What Is a Beadboard Backsplash?

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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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A beadboard backsplash is a wall covering made from beadboard and located behind a sink or countertop. This type of backsplash may be used in a kitchen, bathroom, or any other location where a backsplash might be required. Authentic beadboard is available and not too difficult to install, and faux beadboard materials can provide a very similar appearance. Such a backsplash is not quite as impervious to water as a tile or plastic surface, but is very durable if properly installed and treated and can by very aesthetically appealing.

Beadboard, sometimes known as wainscoting, is a type of milled wood. In its original form, it involved a series of wooden pieces that were milled on each end with a rounded depression, and then joined together. A beadboard backsplash has a distinctive pattern of vertical channels. The individual boards in traditional beadboard move, to some extent, with changes in temperature and pressure, but the overlapping joints conceal this fact from an observer. Additional vertical depressions are often added to beadboard to for purely aesthetic reasons.

Backsplashes are used to protect a wall located behind an area in a home where water is used on a regular basis. They are most common in bathrooms and kitchens, where they often extend to protect the entire wall behind a kitchen counter or the whole lower wall of a bathroom. Other areas, such as bars or laundry rooms, may also include backsplashes.


When a carpenter installs a beadboard backsplash, he or she will take care to ensure that the boards are properly sealed. This prevents water from penetrating behind the beadboard backsplash, where it could potentially cause damage and lead to rot. A bathroom backsplash or kitchen backsplash will generally require frequent cleaning, but this will not damage a properly-installed and sealed bead board surface. A small amount of grime may accumulate in the ridges of a beadboard backsplash but can typically be rinsed away easily.

The addition of this type of backsplash can easily serve to make a kitchen or bathroom both more attractive and less modern. Traditional wooden boards are available, and not prohibitively difficult or expensive to install. Large sheets of faux beadboard can also be purchased and make installing a backsplash a very simple affair, although these may be less water-resistant than other products. Plastic versions of beadboard are also available and are reasonably-priced, paintable, and entirely impervious to water damage, which makes them an excellent choice for installation in areas likely to see a great deal of water.


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