How to Install Wainscoting on a Staircase Part 3 How to Install Wainscoting on a Staircase Part 3

What You'll Need
Table saw
Paneling nails and hammer
Level
Square
Stud finder
Wainscoting
Liquid nails
Caulking gun

When you install wainscoting on a staircase, there are a few easy steps you need to follow. Wainscoting is a relatively easy material to install on any surface. Following the guidelines below will ensure your project goes smoothly and the end result looks good.

Step 1 – Decide How Much of the Staircase Will Receive Wainscoting

Determine how much of your staircase is going to receive wainscoting. Then, decide how high the wainscoting is going to reach. For instance, if you only want half the staircase wall to receive wainscoting, then determine how high it should go so that you know how much wainscoting to purchase. A rule of thumb is that wainscoting should be a third of the height of your entire staircase.

Step 2 – Determine the Panel Angle

The panel angles are fairly easy to figure out. The sides of each panel will be plumb, and the top and bottom edges will simply follow the slope of the stairs. To figure out plumb, you will need a level. An ordinary level will be all you need. Place the level vertically on the skirt board or molding next to the stairs. Center the bubble on the level to make the level plumb. Place the square handle on the skirt board and adjust it so it rests against the plumbed level.

Step 3 – Transfer the Panel Angle to the Table Saw

After adjusting the square’s handle on the skirt board so it rests against the plumbed level, transfer that angle to your table saw. The square needs to lie on the saw’s table and the blade needs to be flush with the saw blade while the level’s handle is flat against the saw’s miter gauge. All the panel cuts can be made at that setting using your miter gauge.

Step 4 – Attach the Wainscoting to the Staircase

Now that you have your wainscoting cut to the right angle, you are ready to attach it to the staircase. There are a few ways to do this. One way is to locate the studs and mark their vertical placement. Most studs are 16 inches apart. Once you have found one, measure over 16 inches to find the next one. If you do not have a stud finder, you can locate a stud by tapping on the wall and stopping when you hear a solid thud. You can tell when a stud is not available because you will hear a hollow knocking sound. Once you have found the studs, begin nailing the panel to the staircase making sure the nail is going into a stud.

You can also use Liquid Nails to attach the wainscoting to the staircase. Take a caulking gun and load it with a tube of liquid nails and apply it to the wainscoting. Then, attach the wainscoting to the staircase making sure you hold it in place until it is fully attached.

Once you have completed these four steps, you will have a beautiful new staircase. Installing wainscoting is the perfect addition to an otherwise drab staircase. You will also have the added satisfaction of knowing you completed this project on your own.

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