Add Distinction to Your Home with Wainscoting

As a trim carpenter, I have been asked to do many different types of trim work in the homes I have worked in over the years. One of the best transformations I have been able to give a room has been wainscoting. Wainscoting can add an element to a room that gives it character and distinction. It can be very ornate or very simple. Today I would like to talk to you about three types of wainscoting that I have done on my projects. The style the first image is the most simple. Many times when I bring it up to a client, they think that it will be too expensive of an option to add to a project. Wainscoting, however, does not need to be complicated or difficult to look great.

Like I said, the first picture in this blog is the simplest version of wainscoting I have installed. It consists of a chair rail, base trim and some panel moulding. The chair rail is installed at about 36” above the ground directly on top of the drywall, and the base trim is installed along the floor. Then the wall is divided up into equal sections and I make picture frames from the panel moulding. These picture frames are then mounted directly to the drywall. Once all of the trim is mounted to the wall, it can all be painted (wall and trim pieces) with a gloss trim paint and it will have the rich look of a wood wall that you would see in high end trim jobs. I have done this style of wainscoting on many projects as an economical way to dress up a project. Every wainscoting job does not need to consist of boxed panels.


The second style I want to discuss is bead board wainscoting. Bead board wainscoting can be a fun way to dress up a play room, laundry room or a back hall way. Bead board wainscoting kits can be purchased at your local home improvement stores. Usually the kit will include a bead board paneling as well as a top rail piece and a base trim. These kits give you all the parts you need to make a great looking room without needing to be a professional trim carpenter. Personally, I love to do the bead board wainscoting in a laundry room or a play room. It is really clean and bright. I like to purchase the bead board in 4x8 sheets as opposed the individual toughie and groove pieces. It is usually less expensive and goes up much quicker. You can then choose any type of top cap and base trim that you like to coordinate with the rest of the project. Most of the bead board projects I have done have been painted white, but I have seen some great projects painted in many different colors.


The third type of wainscoting I have done is a component style. I start with a plywood backing, in the case of the attached photo, it is oak plywood. I try to install the sheets of plywood so that the seams will be covered by the next layer of build out. The next layer is 1x material, which I layout the wall into equal parts. This way, all of the boxes along the wall are the same size. The 1x material is installed on top of the oak plywood to give the wall dimension. The next step is to dress up the boxes with additional moulding. In this picture, the moulding is designed to wrap from the top layer (1x material) to the base layer (plywood), but it can be done with many different types of trim. After the boxes are complete, I add the base trim and then finally the chair rail and cap. The overall appearance has a very rich look especially when it is done all over a room. These are just three of the most common types of wainscoting I have done. There are hundreds of different ways to do wainscoting in a room. If you are looking for that wow factor in your next trim project, I would highly recommend wainscoting.

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