Panel Boards

Panel board in its many forms is one of the best products to make remodeling projects easier and faster. The secret is to buy good quality panel board meeting the specifications for your project and then, install it with care. Panel board usually comes in 4×8 foot panels that are made of particle board or plywood with a finish layer on top. The beauty of prefinished panel board is that it requires no sanding, taping, primer or paint. There are distribution boards designed for outdoor use as siding, for use in kitchens and bathrooms, where there is moisture present, for family rooms and bedrooms, or anywhere else in the home. Sometimes called paneling, these boards come in many different patterns, qualities and price points.

A good distribution board definition would be: a panel of 4×8′ or another standard size such as 2×4′. This panel is made of a base layer of plywood, particle board or similar manufactured wood product with tongue and groove edges or other edge design that makes the panels look attractive installed side by side. There is then a finished layer laminated to the base. This finish layer can look like wood, bead board, ceramic, stone, wall paper or other materials. These finishes can be of varying qualities and materials. Wood panel board can be a layer of real wood called a veneer, or it can be a photographic finish with a protective finish over it. White panel board can have a bead board look with grooves depicting narrow boards side by side, look like whitewashed wood, painted wood, white ceramic tile or another pattern. Wood panel board is the best for wood looks, but the photo finish wood looks are less expensive. Tile board can be a flat photo finish of tile, the tile pattern can have grooves around the tiles to look more real or it can have plastic or ceramic tiles adhered to the board.

Decorative distribution board takes days off a remodeling project because it eliminates the finishing steps you would need with a sheet rocked wall. There is no taping, mudding or sanding required. Paneling can be installed over existing walls, or with new construction it is a good idea to put sheetrock on the wall as a backing. If it will be covered with the panel board it doesn’t need to be taped or otherwise finished. Because distribution board is pre finished, there is no step to hide mistakes in cutting or installing. Measure for each panel very carefully, and then check again. It is very important that every piece is cut to the exact size needed. Nail or screw in a nice even pattern hitting the support boards behind the wall. Nail or screw in the grooves to hide them when possible. Purchase the matching panel board accessories for the ceiling and floor edges and the edge or corner of the wall. There will be a tube or stick of matching repair finish available and it is a good idea to have it on hand to fill nail holes or repair scratches and dents.

Buy your distribution board from trusted suppliers in your area like Lowe’s, Home Depot or your neighborhood building supplier. Check all the sheets for damage and defects, including damaged edges and warping. Only accept the perfect sheets of paneling for your job. You can find liquidation stores that sell seconds in panel board to save money, but then you need to work around defects by buying extra sheets to make up for bad places. No matter where you buy your paneling, make sure you purchase the panels that are rated for your job. If you are purchasing for a kitchen, laundry room or bathroom, purchase panel board designed to withstand moisture. Make sure the paneling you buy does not emit dangerous fumes like from formaldehyde. Purchase a panel board that is thick enough to hold its shape and not get warped or wavy with time. When you purchase your paneling, make sure it can be painted in the future if your decorating tastes change.