How to save time installing tongue-in-groove paneling, bead board or wainscotting
Even in a closet, a lining of aromatic cedar creates a sense of luxury, abundance and freedom from moths.
One persistent problem with installing traditional knotty pine and western red cedar paneling is that it comes unfinished, so after you've installed the boards you'll still need to give them a couple of layers of clear coat or stain so they don't collect dust, absorb fingerprints and start looking grimy. And don't forget to seal the knots first with a couple of coats of shellac so the pitch doesn't blister through your finish.
Also, if you've applied a finish only on one side of the boards, changes in humidity can cause the paneling to absorb moisture in an unbalanced way. The naked wood surface on the back of the boards draws in moisture and expands, causing cupping and twisting.
A new entry in the market solves many of the issues that DIYers have struggled with in installing traditional knotty pine and cedar. Ready Pine (available through most Canadian hardware outlets) is treated on both sides with a vacuum-coated clear sealer (to halt pitch pockets in their tracks), followed by a finish coat. Thicker than most available pine paneling, Ready Pine comes in eight-foot lengths and can be custom-ordered in several shades. If you're cutting the boards to make wainscoting you can create matching trim using standard MinWax shades. The nice thing is that the pine still mellows after a year or so, even underneath the finish, developing the honey-gold tones you find in the best Canadian antiques.
One design note: Ready Pine is completely reversible, with a different pattern on each side, so if you prefer the detail of a narrower v-grooved board, you have that option.
One other design note: The finish on the wood is a little bit glossier than satin, so if you want a more matte finish you can buff each board with a fine 3M abrasive rubbing pad, (which you can stick onto the hook-and-loop surface on the bottom of a palm sander or random orbit sander to speed things up). Taking down shine on the boards is still WAY faster than all the drippy duties involved in staining or clear-coating.