Timber Planking for Internal Wall Cladding

Solid, timber lining in the form of wood strips, also provides a pleasing, décorative timber finish. There is a wide range of colours obtainable in both soft and hard woods and in various profiles.

One of the most popular is tongued-and-grooved board. Usually 75mm-150mm wide and 13mm and 25mm thick, this may have v-patterned grooves at the plank edges.

Timber plank cladding can be fixed vertically, horizontally or diagonally, dependent on the situation and finished effect required. It is easier to clad a ceiling with planks of timber than with panels.


The timber should be conditioned in a dry room, ideally where it is to be fixed, for at least seven days.

When using tongued-and-grooved or square-edged cladding, it is generally necessary to fix batten framework.

Battens may be horizontally or vertically fixed, dependent on the plane of the cladding. For vertical boarding, use horizontally fixed battens; for horizontal fixing, vertical battens.

Diagonally fixed cladding can be fixed to either type of batten fixing. Vertical battens are fixed at 460mm centres; horizontal at 610mm centres.

When cladding from ceiling to floor level, an existing skirting can be used as the lowest fixing point, so battens should not be thicker than the s-kirting. Alternatively, the skirting can be removed and battens fixed at floor level.

Mark out planking with a try-square and cutting knife and cut with a 8-10 point panel saw.


Vertical cladding is started from one corner. Make sure that the first strip is level, as this acts as a datum point for the rest of the work.

Measure and cut each length slightly over size; fit the first plank the groove side of the cladding firmly into the corner. If necessary, scribe this and cut to fit if the room verticals are out of true.

Allow a 6mm gap at tops and bottoms for ventilation. Where necessary, scribe the plank tops at the ceiling, trim off excess with a sharp plane with a fine set and remove roughened edges with fine glasspaper.

Tongued-and-grooved boards allow cladding to be fixed by the ‘secret’ nailing method. The first strip will have to be pinned through the face of the panel, the head punched below the surface and the hole filled. Use 32mm lost-head nails.

Subsequent strips can be put in place and fixed, at an angle, with lost-head nails through the back of the groove and the heads also punched down. The tongue of the next plank slots over this, hides the pin head and holds the plank in place.

Use a chisel to cramp each board. Drive the chisel point into the batten and pull it upright to squeeze the board tightly against the adjacent board. Cramp only on the tongued side of the board. If it is damaged or bruised, it will be covered by the next groove.

Nail and cramp three boards at a time, working from the ceiling downwards, then reverse the work direction, by cramping and nailing from the floor level upwards, for the next three planks.

The last two cannot be cramped and will have to be sprung into place. You may also have to cut the last board and plane a bevel along the cut edge. Cut the boards slightly oversize and fit; they will be slightly bowed.

To achieve a tight, flush fit, spring them into position with a sharp blow of the hand. Fix these planks by nailing through the face surface of the grooves, again punching down the heads and filling the holes.


Internal corners require no special treatment. External corners may be dealt with as follows: cut off the tongue or groove from one length, to square the edge, then glue and pin this flush with the corner. Repeat with the abutting plank. This will present a neat edge. The edges can then be touched on with a dye or matching colourizer.

When fixing diagonal planking to vertical battening, it is essential to fix top and bottom horizontal battens at floor and ceiling level. The first plank fitted is the longest. This is fitted from one corner, at an angle of 45°, to the ceiling or highest point of the area to be covered.

Subsequent planks are pinned on each side of the master plank and the edges cut at a 45° angle. The planks will have to be cut slightly longer to allow for the 45° angle to be cut at each end.

Use a bevel gauge and handyman knife to mark out each angle accurately and then saw. Planks are pinned to battens in the normal way, and, when using tongued-and-grooved board, may be secured by secret nailing. The final boards will also have to be ‘sprung’ into place.

A point to remember is that if shelving or other support is likely to be needed later, fix support battens behind the panelling where they will be required.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Timber Planking for Internal Wall Cladding


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