The Ultimate Guide Using Knotty Pine for Paneling & More

Knotty Pine Paneling

Beautiful White Pine Bedrooms

Knotty Pine Paneling has been a hit for interior home and cabin use for centuries. Its appeal has not diminished over the years.

Note its surge in popularity fits right in with the return to the nature trend in the U.S. Pine trees are found all over the world and their abundance lends them to many applications of interior and exterior use.

It can be less expensive for paneling, siding, and ceilings on a covered porch than other species of wood.

Knotty Pine Paneling comes from several varieties of pine trees. It presents a rustic, country, or western décor when used for walls, cabinets, and floors.

It is very distinctive because of its knots, dark spots, or other natural lines. Many varieties have a pleasant, though not strong, scent. The finished products come in unfinished and pre-finished varieties.

Pine trees grow in abundance in the northern states and some southern U.S. states. They are conifers or evergreen trees with their distinctive pine cones and thin needles.

Their resin gives off the pleasant odor. Most pine wood used in construction is well dried instead of green wood. Their many branches create the knots in the boards.

Knotty pine is quite suitable for decorative purposes in homes, cabins, retail stores, and offices. Paneling is its most common use.

Knotty Pine Paneling comes ¾” thick and in widths of 4”, 5”, 6” and 8”.

The sizes give enough variety to fit any project. The wider widths go up faster. The choice is yours.

Exterior Use of Knotty Pine Paneling

Pine is a traditional favorite for log siding in the U.S. and Canada. Pine paneling can be installed as exterior walls and ceilings on a covered porch where it is not exposed to the elements. It is NOT used for exterior siding. It is installed on a covered porch in three common ways. Some people use their imagination and create unique designs. The three are:

  • Use it as vertical siding

  • Mount it horizontally

  • Install diagonally at a 45-degree or at other angles

  • Choose between unfinished and finished surfaces 

Fabulous Knotty Pine Back Porch

Builders typically use the variety of pine that is native to their areas. You can alter this approach by ordering online from leading companies.

You have the opportunity to choose the grade of wood and the variety of pine when ordering online and shipped directly to your home.

Local pine paneling may or may not be less expensive than shipped-in wood. You may be able to buy it online on sale or in closeouts.

Shipping may be affordable or on occasion – free. Price is a major consideration when making your house, cabin, or business plans. Also, think about:

  • The grade or quality of the wood

  • Do you want tongue and groove or traditional boards

  • Find out if it has been properly kiln-dried

  • Have the boards been hand inspected

  • What is the degree of rot resistance

  • Does the wood split, check, or cup too much

It’s best to buy the best grade of pine siding you can afford and you won’t be sorry.           

Some Other Considerations

Most contractors will advise you to avoid fast growth pine and improperly dried pine because it is not as stable and properly kiln-dried wood. It can develop problems before, during, and after installation.

When the wood arrives let it acclimate at the building site for several days or a week. Order it early to allow for this, and make sure the wood is protected during this time.

Ask the mill supplier if the paneling should be sealed before or after installation. Because it is knotty pine you should be able to find short or long boards to meet your needs.

Knotty Pine holds the finish well especially when applied to horizontal paneling. Take a little more care when staining or finishing boards that are mounted vertically to avoid runs.

Installing Knotty Pine Paneling for Siding

Rustic Dining Area That’s Appealing

Once the underlayment of OSB board, plywood, or other material and insulation is installed it’s time to put up the paneling. By this time the wood has become acclimatized for the job.

Did you buy tongue and groove with end-matching or traditional panels? This will make a difference in how you cut the wood and install the paneling.                       

Tongue and groove that locks tightly on the sides and ends are strong and produces less waste. It does not need to be cut and end-butted on studs.

It joins together anywhere between the studs. Make only one cut at the end per horizontal or vertical run.

Installing the wood horizontally uses studs for nailing and makes the job easier and faster. Mounting the paneling vertically or diagonally requires horizontal blocks to be installed between studs to have a nailing or screwing surface.

If you use traditional boards that are not tongue and groove you will need to splice the horizontal pieces on studs. This means more time spent cutting multiple pieces as you put it up.

Put all of these ideas in your plans before buying the paneling.

Maintenance and Care

High-quality Knotty Pine paneling for exterior use should last for many generations. Like other wood species, Pine must be properly maintained. Over the years you will need to:

  • Clean and wash it – a power washer works well

  • Some resealing and restaining may be needed in four or five years

  • Allow the paneling to dry well after washing before applying any new finish

The sun and weather will fade any type of siding – wood, aluminum, vinyl, or steel. A little TLC will keep it looking new for decades.

“Knotty Pine Paneling has been a hit for interior home and cabin use for centuries. Its appeal has not diminished over the years. Note its surge in popularity fits right in with the return to the nature trend in the U.S.”

Are You Remodeling or Starting from Scratch 

Remodeling the interior or exterior of a home or starting from scratch requires two different approaches. Let’s start with remodeling. Since your home already has some type of exterior material on a covered porch or on the interior walls you will need to decide if it should be covered or removed.

Covering is obviously the easier thing to do. Only cover the existing porch siding or interior walls under these conditions:

  • It is sound and in good condition

  • Only a few places need to be patched

  • It will allow for new door and window trim

  • Take into consideration the insulation condition

  • Can you use nails that are long enough to hold it

  • Will it fit properly and how will it look?

Once the surface is prepared, install the window, door and corner trim. Start the panel at the bottom and work your way up. Use a nail gun to make the work go faster and smoother.

A Comfortable Den to Come Home To

If you must remove the current wall covering, start at the top and work your way down. Be careful with the material, door, window, and corner trim in case you want to reuse or recycle it.

Once removed, it will be like paneling a new wall.

Starting from scratch is a piece of cake compared to covering old siding. Put up the insulation and sheathing board if you are putting it on an exterior covered porch. Whether remodeling or starting from scratch, install the window and door trim first.

Next comes the wall covering. Start at the bottom and work your way up. The joints can be connected between studs. The top piece may need to be ripped to width to fill the gap properly.

Learn more about installing paneling from this video.

Think all of this through before buying the knotty pine paneling. If all of this is workable then go ahead and order the material.

When it arrives, store it inside where it is out of the weather and let it acclimate for about a week.

Does the Climate You Live in Affect the Knotty Pine Paneling Used

The answer to this question is “Yes it does.” These conditions affect exterior knotty pine:

  • The number of sunny days in your area

  • How many months you have rainy, humid days

  • The number of days you have dry, arid air

  • Whether you live in the cold north or warm south

  • A lot of strong winds that blow debris on your home

We can’t control the weather, but we can control how we seal and finish the wood and finish the joints.

The weather can dry out the wood. It can cause mildew and mold in a humid climate. The siding on your porch can change colors over time.         

Your interior walls won’t be affected much by the weather. Talk to the wood mill supplier and experienced builders to know how to treat the wood in your area and follow through with it.

This will save you a lot of grief and maintenance over the years

Do I Need To Do Any Staining and Finishing?

Staining is always left to the discretion of the homeowner. Some people like a color in the wood while others prefer the natural wood appearance.

There are many stains available that range in color from light to medium to dark shades.

The better ones are very durable and their maintenance is low.

The best approach to sealing the wood is to apply finishes that penetrate the wood deeply and adhere to the wood well. This approach will protect the wood for years to come. It is advisable to add an EPA registered insecticide paint additive if used on an outside porch or patio.

It can be used in both oil and latex coating. It kills crawling and flying buys by contact. It does not give off a smell or residue. Talk to customer service at the place you buy the knotty pine paneling.

Another approach is to let the wood mill finish the paneling boards in their shop rather than doing it yourself. They use the latest spraying equipment to coat the wood evenly under controlled conditions.

It will cost a little more but will be a high-quality and durable application. This way you avoid all the work and mess to clean up.

Why You Should Consider Ordering Pre-finished Pine Paneling

All our pre-finished pine paneling is tongue-n-groove and end-matched for zero-waste. The clear coat and smoothness of the finish are unmatched in our knotty pine paneling. Each board is sanded before the application of each coat of clear finish which provides a furniture grade finish that is very smooth to the touch.

We are Now offering a 1”x6 " WhiteWashed" Knotty Pine paneling option that brightens up any room.

WhiteWash stain is covered with 2 coats of clear satin sealer to let real wood character show through. Although it is commonly used on ceilings, it can be also be used on walls.

Add Knotty Pine Flooring for a Perfect Complement

Tongue and Groove Pine Flooring

Knotty Pine is not just for walls and ceilings. It also makes beautiful and durable flooring. Take your pick of standard unfinished flooring or pre-finished knotty pine.

Most flooring comes in ¾” thickness. You will find unfinished in 4”, 5” and 6” widths for fast installation. Use tongue and groove with end-matching boards for even installation. Unfinished requires sanding and finishing after it is laid down.

Pre-finished knotty pine flooring comes in 6” width and is a joy to use. It has a micro-chamfer running around all the edges for easy installation.

Nail it and you’re done! It provides a very warm country look to any room. It is generally sold by the square foot. 

 Most people these days put down a vapor barrier and underlayment for a floating wood floor. After doing this, start putting the boards together. Tap them with a block and hammer to make a tight fit at the joints. Follow these simple tips:

  • Stop about ¼” from all walls to allow for expansion

  • Use thin blocks between the ends and walls for spacing

  • Use a nail gun and make sure the first run stays straight

  • Stagger the joints so they don’t line up

  • Once completed, sand if the wood is unfinished

  • If it is pre-finished, clean it

  • Install or reinstall the baseboards.

There you have it. Ask your supplier or contractor if you want more detailed instructions.

Find Superior Log Cabin Wood Products Online

The Log Home Shoppe is here to serve your log cabin and home needs. To show the superiority of our wood products, order a Sample Log Home Kit of assorted wood samples, brochures, and a video to see them first hand.

The nominal fee is refunded on your first order and you get free shipping and handling. Choose one free video:

  • Homeowner

  • Contractor

  • Installation

Add one or two more of our well-made videos at $5.00 each.

Here is what Jim from Pennsylvania has to say about our products: “I just wanted to thank you and tell you how pleased I am with the tongue and groove paneling I received from you. It looks absolutely beautiful on my cathedral ceiling. I was very impressed how straight the boards were (no bows). Thank you very much for a great product.” 

Happy ordering and building from our team.

Sources and References