The Ultimate Guide to DIY Pegboard Installation

The Ultimate Guide to DIY Pegboard Installation

May 12, 2020

Have you ever felt lost while trying to keep your workplace in order on a DIY way? 

Let me tell you about perforated hardboard panels (known as pegboards walls) where you can improve style and spend less money, not only as a fast-garage solution to keep floor clutter-free, but also as a key resource for most modern décor initiatives on a budget, because of its diversity, beauty, ease and relative low cost.

What is a pegboard system and how does it works?

Pegboard walls are perforated storage panels made of hardboard, wood, metal, or some other material. They are commonly known for its usage in retail businesses, along with hooks in various shapes and steel rods sticking out to hold peggable products. 

Pegboard ideas and uses

Most of the time, pegboard storage is associated with classical imagery of sheds and any type of hardware sorting. But that is just the beginning of a vast range of uses this system has conquered in the concept of organization everywhere: from home to work spaces of any kind.


Photo: Diana Park.

Pegboard or slatwall?

The possibilities on how to use pegboard are limitless, and when deciding on whether using pegboard or slatwall (this last one considered the ‘rich cousin’ of pegboards, because of its horizontal rows for hanging accessories and its higher cost), the first one is the top choice.

If you think about storage space needed, load capacity, aesthetics, quality, durability, ease of installation, variety of hanging accessories and price, you will probably end up deciding for pegboards.

While MDF and PVC slatwalls offer sturdiness and interesting resistance features for heavy duty objects to hold, installation in walls for both cases is their major drawback, as weight tend to be heavier per panel skilled workers are typically required to make their setting properly at the expense of some more bucks to invest.

Another question I often get, is which, pegboard or French cleat is best: that, not only depends on  elegance you wish to give to a space but also on some woodwork experience required to make French cleat a DIY project (for beveling and wood cutting is still required, apart from the complete set up).

So, why pegboard is the go-to option? Because it is easy to install, fun and with a whole range of hook types in different formats and purposes, like the ones we offer here at Madd Tools

It is important to have in mind that perforated storage panels come in different ready-to-go sizes, widths, peg holes’ diameters and weightiness, important elements to consider besides their materials, color and shapes.

Some of you might interrupt me at this point and ask:

 “But James: can I cut pegboard?”

  • If it is hardboard, the answer is easy-peasy yes! If it is wood or metal, and unless you are a kunoichi with saws and Dremels, I can back you up on that too. If not, give that job to guys at one of our nation’s hardware stores, and give them the pleasure to be your hero and get your order done for you.
Will Lowes* cut pegboard?” (*or your favorite American home improvement retail company)

  • Of course! Just bring them the exact dimensions for your project. If it exceeds the original board size, you will have to consider buying more panels in that regard... Which pegboard size is best should be a matter of determining how much space you want to dedicate to your vertical stowing with all the details.

Can I paint pegboard?”

  • Hell, yeah you can! But please: do it before installation (you don’t want to spill paint everywhere). Like an advice taken from any Pegboard Painting for Dummies book, make sure to have your board surface clean and apply a coat of primer first, on both sides, to protect it from dampness.

Here I suggest a way of doing this without the pain most people share when finishing painting (and after having to unclog thousands of holes to get their pegboard hooks fit in as intended).

Can I use pegboard on drywall?

  • Sure, you can but you still need to be conscious on the type of items to be hung for storage saving, and the capacity of the pegboard itself (related to its material and weight) as well as the wall supporting it (and its studs).

How to install a pegboard

Having cleared that up, installation is quite simple. You will need: measure tape, 1x3-inch furring strips, a drill/driver, wood screws, the pegboard, and a saw (jig saw, circular saw, or table saw).

  1. At first, measure the height and width of the area where you plan to hang the pegboard. With those dimensions, calculate the number of furring strips you will need (they should be spaced every 16 inches). So, if your width measurement is 79 inches, divide 79 by 16 to get you will definitely need 5 furring strips.

  2. Cut that number of furring strips to the height measured in stage 1. At 16-inch stud intervals, fasten the furring strips along the wall. They must be strongly fixed and flush to the surface.

  3. Pegboard usually comes in 4x8-foot sheets, so you might need to cut yours down to size. With a saw, trim the board to the dimensions required and watch out for electrical outlets. If you are planning to keep them in the pegboard, measure and lay out the locations of switches or sockets that will be installed in the pegboard. 

    Carefully cut the holes for any wall plug or electrical receptacle. Size the cut so that the trim plate covers the opening. Hold the pegboard up to the wall to make sure it fits and make any needed adjustments to the pegboard’s overall size.

       4. Then screw the board onto the furring strips. If you are expanding a pegboard, screw in one panel at a time during the whole installation.

And voilà! Your pegboard is ready to use.

Setting your tools in place

Once installed, it comes the time to decide what type of hardware (and hooks) to attach.

In that sense, it is first helpful to lay out the tools you want to store on the pegboard, trying them out in different arrangements. Some people like to draw an outline around each tool (you can do it with chalk) so that its correct placement won’t be forgotten and the best configuration for your storage is defined. After all, customization is what you look for on a pegboard when appealing to one!

Once you have that ready, you can start thinking what type of hook and hangers you need. Depending on the tools you need to place, there is a universe of pegs and holders out there for any object to store, and for every pegboard hook idea you might think of.

Pegboard hangers vary in design and size to accommodate any tool in your battery, and many of them are sold in sets or mixed kits. We, at Madd Tools, have some interesting kits here.

Some final tips

  1. I strongly (and personally) recommend the use of 1/4” hooks instead of those in 1/8” usually found in the market, as a 1/4’’ hook guarantees an accurate and steady fit. It also can carry heavier tools or equipment than its thin counterpart.

In any case, always pay attention to anything you buy for your pegboard concerning hole thickness (to save you from the back pain of leaning to the floor each time a hook falls and pick it up, as most 1/8” inch hooks frequently do drop when grabbing something off the wall).

  1. Keep in mind that most metal pegboards are thinner than popular perforated hardboards.

    Pegboard attachments made for hardboard might incline downwards on metal pegboard. Don’t freak out about it (we said it before, we repeat it again, and you can read more about it here), but it’s useful to know.

That said, we also, at Madd Tools, provide spacers with our products, to compensate for board thickness should you have metal board.

And that’s it. Hope I have answered most of your FAQ´s I’ve received, and wishing this information turns useful to help you make the best decision to achieve your project.

Have a great week!

James from MADD TOOLS

Oh, by the way... Have you downloaded our free eBook yet? It's full of handy, space-saving pegboard tips. And it's free to download for our readers.