Installing Wainscotting | Installing Wainscotting – molding

Installing Wainscotting

These tips will help make your wainscot installation go smoothly.

You can easily upgrade your décor and make your rooms look more elegant and finished by installing wainscoting. Wainscoting is an expensive medium that adds the warmth and down home feel of wood while giving your rooms an instant facelift. Installing wainscoting can be a simple weekend project that will give you aesthetic benefits for years to come.

Have the following tools, materials, and items handy before you begin installing wainscoting to make the process go more smoothly: wainscoting panels, molding, construction adhesive, paneling nails, circular and jig saws, hammer, level, stud finder or stud sensor, tape measure, pry bar, screw driver, and goggles or a dust mask. You might also want to have a pair of earplugs handy for when you are running the saws (to protect your hearing). You should allow your wainscoting panels to become accustomed to the climate of the room that you plan to install them in for at least two days prior to installation because wainscoting, like all wood, is subject to contraction and expansion. You want your panels to contract or expand to acclimate as much as they are going to before they are actually installed.

Prep the room where you will be installing wainscoting beforehand. Remove the base molding or other molding in the room, being careful to guard against damaging the molding if you plan to re-hang it later. Outlet covers and light switch covers should be removed also. Wainscoting is typically 32″ tall, so measure up from your floor to a height of 32 ½” (to allow for uneven flooring) and make a mark. Using this mark and your level, draw a line around the entire room. Using your stud finder or stud sensor, make the studs in your wall just above the line you have drawn – these will serve as your guide when you begin installing wainscoting – and will show you where to place your nails.

It is important that you start in one corner and work from left to right when installing wainscoting. Use a zig-zag motion to apply construction adhesive to the back of each panel and set in place so that each panel is flush with the level line that you drew earlier. Secure each wainscoting panel with paneling nails while holding it in place. Precut the holes where any outlets or light switches will be before you put up your panels.

When installing wainscoting, it rarely works out that you will install a full panel at the corner, which necessitates cutting a custom sized panel for most corners. Measure the width of panel that you’ll need and subtract an eighth of an inch from your measurement. Continue installing wainscoting around the remainder of the room. Your final step will be adding the baseboard molding and re-installing the outlet covers.

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