How to Install Tongue-and-Groove Pine

Written by amanda flanders
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How to Install Tongue-and-Groove Pine
Tongue-and-groove boards can be used in many different applications, such as on the walls or floor (NA/ Images)

Installing southern pine tongue-and-groove has been very popular for many applications since the Colonial times. Southern pine is grown in a vast band spreading from East Texas to Virginia. Using general construction grade southern pine will create a rustic look. Tongue-and-groove can be installed vertically or horizontally. It comes in 4-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch-wide boards. If the wall is 12 feet or shorter you can use one tongue-and-groove board per row.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tongue-and-groove boards
  • 2-inch strapping
  • Screws
  • Cordless drill
  • Nails
  • Hammer or nail gun
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Level
  • Chalk line

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  1. 1

    Measure from adjacent wall to the other adjacent wall to determine the length of tongue-and-groove board needed, starting at the bottom of the wall.

  2. 2

    Cut the first tongue-and-groove board to the measurement. Place the board horizontally along the bottom of the wall, with the groove side down.

  3. 3

    Check to see if the board is level, placing the level along the top of the first board. If the board is not level, lift one end of the board until it is level. Measure the distance between the floor and the board on the elevated side closest to the adjacent wall.

  4. 4

    Remove the board and place on your workbench or cutting surface. Transfer the measurement to the end of the board on the opposite side that was elevated. Place the end of the chalk line on the mark and pull the chalk line out enough to reach the other end of the board. Pull the chalk line tight and hold the line to the corner of the bottom side of the board. Snap the line to transfer chalk to the board.

  5. 5

    Cut along the chalk line on the board. Place the board back into place along the bottom of the wall and double check to be sure the board is now level.

  6. 6

    Place a nail on the tongue of the board, where there is a wall stud. Hold the nail at a 45-degree angle and hammer the nail into the wall stud to secure the board to the wall. Nail the board to every wall stud. Nail the face of the board to every wall stud as close to the floor as possible. Only nail through he face of the board on the first board to secure the bottom.

  7. 7

    Cut two or three more tongue-and-groove boards to the same measurement as the first board. Place the groove of the board on top of the tongue of the first board and tap lightly on the top of the board with your hand, if the groove of the board does not slide right into place on the tongue of the first board.

  8. 8

    Nail through the tongue of the board in a 45-degree angle, like the first board. Continue this process taking a new measurement every third or fourth board to be sure the boards will fit properly.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray polyurethane foam between the wall studs and the insulation to seal out drafts, for the best energy performance.
  • For vertical installation, screw 2-inch-wide strapping every two feet and at the top and bottom of the wall for a nailing surface. Use a level on the first tongue-and-groove board, as in the horizontal installation.

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