Adding a beadboard accent to a room can be accomplished in several ways.
On the advice of Paul, we trekked over to Lee Lumber this weekend to check out their selection of beadboard materials. They were able to provide both good advice and samples of each material we're considering.
They went so far as to pull down several pallets so we could get a look at each type...
(Note from JM: I do not look THAT big from behind, do I? Wah! I really hope that's the down coat. And I must be wearing 2-3 sweaters...right? Right. Sorry. Had a little "ohmigosh, my backside is on the 'net and I'm J-Lo'in, aren't I?" moment there. Carry on. )
We found plenty of options. Style, labor, and cost requirements are the major considerations when deciding. Here's what we learned, what we've decided to use, and why:
Fundamentally, the approach to beadboard comes down to a choice betwen 8 foot long sheets (available in a 4 foot length) versus 3 inch wide tongue-and-groove boards (available in varying lengths). Each has its merits.
There are three basic "looks" for a beadboard finish:
The following photos shows both sides of a tongue-and-groove board--the top is the beaded side and the bottom is notched.
It goes without saying that installing numerous tongue-and-groove boards is more time-intensive than installing larger sheets. It's also notable that tongue-and-groove installations require additional framing members. A beadboard wainscoat made of boards, for example, would also require horizontal framing members between each joist along the wall to provide backing to nail boards into.
Tongue-and-groove material costs more than beadboard sheets--about twice as much. It is clearly the high end alternative. That said, waste material can close the cost gap somewhat--beadboard sheets only come in 4'x8' units while tongue-and-groove boards are available in a variety of lengths. Thus, a 3' high wainscoat will result in 25% waste material if you use the sheets. It doesn't make up the full cost difference but it is worth considering.
Of course, unless you do the work yourself, the extra labor cost of having tongue-and-groove boards installed should be considered into the final cost as well.
Our Own Decision
After looking at the materials up close, we've decided to go with sheets. Though we prefer the notched look of the tongue-and-groove boards. But we've also decided the difference isn't significant enough to justify the extra cost since the beadboard won't be focal point of the room.
We'll be installing beadboard in several locations around the house--upstairs we're planning a beadboard wainscoat in the bathroom and a beadboard ceiling in our bedroom. Beadboard will also trim out a small built-in cabinet next to the sink.
Downstairs, we're also considering it for a temporary cosmetic makeover for the kitchen. A full kitchen renovation is so far off into the future for us that we're thinking a surface-level treatment could be worth the effort until we save the money to completely "unmuddle" the kitchen.
More to come of course...we hope to install the beadboard upstairs some time soon.