Adding Wainscoting

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated October 19, 2020)

Adding wainscoting to any room has become much easier in recent years. This is in large part due to the premade paneling that you can purchase at many, if not all, local home improvement stores. By following these simple guidelines, you will be able to add some beautiful wainscoting to just about any room in a single weekend. You will be amazed at how easy it is to do this kind of work yourself.

  1. Measure. Begin adding wainscoting to your home by taking some measurements. Measure form the floor to where you want the top of your paneling to go. Typically this is going to be about four feet from the floor. After you decide how far up you will be going, it is time to measure the length that you will need. To do this, simply measure the length of the walls onto which you are placing the wainscoting. Be sure to write this all down.
  2. Get materials. Take the measurements to your local home improvement store and get the paneling that you will need. Take your pick from the different styles available, though you should try to go with something that evokes the feeling of traditional wainscoting (i.e. vertical lines). Be sure that you get your paneling unfinished, so that you can paint over it when you are finally finished with your project. In addition to the paneling, you should also pick up some construction adhesive to glue the paneling to the walls, some 10d, 6d, and 2d finish nails, wood glue, and cove molding.
  3. Mark the walls. It is time to take the materials home and begin laying everything out. It is always a good idea to lay out the materials that you will be using, so that you can find what you need as you need it. Once you have your materials laid out, it is time to begin marking the walls for your installation. This will help you ensure that you are installing everything properly. Use a chalk line to mark the walls where you want the top of the paneling to be. Above this line be sure that you mark the studs, so that you can nail the paneling to the walls as well.
  4. Install the wainscoting. Begin installing the wainscoting by first lying the initial paneling against the wall and ensuring it is level with the line you had made. If it is not, trim the paneling enough to ensure it is plumb with that line. Remove the paneling from the wall and apply the construction adhesive. Replace the paneling onto the wall and press it firmly against the wall. In the locations that you have placed the marks for the studs, attach the paneling to the wall using the 6d finishing nails. Space the nails out by about 16 inches along the studs, and only use enough nails as you need to hold the paneling in place. Repeat this process around the entire room.
  5. 5 Cap and finish. Using cove molding, cap the tops and install a baseboard along the bottom of the molding. Attach these using 2d finishing nails. Once you have installed these items, apply some primer and paint or finish according to your decorating tastes. Clean up any mess, and you are finished with adding wainscoting to your room.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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