DIY Project: Adding Wainscoting to Your Walls

To many people is a great way to and rooms, whether bathrooms, kitchens, living area, etc. I’ve seen a great variety of designs using wainscoting and I must say, it does enhance the look of a house significantly. Of course, it depends on one’s taste.


For those of you who don’t really know what I’m talking about – let me shed some more light on it. Wainscot is woodwork or panelling, which is installed on walls. It is usually made from oak. There are several types of wainscoting: decorative panels, plywood panels and beadboard. Other materials can be used to create wainscoting, although they are not so common. For example, cultured marble, metal sheets and others.

The point is, regardless of the type of wainscoting you want to use, there is one method to attach it to a wall and I’m going to show you the steps in this article. So, here they are.

How to

Before you begin wainscoting, you need to make sure you have all the tools and materials needed.

Necessary Tools and Materials:

Wainscoting is a time-consuming process, which requires lots of tools and materials. During the process you will also need the following:

  • Pencil
  • Miter saw
  • Base moulding
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Brad nails (2 inches long)
  • Construction adhesive

The Very Process:

  1. The first step is to remove the baseboard moulding from the wall. Clean up the area well.
  2. Make measurements. Determine the wainscoting height you want to achieve and mark the wall using chalk line. Practically, you should mark the area where you know the last MDF baseboard of all will be installed.
  3. Now break down the medium-density fibreboard into strips. They should be about 5 inches and a half. Make sure these strips will fit your walls. Cut them to length, if necessary. It is important for the pieces to be cut on both sides, at an angle of fifteen degrees. When you install them on the wall, you’ll have to join their ends with other strips which were cut to 45-degree angles.
  1. The next step is to cut the wainscoting panels in half. Note that there could be exposed phone jacks or cable outlets, so you need to make cut-outs on the wainscoting panels. Make sure you drill a hole on the piece of wainscoting, right over the area you want to cut out. Then using a jigsaw remove the excess material.
  2. Next, add a generous amount of construction adhesive to the panels and stick them to the wall. Be sure to place the bottom of the wainscoting facing the medium-density fibreboard.
  3. Use brad nails to stick the panels to the wall.
  4. Fill the gaps.
  5. Now, attach the base moulding using brand nails.
  6. The last step is to clean the room. This kind of task produces big amount of dust and dirt. Don’t forget to clean up the mess, so that the room looks great. Vacuum the area, sweep and mop the floor, remove all the dust.
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Here I have shown an easy way to install wainscoting to any room of your house, but if you find it a bit difficult, you can always hire a professional installer or decorator to get the job done. It’s going to take less time and effort. Try this technique at home and share the results with me.


The article is contributed by Builders in Wimbledon