PVC vs. Wood Beadboard: A Comprehensive Comparison

Beadboard is a type of paneling with vertical grooves, giving it a unique and textured appearance. It is a popular choice for both interior and exterior applications and can be used to create a variety of looks, from rustic to modern. There are two main types of beadboard: wood and PVC. Both materials have unique advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right type for your specific project is important.

The Pros and Cons of PVC Beadboard

PVC Beadboard is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic Here’s what you need to know about PVC Beadboard.


  • Moisture Resistance: PVC beadboard is waterproof, making it an excellent choice for areas prone to humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens. 
  • Easy Installation: PVC beadboard is lightweight and easy to work with. It can be installed using adhesives, nails, or screws, making the installation process relatively straightforward.
  • Smooth Surface: Unlike wood beadboard, PVC beadboard is usually smooth and uniform in texture, which can be desirable for a clean, polished look.
  • Termite and Pest Resistance: PVC is not attractive to termites or other pests, which can be a concern with wood products.
  • Fire Resistance: PVC beadboard is naturally fire-resistant, which can enhance the safety of your space.
  • Eco-Friendly: PVC beadboard is recyclable, and some manufacturers offer eco-friendly options, reducing its environmental impact.
  • Stain Resistance: PVC beadboard is less likely to absorb stains and is easy to wipe clean, which is particularly beneficial in areas where spills frequently occur.
  • UV Resistance: PVC beadboard is resistant to UV rays, ensuring it won’t fade or deteriorate when exposed to sunlight.
  • Sound Insulation: PVC beadboard can provide sound insulation, which is beneficial in various installations, such as ceilings or walls in noisy areas.


There are very few cons associated with PVC Beadboard. 

  • Limited Aesthetics: While PVC beadboard comes in various styles and finishes, it may not have the same natural and traditional appearance as real wood beadboard. Some people prefer the authenticity of wood.
  • Initial Cost: PVC beadboard can have a higher initial cost compared to other materials like MDF or plywood. However, its long-term durability and low maintenance can offset this expense.
  • Susceptibility to Expansion and Contraction: PVC can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. If not installed properly with expansion gaps, it may warp or buckle in extreme temperature conditions.

Overall, PVC Beadboard is a great choice for every construction project. 

The Pros and Cons of Wood Beadboard

Beadboard was originally constructed from wood and boards are still readily available today. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of using wood beadboard. 


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Wood beadboard offers a warm, classic, and natural appearance that many people find highly appealing. It adds a touch of traditional charm and character to any space.
  • Customizable: Wood beadboard can be easily painted, stained, or finished to achieve a variety of colors and styles, allowing for customization to match your specific design preferences.
  • Variety of Wood Species: You can choose from various wood species, such as pine, oak, cedar, or maple, each with its own unique grain patterns and characteristics.
  • Authentic Texture: Wood beadboard has a tactile quality with real wood grain and texture, which adds depth and authenticity to the design.
  • Environmentally Friendly: When sourced sustainably, wood beadboard can be an eco-friendly choice, as wood is a renewable resource. Look for products with FSC certification or reclaimed wood options.
  • Repairable Finish: Scratches or blemishes can often be sanded and refinished to restore the original appearance.


  • Maintenance Requirements: Wood beadboard typically requires more maintenance than some alternative materials. It may need periodic painting, staining, sealing, or refinishing to maintain its appearance and protect it from moisture and wear.
  • Vulnerability to Moisture: Wood is susceptible to moisture damage, which can lead to swelling, warping, and rot if not properly sealed and maintained. This makes wood beadboard less suitable for high-humidity or wet areas, such as bathrooms.
  • Pest Susceptibility: Certain wood species are more prone to insect infestations, particularly if the wood isn’t properly treated or finished.
  • Limited Design Options: Unlike PVC beadboard, which can have various profiles and finishes, wood beadboard may have limited design options, especially if you prefer a natural wood grain appearance.
  • Environmental Concerns: If not sourced from sustainable or responsibly managed forests, wood beadboard may contribute to deforestation and environmental issues. It’s important to consider the environmental impact of the wood used.
  • Potential Allergens: Some people may be sensitive to natural wood allergens, such as dust or mold, which can be present in wood beadboard if it is not properly maintained.
  • Installation Complexity: Installing wood beadboard can be more labor-intensive and complex compared to some other materials. Proper installation may require skilled carpentry.
  • Color Fading: Over time, wood beadboard exposed to direct sunlight may experience color fading or discoloration, which can affect its appearance.

Although wood can be an excellent choice, the cons associated with using wood beadboard often far outweigh the benefits. 

Shop PVC Beadboard For Your Next Project 

At Plastic Lumber Yard, our team highly recommends using PVC beadboard. If you have questions about how much to order, installation, or how to leave an appropriate gap for expansion and contraction, contact our team today. Email info@plasticlumberyard.com or call (610) 277-3900.