How to Install Beadboard on an Island

The kitchen island is always the gathering place in a home. It takes lots of abuse from feet kicking it if stools are often pulled around it or when people accidentally knock into it while passing by. If the island in your kitchen is looking a bit worn, consider paneling it with some bead board. Bead board provides a cottage-style feeling and is popular in kitchens because it’s easy to wipe down and clean. Bead board is also easy to install, and you can tackle this project in one day.

Step 1

Place a level across the top of the sides of the island on which you’ll be attaching your bead board and use it as a guide to draw a pencil line at the top of each side.  This line will let you know where to place the top edge of each board.

Step 2

Measure the height and width of the sides of the island on which you want to install the bead board.  Cut pieces of bead board to these measurements with the miter saw.

Step 3

Apply five horizontal stripes of construction adhesive on the back of a piece of bead board with the caulking gun.  Affix this piece to the side of the island, starting at the corner. Make sure the top of the bead board is even with the pencil line you drew.  Press the bead board tightly against the side of the island.

Step 4

Hammer finishing nails through the tongues in the bead board about every 6 inches to secure it.  Place the nail punch on the head of each nail and tap the punch with the hammer to sink the nail head.

Step 5

Install the remaining bead board in this same fashion on all the sides of the island.  As you lay a new board, place the groove of the next board overlapping the tongue of the previous board.

Step 6

Cut four dowel rods the length of the bead board with the miter saw.  Glue them to the corners to provide a finished edge; use the construction adhesive and a caulking gun to apply a thin bead of adhesive on the length of the corner and press the dowel into the glue. Wipe away any excess adhesive with a damp rag. 

Step 7

Cut baseboard the width of the sides of the island with the miter saw; cut the ends at a 45-degree angle so you can abut them.  Place the baseboard at the bottom of the bead board. Hammer finishing nails into the baseboard: about one every 6 inches.  Sink the nail heads with the nail punch as you did before.

Step 8

Apply wood putty to all nail heads with a putty knife.  Sand the putty when it dries. You are now ready to paint or stain your bead board, dowels and baseboard, as desired. 

Things You Will Need

  • Level
  • Nail punch
  • Caulking gun
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Power miter saw
  • Bead board
  • Construction adhesive
  • Finishing nails
  • Baseboard
  • Dowel rods
  • Pencil
  • Damp rag
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife

About the Author

JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.