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How to Source Tongue and Groove Wood Like a Pro!

Pre-finished pine tongue and groove paneling.

After weeks of planning and dreaming about renovating your living room, you're finally ready to pick your materials. You've sketched plans, chosen colors, and flipped through design magazine after magazine. But, as you head to the lumber store and stand in the aisle, a sense of unease creeps in. With so many options, how do you pick the right wood for your project?

Tongue and groove wood sourcing

Don't worry, we're about to teach you how to source tongue and groove wood like a seasoned pro, whether you're a contractor, an enthusiastic DIYer, or a homeowner with a vision.

Why Choose Tongue and Groove Wood?

Tongue and groove wood paneling isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it's also highly functional and versatile. Here’s why it stands out:

  • Interlocking Design: The interlocking tongue and groove design of the paneling creates a seamless and tight joint, ensuring a smooth and uniform surface.
  • Minimized Gaps: The tight fit of tongue and groove paneling helps to minimize gaps between individual boards, reducing the risk of warping or shifting over time.
  • Enhanced Durability: By reducing gaps and ensuring a snug fit, tongue and groove paneling contributes to a durable and long-lasting finish that can withstand the test of time.
  • Versatile Wood Species: Tongue and groove paneling is available in a variety of wood species, including pine, cedar, barn wood, log siding, and more providing options to match any design or architectural style.
  • Customizable Finishes: With a range of finishes available, from natural to stained or painted, tongue and groove paneling allows for customization to suit individual preferences and design visions.

What are my options for tongue and groove wood?

When it comes to tongue and groove wood paneling, the options are as diverse as they are exciting. From the rich warmth of red cedar to the subtle elegance of white pine, there's a wood species to suit every taste and style preference. Additionally, customers can choose from a variety of finishes, including natural, stained, or painted, to complement their existing décor or create a custom look. With such a wide array of options available, homeowners and contractors alike have the freedom to create spaces that are truly unique and reflective of their style.

Wood Types or Species

Wood Types or Species

  1. White Pine:

    Versatile and affordable, white pine is a popular choice for tongue and groove wood paneling. Its light color and subtle grain patterns lend a timeless feel to any space, making it ideal for traditional and contemporary interiors. With its ease of installation and durability, white pine paneling is a practical option for many.
  2. Red Cedar:

    Natural beauty and durable, red cedar tongue and groove paneling add a touch of rustic charm and sophistication to any room. Its rich color and distinctive aroma create a warm and inviting atmosphere, while its natural resistance to decay and insects makes it ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. Whether used for walls, ceilings, or exterior siding, red cedar paneling will enhance the overall appeal and value of any property.
  3. White Cedar:

    Pale hue and fine texture, white cedar tongue and groove paneling bring a sense of natural beauty combined with elegance. This durable and versatile wood species is well-suited for a variety of interior and exterior applications, from rustic cabins to modern homes. White cedar paneling offers the opportunity to create a serene and inviting space that reflects the tranquility of the great outdoors.
  4. Beetle Kill Blue Stain Pine:

    Also known as blue pine or denim pine, this type of wood offers a unique and striking look that sets it apart from traditional wood types. Characterized by its distinctive blue-gray streaks, blue stain pine brings a touch of rustic charm and contemporary flair to any space. Despite its unconventional appearance, blue stain pine is prized for its durability and strength, making it suitable for a variety of interior and exterior applications. Whether used for accent walls, ceilings, or furniture, blue stain pine adds a bold and distinctive element to any project.

To Stain, or not to Stain

Whether to leave tongue and groove wood paneling natural, stain it, or finish are decisions that depend on personal preference and the desired aesthetic for the space. Let’s take an in-depth look at the three different options

Stain Color Options

  1. Natural Wood:

    Leaving the wood natural emphasizes its inherent beauty, showcasing the natural grain patterns and color variations of the woo. This creates an organic look that can complement a variety of design styles, from rustic to modern.  Choosing natural wood is also environmentally friendly, as it avoids the use of harmful chemicals found in stains and finishes. Additionally, it offers flexibility for future design changes, as it can be easily stained or finished to achieve a different look. Overall, natural wood presents authenticity and is a versatile option for enhancing any space.
  2. Stain:

    Staining wood offers several advantages. First, it allows for customization of the wood's color. Whether you prefer a natural, rustic look or a deep, rich hue, staining provides the ability to achieve your desired look. Additionally, staining enhances the appearance of the wood by adding depth, richness, and contrast to the grain patterns and color variations. Stains also protect the wood, helping to seal the surface and guard against moisture, dirt, and wear. Furthermore, staining can help unify the appearance of different wood pieces or species within a project, creating a cohesive look. Overall, staining wood offers versatility, design enhancement, and protection, making it a popular choice.
  3. Finish:

    Finishing the wood is generally recommended to protect it from moisture, dirt, and wear, as well as to enhance its appearance and durability. A finish forms a protective barrier on the surface of the wood, sealing it and preventing moisture from penetrating into the wood fibers, which can lead to warping, cracking, or rotting over time. Additionally, finishes can add depth, luster, and richness to the wood's appearance, enhancing its natural beauty and bringing out the grain patterns and color variations. Whether to finish the wood ultimately depends on the intended use of the wood, the desired level of protection and durability, and personal preference for the appearance of the wood. However, in most cases, finishing the wood is a wise choice to ensure its long-term beauty and functionality.

Pre-finished & Stained is the way to go

Pre-finishing and staining your tongue and groove wood before installation offers several advantages:

  • Substantial Cost Savings:

    Save over 50% compared to the expense of contractor staining post-installation. Our efficient processes ensure cost-effectiveness without compromising on quality.
  • Exceptional Finish Quality:

    Experience a smoother, more evenly coated finish thanks to our state-of-the-art automated sprayers. Say goodbye to uneven application and hello to professional-grade results.
  • Optimal Protection:

    Ensure maximum protection against the elements with our exterior products, sealed on all four sides. This proactive measure guards against moisture infiltration and prolongs the life of your wood.
  • Uniform Look:

    Achieve seamless integration with your wood grain through our meticulous back-brushing technique. This attention to detail ensures a uniform appearance, enhancing the overall visual appeal of your space.


Ultimately, the decision of whether to leave tongue and groove wood paneling natural, stain it, or finish it comes down to the desired look for the space. Natural wood creates an authentic warm and organic look that complements a variety of design styles, while also providing flexibility for future customization. Staining wood provides upfront versatility, allowing for the customization of color and enhancement of appearance, while also offering protection against moisture and wear. Finishing the wood is generally recommended to enhance its appearance, protect it from damage, and ensure its long-term durability.

Our recommendation is to plan ahead if you want to go with a specific color option by staining it. But in almost all cases we recommend going with a pre-finished option to avoid paying for it later, especially since the cost will be around 50% higher. 

Now, you can walk away ready to tackle your next tongue and groove project. When it comes to sourcing and what to look for, consider yourself a pro!

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