How to Install Wainscoting

Materials Needed 

  1. Finish Nailer
  2. Miter Saw
  3. Glue
  4. Level
  5. Pencil
  6. Tape Measure
  7. Molding Pieces
  8. Paint

Step One: Choose Material

Chair rail and wainscoting molding is available at any of your home improvement stores in all materials, shapes, and styles. Walk up and down the aisles at Home Depot and grab a couple different pieces that you think would look best within the style of the room.

Step Two: Plan Layout

Determine how big you want your panels to be which will help you determine how much material you should buy. Aim to keep each panel section the same height on one wall, but not all the panel widths in the room need to be the exact same size.

Step Three: Place Chair Rail

Start with the longest wall in the room to determine the height to place the chair rail. Experts say to place the chair rails at 1/3 of the height from the ceiling but it also works to place them at the height of a chair. With a standard 8 foot room, the chair rail would be placed at 32″ from the floor.

Step Four: Glue Panels

Have your chair rails glued and nailed to the wall, then the next step will be to glue and nail up your inner panels. Cut 45 degree angels to make sure each of your corners all line up with one another to create a perfect square.

Step Five: Wood Fill & Sand

Once all of your boxes are glued into place make sure you cover all nail holes with wood filler then, when the wood filler is dry, make sure to sand them all down before you paint.

Step Six: Paint

Find a paint color that works well with your room and then paint your wainscoting.