The Difference Between Beadboard and Wainscoting

Beadboard has been used in home decorating since the early 1800’s and the traditional style still in vogue today are tongue and groove boards that slide together without the aid of nails, screws or adhesive. Similar to traditional paneling except for the very distinctive groove pattern, beadboard is typically installed vertically, producing a striped paneled look.  Some designers have begun placing it horizontally, creating an edgy visual affect.

Image via Pinterest.

A less expensive alternate is beadboard paneling. While it is more cost efficient and easier to install, it doesn’t have the three dimensional look that traditional tongue and groove offers.


Wainscoting was devised to camouflage a wicking problem that started when plaster and drywall began replacing traditional solid wood interior walls. Because the moisture damaged both structurally and ascetically the lower part of the walls, wooden panels were added from the top of the baseboard to several inches above the damaged area. Then on top of the wainscoting a piece of moulding was attached to prevent damage from chairs and other furniture.



Image via Better Homes and Gardens real estate.


These days wainscoting is used solely as a decorative touch. Modern wainscoting is still typically constructed of wood panels but tile and even vinyl paneling have become popular options. But regardless of the material involved, some type of moulding, normally a design pattern that mimics the size, shape and style of the baseboard is always installed for protection.


Give Schutte Lumber a call at 888-470-4181 and let’s chat about how beadboard or wainscoting can jazz up your home!

Photo 1: Pinterest 

Photo 2: BHG