Restore 1930s horizontal beadboard walls, or cover?

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Restore 1930s horizontal beadboard walls, or cover?

Post by jdbryan »

We're installing new kitchen cabinets in our 1930s Tennessee farmhouse in a few weeks. Under 3 layers of wall covering (1/4" sheet beadboard, wallpaper, and 1/4" 1970s faux-wood sheet paneling), we found the original 1/2" *real* wood horizontal beadboard attached to studs that are 24" on center.

Question #1-- are studs on 24" center OK? Do we need to add studs or horizontal bracing before we hang the cabinets? The cabinet installer said no need-- he will use heavy-duty drywall hangers-- does that sound right? (old cabinets were "built in")

The beadboard is actually in pretty good condition despite a ton of nail holes, so we could probably get away with caulking the joints, filling the nail holes, and painting without sanding it (much).
kithen bead board.jpeg
kithen bead board.jpeg (115.96 KiB) Viewed 8025 times
Some considerations:
-- At this point, we've only removed ONE section of 70s paneling. To remove it all, we would have to remove a lot of trim, so not a quick job.
-- We haven't checked to see if there's lead paint present, so that will influence how willing I am to expose more beadboard and restore it.
-- We have electrical work to be done (3 outlets that need to be moved plus adding wiring for under-counter lighting), so it would be easier to just cover the holes instead of repairing/restoring those sections. There are already large holes ( about 5"x10") around the outlets (and I assume everywhere, but I've only exposed 2 holes) that I believe were made in the 70s when the outlets were installed and then covered with sheet paneling-- see pic below.
-- If we need to add bracing for the upper cabinets, then there will also be a lot of repairs-- especially if the boards don't come off easily or in 1 piece.
kitchen bead board 2.jpeg
kitchen bead board 2.jpeg (122.28 KiB) Viewed 8025 times
Question #2-- What would you do? Restore the beadboard in the entire kitchen or cover it? Would you put the drywall over the 70s paneling, or remove the all the paneling and put drywall over the beadboard? It's killing me not to uncover and restore it all... however,

Because of time, ease, and possible exposure to lead dust, we're leaning toward leaving the section of already exposed beadboard for a back splash on that wall (actually, it would be between the countertop back splash and upper cabinets). We would leave the rest of the 70s paneling, and put 1/4" drywall over the paneling everywhere except the back splash section. I think this would be the least amount of work considering the cabinets are being installed in 3 weeks and both my husband and I work... and the beadboard would remain in tact if anyone wants to uncover it in the future! Plus it will add some character, be a nod to the past, and create a beautiful focal point since the cabinets on this wall are 24" off the counter (to allow for our coffee maker) and have glass doors.

Question #3-- How should we frame out the beadboard back splash? The cabinets don't go all the way to the door trim, so I need to either frame it out at the end of the cabinet, or figure out where to end the beadboard. Can we paint the beadboard with good quality latex, or would old-based be better (to fill nail holes and encapsulate possible lead paint)?

Thanks for reading this far, and for any input!

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