Wainscoting Installation Methods

When properly installed, wainscoting can become a long lasting part of a room's decor.

When properly installed, wainscoting can become a long lasting part of a room’s decor.

When it comes to installing bead board wainscoting there isn’t just one correct way of doing it. The biggest factors determining which method you use will be the budget you have to work with and the amount of time you want to spend on the project.

The lengthier, pricier option is the one most often used by professional finish carpenters. This method involves removing the drywall from behind the wainscoting and replacing it with 1/2” plywood, which they attach directly to the studs in the wall. They do this because the plywood backing offers a solid base that is consistent across the wall. This solid base is helpful when you’re working with thicker wainscoting running from 3/8” to 3/4”. The plywood backing is also a preferred method when wainscoting is being put up in the laundry or mud room where the walls take more abuse. The plywood backing method requires more work and should be done by someone with experience. Removing the drywall behind the wainscoting is messy work because all of the drywall dust and the plywood has to be cut to the right size to ensure a fit. All the scraps and dust needs to be cleaned up and removed. Before choosing to go this route, you should make sure that you’re not violating any fire codes, because some areas don’t want homeowners removing drywall from their walls and putting plywood in its place, which is a more combustible material.

The quickest and most affordable method is called the glue-and-nail method of installing wainscoting. To do this you apply an adhesive to the wainscot panel to hold it in position so that it can be nailed to the drywall. The panel should be nailed with a fine finishing nail or with a pneumatic pin nailer.

To increase the durability and holding power of the wainscoting a chair rail and trim along the baseboard can be installed. Both the baseboard and chair rail should be attached by using large finishing nails driven directly into the wall studs. Be sure to use large finishing nails so that the chair rail and baseboard trim are firmly attached.

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Cropped view of white couch – Shutterstock (view source)


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