I finally put together a post about installing wainscoting in the living room. I saw all these lovely rooms with beautiful moulding in magazines and online and I thought it would look perfect in the new living room. I was thinking we could install it in one weekend and maybe paint the next and have it all done before the holidays. My time underestimating ability struck again! It took us about 4 weekends to finish. With a mobile toddler around things just took longer. Before we had kids when we would do a project we would work each night after work during the week and stay up late working on the weekends but we just don't have time for that now. I know there are faster/easier ways to install wainscoting (i.e. skipping the panel board) but I wanted a real moulding installation with smooth walls for the living room. Here is a step by step installation
Step one is to decide what kind of wainscoting you want. Then we laid out on a piece of paper how we wanted it to look. This room has all sorts of 'issues' windows, 45 degree walls, and interior window openings. This took us longer that I thought.
Supplies you are going to need:
Panel board - You can get yours cut at HD or Lowes. We have a table saw so we cut ours at home.
4" wide vertical boards and 6" wide horizontal boards - Usually in 8' or 12' lengths.
Liquid Nails and glue gun
Nails with air compressor and air nail gun
Caulk and wood filler
Paint, brush, roller, and painters tape
After you take down any existing baseboard the first step is to put up the panel board. After we had cut ours to height (36") we put liquid nails on the back and then put up the board. We nailed at the top and bottom of the board at each stud.
We also cut out for outlets using a Dremel saw. If you need two boards for one wall make sure you make the two boards meet where a vertical piece will be so it hides the connecting boards.
Once the panel board is up you can start putting up the horizontal top and bottom pieces. Nail the bottom piece around the room at each stud. You will have to cut 45 degree angle cuts for the connecting corner pieces. When you put up the top piece, make sure you use a level to insure the horizontal piece is the same height all around. Nail at each stud.
Then start the vertical pieces. You want to measure out the length of each wall and divide by the number of panels you want. That number will tell you how wide the panels are. Measure from one side and mark the width of the panels across the wall. Then nail the vertical pieces. You want to make sure that generally the panels are the same size on each wall.
We used a two piece cap on the top for the chair rail. We put up the chair rail moulding flush to the top of the top horizontal piece. Then we used a 1 1/2" by 1/4" cap to cover the top. You can see that we skipped the installation of corner round to frame out the each picture frame opening. That would have taken more time and also I wanted a more modern look so we decided to skip it.
The last and least fun but most important part is caulking and wood filling. If you don't take the time to fill holes and smooth out all connecting boards all your hard work will look not so great once you paint. You want to make sure you fill all the showing nail holes with wood filler and caulk all of the joints. Then sand to a smooth finish. Make sure you remove all of the dust before painting.
I painted the moulding in a semigloss white that matched the rest of my trim in the house.
Lots of work but worth it. It has totally transformed the living room. I love it in there.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
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