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Wood Paneling - Two Types of Wood Paneling that Look Fine

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Tileboard and beadboard

Tileboard and beadboard

Copyright/courtesy Georgia Pacific
Everybody professes to hate wood paneling. Wood paneling had its heyday beginning in the 1950s with the advance of faster and cheaper methods of producing particleboard and plywood. Suddenly, it seemed that every den and basement in the 1950s and 1960s had wood paneling. From the 1970s onward, wood paneling was synonymous with cheap, slapdash, and ugly.

But let’s be honest: some rooms call for wall coverings that are inexpensive and easy to slap up, though not necessarily ugly. Photo laminate and tongue and groove paneling, admittedly, are a tough sell. Just like laminate flooring, it is a tough to try to convince people that what they're looking at is actual wood.

Yet not all wood paneling--the industry term is decorative wall panels--needs to be unattractive. Both tile board and beadboard are easy to install and look pretty good.

Tile Board

Tile board is a nice paneling option for some areas such as basements, laundry rooms, and extra bathrooms. It is moisture resistant hardboard with a melamine layer on top. At a quick glance, it does look remarkably like ceramic tile, though a sharp rap with your knuckles will say otherwise. Tile board paneling, unfortunately, tends to come only in white grout on white tile combinations.

But since tile board paneling comes in 4 x 8 sheets--and sometimes even larger--you can slap up (this is becoming a common word, isn't it?) 32 square feet of "white ceramic tile" in about one-tenth of the time it would take you to put it up as real ceramic tile.

Beadboard

Another wood paneling option that isn't so bad is use beadboard. Bead board comes in either pre-finished white or natural, and looks almost as good as "real" bead board put up as individual strips. As with ceramic tile, bead board takes a long time to put up, so the 4 x 8 and sometimes even 4 x 10 sheets save you tons of time.
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