shopping for beadboard
Photo: Andrew McCaul

But Will It Handle Hard Knocks?

Old-fashioned beadboard went up stick by stick, yielding a tough surface with a lot of character. But humidity is hard on wood, causing boards to pop and paint to crack. Quick-install plywood panels solved that problem but can't take a deep bead. Which brings us to panels made of medium-density fiberboard, or MDF—wood fiber and resin, in various proportions, melded under pressure. These sturdy, ready-to-paint sheets, typically 4 feet high and 8 feet wide, can be milled to look like the real thing. But before you gather your tools and put in an order, here are five things to consider.

MDF panels by Nantucket Beadboard,
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