Add Style to Any Room by Installing Wainscot Panels Add Style to Any Room by Installing Wainscot Panels

What You'll Need
Wainscot paneling
Miter or circular saw
Protective equipment (eye protection, gloves, etc.)
Level
Studfinder
Compressor nail gun and paneling nails
Pry bar
Tape measure
Panel adhesive and solvent

Wainscot panels are traditionally associated with high quality and detailed carpentry work. They have often been used in lavish and expensive remodeling projects, or in old fashioned houses. However, you can also achieve the sophisticated appeal of wainscot panels in your home for a much lower cost, by installing premade paneling in the room. To add the style and classiness of wainscot panels in any room of your home, read on for a brief overview and step by step guide.

Step 1 -- Determine How Many Panels You'll Need

Wainscot panels typically come premade to a certain length of about 4 or 5 feet, depending upon the maker. Begin by measuring the space in which you'll install the wainscot panels. Take the total distance along the wall with you when you visit a home improvement store to select and purchase wainscot panels. If the measurement does not match up evenly with an exact number of panels, purchase 1 additional panel to have some spare material.

Step 2 -- Allow the Paneling to Acclimate to the Home

Allow the panels to sit inside of your home for a few days, before you begin to work on them. Because wood naturally expands and contracts with the temperature, bringing them to the standard temperature of your house is helpful for sizing issues.

Step 3 -- Prepare the Walls

Remove all items from the walls on which you'll install the panels. This includes all switch plates, preexisting panels, wallpaper and other materials as well. Also, remove all baseboards and other items which may have been attached to the walls in the area in which the panels will rest. Use the studfinder to locate the vertical studs in the wall, and make a mark on the wall in each location.

Step 4 -- Determine the Level Line

Measure the height of the panels. Use the level to draw a straight and perfectly level line at that height across the walls on which you'll install the panels. Use this as a reference when you set up the panels.

Step 5 -- Install the Wainscot Panels

Begin by installing the first wainscot panel in the corner, and work your way out from there. You can either use adhesive to attach the panel to the wall, or you can use the compressor nail gun to drive paneling nails into the paneling and through the studs behind them. Either way is fine. If you use the nail gun, ensure that the nails are properly set, so they aren't visible. If you use adhesive, be sure to clean up any spilled adhesive with solvent.

Step 6 -- Cut Extra Pieces as Needed

If you require paneling that is narrower than a single panel piece, use the miter or circular saw to cut a larger panel down and install it in the same way. Be sure to wear protective equipment when working with the saw.

Step 7 -- Add Chair Rail and Baseboard

To finish off your wainscot panels, install a chair rail along the top edge. Install a new baseboard, that complements the panels, at the area where the wall meets the floor below it.

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