How to Cut Beadboard Wainscoting to Fit around a Window

By Gene Hamilton, Katie Hamilton

Beadboard is sold in 4-foot-wide panels that come in an 8-foot length to cover walls and ceilings and also as 32-inch-high precut panels specifically for use as wainscoting. It comes in unfinished pine and in various woods and finishes. You’ll also find beadboard made of polystyrene that’s perfect for painting.

To fit a beadboard panel around a window, door, or cabinet, you need to do some careful measuring and cutting. For panels that will go around doors and other simple shapes, just transfer the profile of the door molding (or whatever object you’re paneling around) to the panel and then use a saber saw to trim the panel.

To install beadboard wainscoting around a window, you need these materials:

  • Beadboard wainscoting panels

  • Construction adhesive

  • Hammer

  • Line level

  • Measuring tape

  • Miter saw (or miter box)

  • Nail set

  • Pencil

  • Putty knife

  • Jigsaw

  • Safety glasses

  • Sandpaper

  • T square

Follow these steps:

  1. Measure the distance from the last panel to the window jamb and cut the panel to that width.

  2. Measure down from the top of the panel to the top of the sill and mark this on the edge of the panel.

  3. Measure from the top of the panel to the lower edge of the sill and mark this on the panel.

  4. Measure the projection of the sill past the jamb and mark this on the panel.

  5. Use the outline as a guide to create the shape of the sill and cut it out with a jigsaw.


Measure twice and cut once. Continually test-fit the panel to avoid miscutting the panel. Use the same technique of measuring and test-fitting the panel to make cutouts for electrical outlets or other obstructions.