What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Beadboard Backsplash?

Beadboard Backsplash Pros and Cons

The cozy farmhouse style with its creamy softness is a popular kitchen aesthetic these days. It’s just the right touch of rustic and tradition that makes a person feel like they’re home. So, how can you bring that sense of comfort to your kitchen?

While there are many ways to achieve this from the farmhouse sink to the cabinet design, a beadboard backsplash will also do the trick.

As a backsplash, beadboard’s decorative beading adds to the country-chic aesthetic. It can be installed as individual tongue and groove boards or cut to size from a prefabricated sheet. Relatively inexpensive, beadboard is easy to install. However, with its deep grooves, it’s sometimes difficult to clean. It also requires a protective coating to avoid warping and mold.

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What is Beadboard?

Also known as wainscoting, beadboard is paneling with decorative beading that comes in different widths and sizes. As opposed to shiplap which is usually installed horizontally, beadboard’s paneling is vertical. It was a popular backsplash choice among Victorian homes, and it’s still in style over a century later!

Beadboard is often used on walls and ceilings to create a traditional, homey, and hand-crafted look. And it’s found today in traditional English or American country-style kitchens.

Genuine vs. Manufactured Beadboard

Beadboard comes in two different styles: genuine and manufactured.

Genuine beadboard is hand-crafted tongue and groove boards that are fitted at the beading. They are assembled by hand one board at a time. Because its production is more labor-intensive, genuine beadboard is typically more expensive.

Manufactured beadboard comes in large pieces of fiberboard, plywood, or wood paneling that must be cut to size. The individual boards in genuine beadboard have a tendency to warp in high-moisture areas. Therefore, manufactured beadboard is recommended over genuine beadboard for backsplashes.

Beadboard Backsplash Pros

Along with the benefit of its traditional style, beadboard has many other good qualities that make it a perfect backsplash.

Easy to Install

Unlike laborious tile, beadboard is a DIY-friendly material! Whether you go with individual boards or prefabricated material, beadboard installation couldn’t be easier.

Individual boards come in a tongue and groove style that clicks right into place. It can be installed with one set of hands, though two might make it easier.

Prefabricated beadboard installation is even more uncomplicated. It simply needs to be cut to size and glued to the wall with liquid nails.

When using a circular saw, both types of beadboard are easily cut to any length.

Easy to Clean

Any material used as a backsplash is susceptible to splashes and sprays, so it should be easy to clean. Beadboard is no exception.

Because beadboard is wood-based, any water splashes should be wiped as soon as possible to avoid damage. Other stains from food and dirt can be wiped with a damp sponge and dried with a microfiber cloth. For tougher spots, you can break down the oil build-up with dye-free soap or a vinegar and water solution.

Using a toothbrush helps get into the grooves when you need a deeper clean.

Versatile

Because of its simplicity, beadboard pairs well with other materials found in your kitchen. It compliments granite or marble countertops for example.

Beadboard can be painted or stained any color. It can be as dramatic or as understated as you want. Paint it something bold to draw it to the eye and add a modern flair. Keep it neutral to bring another element into focus.

The range of beading widths also adds to its versatility. Wider boards calm a cluttered area. Narrower boards give focus to a larger space. (Just don’t go thinner than ¼-inch.) The deeper the groove in the beading the more hand-crafted it will look but that also makes it harder to clean.

Inexpensive

While tile backsplashes are elegant and classic, they come at a price. You can achieve the same thing for a fraction of the price with beadboard.

The price is dependent on each individual kitchen, but if you think about it, the square footage of a backsplash doesn’t have to be large. Manufactured beadboard sheets are obviously the cheaper option.

Below is a chart comparing prices of prefabricated beadboard at different stores.

Store Brand Square Footage Price
Lowe’s Craftsman White Wall Panel 32 sq ft $22.98
Home Depot Eucatile Beadboard White True Bead Panel 32 sq ft $22.78
Home Depot DPI Decorative Panels Paintable White Bead Hardboard Wainscoting Panel (5-Pack) 53.3 sq ft $72.00
Home Depot Pendleton Wainscot Panel 42.64 sq ft $18.53
The Build Club Craftsman White Wainscot Wall Panel 12 sq ft $13.10

Beadboard Backsplash Cons

While the good outweighs the bad in the case of beadboard, there are still things to considers before committing to it.

Not Humidity-Friendly

Because it’s made from wood, beadboard isn’t great for a high-humidity space. Wood is not water-resistant unless treated with a high-quality finish. Without a protective coating, the beadboard is susceptible to warping and mold.

Hard to Clean

Beadboard is easy to clean and it’s not. Confused? Just look at the grooves. In theory, the beadboard’s surface wipes easily. This is especially true if you add a protective coating or paint it with a durable semi-gloss. But the beading can be tricky.

Dirt and food are likely to get stuck in the grooves, and if you’re not used to wiping down your backsplash, that can quickly build up. The deeper the groove the harder it will be to clean.

While it’s difficult to clean, the good news is cleaning beadboard isn’t impossible. If you use a little elbow grease and the suggestions above, you can keep it looking like new.

How to Install Beadboard

  1. After carefully measuring the space, cut the sheet to scale with a circular saw. Cut around any outlets. It’s helpful to work in 4-foot sections.
  2. Using a caulk gun, apply liquid nails to the back and glue to the wall.
  3. Staple in place for extra adhesion, especially if using a heavier material. You can also use 2” 18-gauge finishing nails.
  4. Fill in the holes with caulk.

It’s recommended that you paint the beadboard with a either sprayer or roller before installing and touch up any spots afterward. A paintbrush is likely to leave brush strokes. If you paint before installing, you ensure that the backsplash is totally covered. It also makes the painting easier.

Finishing

Once the install is complete, you need to address any unfinished edges. You can choose between quarter-round, caulk, or paint.

If you decide on finishing with quarter-round, the edge of the quarter-round looks best when flush with the edge of cabinets. So measure the backsplash area accordingly.

Related Questions

Do you still have more questions about using beadboard as a backsplash? You’ve come to the right place! Below are some more questions other people had about the same thing.

Is beadboard backsplash cheaper than tile?

Absolutely! Tile comes in a variety of prices. But the average price of a tile backsplash is $400-$600 per 16 square feet. This does not include the cost of labor. If you’re confident in your tile-cutting abilities, you might not need to factor in labor chargers. But you won’t have that cost if you choose beadboard because it’s so easy to install.

Can you put beadboard over tile backsplash?

One of the beauties of beadboard is you can install it over your existing backsplash. Beadboard only needs a bit of glue for installation. So as long as the surface you’re covering is clean, you can attach the beadboard. It gives your kitchen a much needed update without chipping away at your tile.

Is beadboard still in style?

Since its appearance in the Victorian era, beadboard hasn’t disappeared yet. Designers predict that trends in this and other wall treatments will continue to grow. When using beadboard in its traditional style, it’s common to see it painted in whites or creams. White-on-white or tone-on-tone is very on-trend for treatments such as this.

Is it safe to have a wood backsplash behind a gas stove?

While beadboard is safe to use as a kitchen backsplash, it’s worth the extra thought if you have a gas stove. Wood is flammable, so having it behind your stove isn’t ideal. But it can be done. There must be no less than 18 inches between the back burners and the backsplash. Otherwise, it’s a no-go.

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Summing It Up

It seems like beadboard will never go out of style. It can be the added touch that your farmhouse kitchen needs to complete its coziness, especially as a backsplash.

The pros of a beadboard backsplash include its versatility. It comes in a variety of widths and can be stained or painted according to your style. Beadboard is both easy to install and easy to clean (usually). Compared to other backsplash options, it’s inexpensive.

The cons of a beadboard backsplash, though few, include its aversion to humidity. Wood and moisture don’t like each other, so beadboard has a tendency to warp and needs special treatment to avoid mold. While it’s usually easy to clean, the beading in beadboard tends to get filled with grime. And it’s not everyone’s ideal to scrub their tile with a toothbrush.

Brigid Levi

Brigid Levi is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who enjoys a good DIY project and creating beautiful spaces within her home. From cleaning and organization hacks to home decor ideas, she loves helping people in their quest to turn a house into a home. Her hobbies include pretending to be Joanna Gaines while updating her home with her husband and performing in local theater productions.

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