. I will be back to check on your progress. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi! Glad you both like the blog! We've slowed down a bit due to the 3 feet of snow we currently have on the ground (makes getting things into the house (we live on a hill) difficult and has made us feel pretty lazy), but as soon as it warms up in the next month or two we'll be renovating like crazy again! Not sure if you saw the 2011 goal list, but we have high expectations for this year!

    Mary, I'm glad you like that I post the locations and prices of things.. We're definitely renovating on a budget, so I love finding good deals and sharing them with people! I hate when I find something I love on a blog but have to search and search for the store, only to find that it's like 3x my budget!

  4. Hi, I just found your blog and wanted to let you know that I am a new follower! :) love your blog!Erin

  5. We want to use beadboard too but our contractor told us not to use mdf because it would eventually bubble from soaking up water, unlike this right do you think? I dont want to have to use a ton of paint, beads are too thin anyway and that much paint may make them less easy to paint in the future without filling the beads.

  6. I've never had that problem with mdf, and neither has the contractor who we used for the project pictured above.. in fact, we had the opposite problem. We originally bought a piece of wood trim to go between the beadboard and the countertop. I just placed it there to see what it looked like and after only 2 days of washing a few dishes the paint bubbled up and chipped off, so bad that we couldn't even return it. We bought the same exact trim but in mdf and it's been there for 5 months now and still looks perfect.

  7. Hello, I found your blog through the Picket Fence site. I just wanted to say that I love your house and the kitchen! I think it is adorable! I too, am a fellow beadboard lover, and I really like the backsplash. I look forward to seeing what projects you have planned in the future.