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How to Caulk Beadboard

Erin Harty

Beadboard is used as wainscot paneling inside homes and is available in both tongue strips and 4-foot by 8-foot sheets. Beadboard is often installed at the top of baseboards and finished with a chair rail at the top.

Keep rags on hand for cleaning up before and after applying caulking.

Caulk is applied to fill the gaps and seal the seams between the beadboard, the chair rail and the wall. Caulking prepares the surface for painting and leaves clean lines.

  1. Clean the surfaces to be caulked. Use a mild soap and a wet rag to wipe the tops of the chair rail and along the seams of the beadboard. Make sure to wipe any soap residue off before caulking.

  2. Apply a thin bead of caulking. Run the tip of the caulking tube along seams while exerting even pressure on the trigger of the caulking gun. For a smoother application, keep the tip at a 45-degree angle. Release the trigger just before you come to the end of the seam—a little caulking will still push out of the tube even after pressure is released.

  3. Create a concave surface on the wet caulking. Run the tip of your finger along the top of the caulking, pushing down slightly. This will push the caulking into the crevice and leave a smooth finish.

  4. Clean off excess caulk. With a damp rag, clean any stray caulking from the chair rail or the seams of the beadboard. It is easier to remove this before it has dried.

  5. Repeat the process until all seams have been sealed.

  6. Tip

    Acrylic caulking is the best choice for indoor application. It is water-soluble and can be painted over. Acrylic caulking will retain its shape for 5 to 10 years. When it begins to crack or show signs of pulling away from the surface it should be cleaned off and reapplied.


    No amount of caulking can cover up a bad installation. Before applying caulk to beadboard, make sure the nails are secure and the board is not pulling away from the wall. Caulking is only meant to fill small gaps and crevices. Caulking used on solid wood beadboard will often crack at the joints.This is due to the swelling and shrinkage of wood fibers during fluctuation in humidity. Don’t try to use the caulking gun with one hand. Most guns are made from metal or heavy-duty plastic and are cumbersome to handle. Place your free hand along the tube of the caulk to hold it steady.