How to Install Tongue and Groove Paneling Part 3

Lead Image for How to Install Tongue and Groove Paneling Part 3
  • 4-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-1,000
What You'll Need

The final steps in installing tongue and groove paneling involve stacking the paneling next to one another in a methodical manner. The last paneling requires a little more muscle to snap it into the space allotted. After this, the finishing requires the use of trimmings and molds to hide unsightly rough edges that might appear. Then you're ready to enjoy the paneling and the wooden, natural feeling it brings into your room! (This is Part 3 of a 3 part series. To return to Part 2, click here.)

Installing All Subsequent Boards

To install your next row of material, align the “groove” of your next loose plank with the “tongue” of the last board you have attached to the wall. Once you have aligned the tongue and groove connectors, fit the boards together by hand. But be careful when you do this, snapping the next board into place too hard or at too severe an angle may cause its “groove” to break or splinter.

When you have the plank in position and level on the wall, repeat the blind nailing you performed on the previous piece, through the “tongue” of this latest plank. However, these planks should not be completely flush against each other. Instead, leave a very, very slight space (about 1/32 inch to 1/16 inch) between them. This space will act similarly to the ¼ inch you left on the top and bottom of the boards. It will be a cushion to allow for the seasonal expansion of the wood.

Having all of your planks cut to the proper length, repeat this step, aligning all subsequent boards’ tongue and groove connectors, positioning them together, and securing them into place using the same blind nailing technique. Do this until you reach the end of the wall opposite from where you began.

Cutting Around Obstacles

Often, and especially if you are paneling a wall to its full height, you will run into obstacles such as light switches, electrical outlets, or even windows or doorjambs. When you encounter such things, you will simply have to take some extra, and very accurate, measurements. Measure from the top of the obstacle, let’s say an outlet, to the top of the board just next to it. Then mark this measurement exactly on the plank you intend to fit around the outlet.

Repeat this by measuring and marking from the side of the outlet and the bottom of the outlet to the side and the bottom of the board just next to it. Then measure the outlet itself. Using these measurements, draw the outlet as a rectangle on the back of the plank you will be cutting. Once you have checked and marked your measurements, use a jigsaw to carefully cut out a place for the outlet. Be sure, again, to cut with the board’s finished side facing down so as to minimize any damage that the saw might cause. Then, simply attach the board to the wall, same as you have been doing in step 1.

Finishing Installation

Your hands and fingers may not necessarily be able to fit or gain the proper leverage to snap the final plank into place, so it will be necessary to use a pull bar to do so. Once that final board is in place, all that is left to do is install covers, baseboards, trim, and moldings, to hide any visible nails, and to achieve your desired final look.