Wainscoting on uneven walls


Old 02-03-05, 12:22 PM
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Wainscoting on uneven walls

Hello.. I am currently remodeling the bathroom in my 50+ yr old home. I'm planning on installing wainscoting on the lower half of the wall. The exterior wall bows inwards a bit and is not even. I was planning to use construction adhesive.. but am wondering if I need to install some type of nailing strip to even things out.. also wondering if I end up with a gap between the wainscoting and the wall, if moisture will be a problem down the road.

I am pretty well versed in the use of joint compound, so I could use that to even out the wall. I am dead set against tearing off the drywall, however. I had enough of that when I gutted the kitchen.

One last question - does it matter if I don't completely remove the wallpaper? I removed it from the top of the walls where I'll be painting, but left it on the lower part of the wall which will be covered by the wainscoting.

Any advice will be appreciated..
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Old 02-05-05, 01:16 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,150
It will depend upon them method you are using to construct the wainscoting.
If you are mfg. from a single panel or pre-mfg. on a bench, then you will only see the difference at the chair rail intersection of the wall, which can be caulked.
Old 02-05-05, 06:13 AM
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Shimming the wall with a nailing strip is a good idea. Just be sure it is straight as an arrow on the bottom (so your baseboard or baseshoe is straight), straight on the top (since its closer to eye level) and straight in the corners (so that they don't gap apart if you happen to put a nail in the middle). If you are putting the paneling on with adhesive, the panel only needs a few nails in it anyway to keep it back into the glue. Any gap behind the paneling should not be a problem. You might want to install a panel moulding around the top edge of your paneling... and if there is a gap on top due to shimming, it might need to be caulked.

I did the same thing in my mother-in-law's bathroom, and since she has plaster walls that also bow, I ended up putting a very small sill and apron on top of the paneling. (a 3/4 x 1 1/2 sill, rounded on front edge, with a baseshoe apron, then the top, back edge got caulked to hide any gap where the wall bowed. I held the sill straight along the wall, scribed the bow in the wall with a pencil and belt sanded my trim piece so it matched the bow on the wall- that way I didn't have 1/4" gaps that needed to be caulked.) Hope some of these ideas help.

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