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Installing a Cedar Closet Liner

What's the best way to attach cedar to a wall?


I'd like to line my clothes closets with cedar. What's the best way to attach the cedar to the wall: nails or adhesive?
- David Kunzman, New Albany, Ind.


Tom Silva replies: How I install a cedar liner depends on how the boards are milled. If they're tongue-and-groove, I place them horizontally and blind-nail them at an angle through the tongue, the same way I lay a floor. The groove of the next board covers the nailhead.
When you blind-nail, the nails have to go into the studs, so find and mark their locations before you start. And because these boards are so thin, always drill pilot holes first to prevent splitting. I also find that a dab of construction adhesive on the back of the boards is helpful in tight corners.
Adhesive might be your only option if the boards have square edges or if you want them to run vertically. Just lay a zigzag bead on the back of each board and stick them up like tiles.
Whether you glue or nail, make sure you're installing aromatic red cedar—also known as Eastern red cedar—which smells like the shavings in a hamster cage. That's the stuff that's supposed to repel moths. Western red cedar does not.


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