September 22nd, 2015

3 Tips for Painting Beadboard

Painting beadboard can be tricky. All those grooves! Nooks and crannies! Do you use a brush or a roller? Both?

Fear not—I’ve done it. You can do it, too. Painting beadboard will take longer than painting a plain wall, but as long as you factor in the extra time, it’s not so bad.

This is the stairway of my old home. I primed the unpainted wood first for better paint adhesion, and then I painted it a bold mustard yellow (try Corn Moon from Glidden paint to get the look).

Our Front Entry & Stairway


  • A good quality 2″ angled brush
  • A disposable cup (or a little container with a handle made specifically for holding paint)
  • The paint

Note: If you are covering unpainted wood like I was, I would suggest a coat of primer like Glidden Gripper, with a light sanding beforehand for better adhesion. If not, you can go straight to the paint. Semi-gloss will give you the shine that beadboard looks best with, and the finish is easy to wipe down and clean.


1. Start at the top or bottom (whichever is more comfortable for you) and work your way up or down, concentrating on a few boards at a time. You’ll want to move in long, fluid strokes, going from dry to wet. That’s a good tip in general for painting—you want to apply more paint on the dry portion of the surface you’re painting and then feather it out by dragging the brush from the new section of paint toward the still-wet last section. It helps minimize brushstrokes.

2. Don’t overload your brush. You don’t want to glop the paint in the little grooves because it will either drip, bead up or crack with changing weather and humidity. Thin, even coats (at least two, maybe three) are the goal.

3. Some people like to use a paint roller in combination with a paint brush. They’ll use the brush to get in-between the boards and then go over the whole surface with the roller. I say master your technique with the brush so you get a nice smooth finish, and skip the extra step.

Yes, painting beadboard will take more time than a traditional plain wall, but the look is so lovely that it’s well worth it.

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Glidden® paint, a PPG brand. All thoughts, opinions and paintbrushes are my own.