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Need some help/advice with Craftsman-Style Wainscoting Project

Need some help/advice with Craftsman-Style Wainscoting Project


  #1  
Old 02-01-14, 07:12 AM
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Need some help/advice with Craftsman-Style Wainscoting Project

Hello all,

I'm planning on undertaking a wainscoting project in our dining room sometime soon (i'm not a pro, just a DIYer), and I had a few questions as I'd like to try to do this as correctly as possible.

I've read through the thread below and it was informative, but I still have some questions/concerns, and didn't want to post in a thread that was years old.

Need help with craftsman style wainscoting design

I think we're looking to do a craftsman-like wainscot...nothing too ornate. I'm thinking of a higher style, 54" or thereabouts -- about 2/3 the ceiling height. I haven't decided yet, but may just draw it on the wall and see what looks and feels right.

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Assumptions/Facts
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1) It will be painted, so I've got a little more flexibility regarding materials and fudge-factor, should a cut not be perfect.

2) I was thinking of using 1/2" MDF for the rails/stiles. From what I've read, the 1/2" reveal for wainscoting is pretty standard. This should allow me to terminate right into my casing without issue, though 3/4" would also work.

3) My casing is 1"D x 3.5"W

4) My baseboard is 11/16"D x 6"H. I am/will be using plinth blocks for the casing to base transitions.

5) There will be some type of top cap, though I don't know if it will be a plate rail. Need to determine how to terminate at the casing, as the cap will be wider than 1"



As for the methods of doing the wainscoting, I've seen/read about the following:

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Approach #1
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Rails and stiles framing the existing drywall - no panels in the middle or behind. This technique would result in painting the wall to match the rails/stiles.

While this seems to be the easiest approach, I recognize that it's a shortcut and frankly, I'd rather spend more time and money if the finished product is going to be noticeably different. Our walls are relatively straight (as straight as can be for a 50+yo house) and smooth (just sheetrock - no crazy textures).

Is there anything I should think about or consider with this approach? Stuff that will present later, perhaps when it's too late, that I might not be thinking about now?

For this approach, and potentially others, should the rails and stiles just be butt-jointed, glued (liquid nails) and nailed to the wall? Would biscuits at the butt joints be necessary or desirable? I don't have a biscuit tool, but am willing to buy if necessary.

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Approach #2
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Same rails and stiles approach as above, but with a panel behind them, rather than the drywall. From what I've read, a 1/4" panel seems appropriate. This is where the bulk of questions arise:

(Option A) Skin the wall with the 1/4" panel, then attach stiles/rails on top? Total profile height = 3/4"

(Option B) Build the frames, route a groove, and set the panel inside the frame. Total profile height = 1/2"

I might need to purchase a new router (I have an old one from Dad), and bit(s), but again, willing to make the purchase. I think the effort/difficulty of each option is a toss-up, as I can see problems with Option (A) cropping up (i.e. needing to plan for panel seams to fall under the stiles in order to avoid a ton of caulk & spackle), while Option (B) might take more time an effort to build the frames (again, biscuits, pocket screws, etc?) and making sure they're square prior to getting them up on the wall.

With either of these options, are there any considerations I should be making with the paneling? The first thing that came to mind is warping or buckling of the 1/4" panel. It seems like it might be less of a concern in Option (A), but should it be a concern at all? Would I be ok using 1/4" MDF, or would a 1/4" ply be better? I don't know if I can get the MDF in 4'x8' sheets at the local big-box store, plus transporting the big sheets might be an issue, even if I can get them at the lumber yard. I know I can get big sheets of 1/4" ply, but would that be better/worse/same as using the MDF. Since I'm painting it, the MDF seems preferred, but looking for opinions.


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Approach #3
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Building on much of the first two approaches, the third approach I came across involves using a wainscoting router bit on the rails and stiles, as seen in the project below:

Creative Chaos: DIY Wall Paneled Wainscot/ Board and Batten Tutorial

Assuming I don't want the rails and stiles squared off, void of any trim molding inside of the frames, this appears to be an attractive option. The router bit will be cheaper than buying moldings, while obtaining a similar look. It also may make the creation of the frames easier. I'm still left with the questions above about the panels and techniques though.



Sorry for the long, first post, but I tried to provide as much info as possible. Happy to answer any more questions, and post pics of the room as it exists now if that helps.

Thanks,
Mike
 
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Old 02-13-14, 09:17 AM
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Pls post pics if you're able. Have you considered your electrical outlets? In most areas of the country, it is NOT to code to just pull outlets through, as you need a mud ring so the wires don't touch any combustable materials.

It's always a nicer look to create the panels, with or without backing and glue/nail them to the wall. Being in the woodworking business for the past 19 years has taught me a thing or two and i would stay away from liquid nails. Use an adhesive caulk like Phenoseal by Dap or Poly Seam Seal to glue it to te wall and pop a few brad nails (18 gauge) into the studs.

Becareful about going up 2/3rds or it may over power the room and make the ceilings feel lower.
 
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Old 03-01-14, 06:39 AM
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Creativemeegs,

Thanks for the reply...been busy on my side so I'm a little late getting back to you.

A few questions, then the pictures.

1) Thanks for the tip on the mud ring. Is this always necessary, or only if I wasn't moving the junction box, e.g. if it was a old work box with the tabs that I could easily loosen up and pull forward to be flush with the wall ? Mind you, I wouldn't just unscrew my outlets and mount them away from the junction box, with the wood or drywall between the box and the outlet.

2) Curious, why use the DAP over Liquid Nails? I've used both, but haven't experienced either a) one popping off the wall prematurely, or b) needing to remove whatever was glued, only to find that the whole wall ends up coming down with it. I assume your concern is based in one of those two possible issues.


Here are a few pics of the room. Comments welcome.
Dining Room…Before. - House Plus Us

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-01-14, 07:37 AM
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Yes, it's always necessary to have a metal barrier where wire is passing through wood. You will need to cut out a section of sheet rock in order to attach it. Measure so the face of the mudring comes out past flush with the drywall, which is typically 1/2", then add for the thickness of ur paneling.

Do yoi have any drawings or sketches of what you're going to do and how you're going to make it? Id be curious to see your construction method. Please list all tools you have with it.

In regard to caulk, i dont like liquid nails cuz its not water clean up anf it's a nightmare to clean; along with it not being paintable
 
  #5  
Old 03-01-14, 08:49 AM
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IMO you should omit the panels, and just make frames. I would opt for , as in approach #1 above, but using 3/4 material rather than 1/2, and screw all the frames together with pocket screws. I'd opt for poplar or white wood rather than MDF unless you are really on a strict budget.

When you screw the frames together with pocket screws, the only place you need to use construction adhesive is behind the verticals that might happen to fall in between studs. Biscuits are optional. I don't usually waste my time with them, since pocket screws alone are fine. Biscuits are great if you are only using them alone... assembling, gluing and clamping the frame together until the glue is dry. With pocket screws there is no waiting.

Craftsman style is plain, so other than a slight round over, no detail is needed. I can post pics of a recent job I worked on that sounds similar if you like.

Regarding the outlets, I'd abandon the old outlet boxes and use an old work box that would pull up tight to the back of the wood frame and extend to the face of the new frames. If it would be possible to put them in the baseboard, that might be even better. Otherwise it's nice to have them centered in your vertical stiles, which sometimes means moving them slightly, patching old holes.
 
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Old 03-01-14, 08:24 PM
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Thanks guys. Appreciate the help here.

Regarding tools, I'm amassing a decent collection. I've got:

Table, miter, jig and circular saws
Framing and 18ga finish nailer
Kreg jig (the mini one...a bit of a hassle but didn't want to drop $100 without knowing if I'd use it much)
An older router (it was my dads) but in the market for a new one with table
Orbital and belt sanders
Drill, impact driver

There's other stuff but that's probably the stuff that's relevant to this build. I don't think tools are the issue, and I use these projects as excuses to get new stuff so no worries.

Interesting remarks about the outlets. I have two, each in the same spot on opposing walls. I'm pretty good. With moving outlets but don't want to hassle too much with rewriting through studs if I can avoid it. Is the general practice to have the outlets in the stiles and not in the wall/panel? The room is small and outlets aren't in your face, so I'd likely leave them be if it wasn't too strange looking.

Xsleeper,

If I don't bother with the panels, should I do any kind of prep on the walls between the frames before painting? They're not really textured, but also aren't as smooth as new drywall or mdf or poplar. Also, not sure how straight the walls will end up being. Just finished some trim in the kitchen and things were a bit off...not terrible for a 50 year old house. Nothing some sparkle and caulk couldn't handle. Pics of your recent project would be great.

Creativemeegs,

Thanks for the tip on the phenoseal. Picked some up today with a better caulk gun (finally upgraded from my $2 one) and it worked really well, and as you mentioned, cleanup was much easier than the LN or Loctite stuff.

I have not drawn up any plans yet...perhaps tomorrow. My original post had the specs of my casing and baseboard. I suppose the rails and stiles would be 1x4 or something close to that. Perhaps a slight cap on top but not a plate rail. Something like a simple board and batten, as seen here:
Centsational Girl » Blog Archive Basic Board and Batten » Centsational Girl


Thanks again guys...very helpful stuff. Appreciate it.
 
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Old 03-02-14, 06:50 AM
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I don't think there would be any prep you would need to do, no. Here are the pictures. These were plaster walls, very wavy, and the frames really exaggerated the variations in the walls, so we had our drywaller come and float the panels rather than caulk wide gaps (which would make the panel edges look wavy and/or tapered)

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Old 03-03-14, 06:58 AM
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Pretty cool Xsleeper. Looks like you're on the right track! Great example. Do you have any other detailed examples you can show the member, construction wise?

Thx for sharing
 
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Old 03-03-14, 07:26 AM
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Can you explain more about 'floating' the panels? Did you attach your rails/stiles, then insert drywall rectangles inside (this would alter the 3/4" reveal so guessing no). Or do you mean there's new drywall beind the rails/stiles, with the top cap covering both?

Also regarding the top cap, I see it terminating right into the casing. Can you post some close-up shots of such details (casing, baseboards, top cap)? I'm trying to determine the height we're going to install, and then hopefully things will fall into place. As you can see in my pics, we have a cabinet that would cover almost all of the wainscot on the one wall, which is why we're leaning towards something taller.

Also, any thoughts on creating a small break between the living and dining rooms? The lack of definition now is posing challenges as I try to unify the casing throughout the house, plus I'd like to have something to terminate the baseboard into, rather than just returning it to the wall where the room is supposed to end. Again, concerns with making the space feel too cramped...
 
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Old 03-03-14, 09:51 AM
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After looking at your pics again, I definitely wouldn't go up the wall because you'll need to muck with your thermostat.

Mike
 

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Old 03-05-14, 05:48 PM
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Can you explain more about 'floating' the panels? Did you attach your rails/stiles, then insert drywall rectangles inside (this would alter the 3/4" reveal so guessing no). Or do you mean there's new drywall behind the rails/stiles, with the top cap covering both?
By floating, I was referring to skimming drywall mud onto the existing drywall that is behind the frames. That's why you can see that most areas inside the frames are white. The walls in this house were plaster, not drywall, and it was really wavy. When we put the frames on the wall, even though they were nailed tight to the wall, there were gaps here and there because of the wavy walls. The walls also weren't perfectly true, so the frames were actually shimmed away from the wall in a few places so that the trim would be straight, and the wall was floated out to meet the trim. (the wall was not plumb at the corner where the drywall bucket is sitting, so we had to shim that out to make it plumb or it would have looked crooked if we had nailed it back tight to the wall).

The panels are all assembled with pocket screws. Then applied to the wall. (as in your "Approach #1") This is not a "short cut", it just one of the ways it is often done, especially in a craftsman style home. Panels really only need to be added if the panel needs to be of a different texture or finish than the rest of the wall- such as when wainscotting (frames AND panels) will both be stained and finished woodwork... or when the panel itself will have a profile, such as bead board. (more of a country look) When panels are inserted AFTER the frames are installed, panel moulding is sometimes applied to the perimeter of the panel to cover the edges so that the rails and stiles do not need to be rabbeted (as when the panel is inserted into the frame from behind). Very seldom is wainscoting applied to walls in a similar fashion to how raised panel cabinet doors are made... (rail and stile router bits that create a dado to accept the tongue of the raised panels.)

Also regarding the top cap, I see it terminating right into the casing. Can you post some close-up shots of such details (casing, baseboards, top cap)?
No, I don't have any more pics. But you are right, it just butts into the casing. The top cap is nothing fancy. Just a 3/4" x 1 1/4" poplar trim with square corners that have been eased slightly with a 1/16" roundover and sandpaper. The baseboard is just 4 1/2" flat casing that is topped with a base cap. Same idea as what's shown in this picture, although the base cap was a bit more plain.

Also, any thoughts on creating a small break between the living and dining rooms? The lack of definition now is posing challenges as I try to unify the casing throughout the house, plus I'd like to have something to terminate the baseboard into, rather than just returning it to the wall where the room is supposed to end. Again, concerns with making the space feel too cramped...
Well, hard to say without knowing what sort of casing you are using around that doorway. I would probably opt to run your wainscoting panels past the door and within 5/8" of the corner bead. Your top trim would run all the way to the corner, overhanging the wainscoting panels by 5/8". On the opposite wall (under the beam) the wainscoting would end in the exact same place, maybe 5/8" back from being directly under the living room side of the beam. Your baseboard (assuming it is about 5/8" thick and is taller than the rest of the existing...) would return to the wall at the end of the wainscoting panels as if it was turning an outside corner. The smaller existing baseboard would then just butt into it, and you could cope it into the base if needed. (if it's tall enough that it gets into the profile of the taller baseboard.) Someday if you replace the baseboard in the living room with the exact same profile, you will just cope the base into your return and keep going.
 
 

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