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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Walls Category: Interior Walls: Drywalls / Wallboards

Improvement Project:

How to properly plan for the installation of wainscoting, some things to consider.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):


In properly planning for the installation of wainscoting, there are many things to consider, and they include the following:

  • Pre-cut wainscoting panels over tongue-and-groove planks. When convenience, variety and a quick installation all count, you may want to choose installing pre-cut wainscoting panels rather than tongue-and-groove planks.  The reasons:  Pre-cut wainscoting panels are arguably the most convenient given their tolerant designs and being pre-cut for relatively quicker installations and the ability to satisfy a homeowner with the most discriminating tastes given the wide variety of such pre-cut panels on the market.

  • Select your wainscoting material carefully: Be wary of bowed or warped panels or planks.  Like with any purchase, such a lumber for the construction of a new house,


    you'll want to inspect the material you'll be using to improve your house, and this goes to wainscoting panels and planks.  Like construction lumber, some wainscoting panels and planks sold at stores, here and there, are the "bad pick of the crop," and they include specifically those that are warped or bowed.  Simply avoid purchasing warped or bowed panels or planks by hand-selecting each panel and plank, looking for the straightest kinds available at the store.  If you neglect to do this and end up with either a warped or bowed panel or plank installed, such will stick out like a "sore thumb," ruining what could have been a great improvement upon your home.

  • Adaption of wainscoting material is necessary.  Avoid getting your wainscoting panels or planks from getting wet; if wet, allow them to completely dry for the sake of a successful wainscoting installation.  A good idea is to allow your panels or planks to be store in the room of the intended wainscoting installation (or anywhere near there) for about two weeks so that such panels or planks can become accustomed/adapt to this unique indoor environment before actual installation.

  • You've got to have a solid backing for wainscoting. You cannot even begin to think about, let alone attempt to install, wainscoting panels or planks if such panels or planks will have no solid backing, such as wallboards/drywall.  Attempting to install wainscoting panels or planks directly to wall studs may very well result in warping, bowing or even ultimate dislocation of such panels or planks.

  • Special wainscoting conditions for your kitchen, basement and bathroom.  If you plan on installing wainscoting planks in either your kitchen, basement or bathroom, all of which are "wet" zones, be sure to purchase and install wainscoting planks that have been completely primed--meaning side to side and all edges primed--for such an installation; otherwise, untreated planks may eventually deteriorate over time due to the moisture found in such rooms.

  • Wallpaper may be a better fit than wainscoting paneling. Comparing wallpaper to wainscoting, wallpaper arguably is cheaper to buy and install, easier and faster to install, and is available in a variety of different types that will satisfy a homeowner with the most discriminating tastes, too.

These are some things you should consider in planning for the installation of wainscoting.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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