Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

Wainscoting tips and advice.

24155 79
For those that don't know I am a wanna be east coast carpenter trapped here in Arizona. I would like to start adding cool trim features to my P.O.S. home while we are finishing our addition (going on for almost 4 years).

I would like to add some wainscoting down the hallway and dinning room. So I have some questions for you guys.

Is there a rule on how tall to go? I have seen in photos some 4' some 6' some to the top of door trim and some go to the ceiling. Are there some deciding factors for this?

Plywood, MDF, or 1x stock?? I want it painted so I am thinking poplar or birch if no MDF?

Are there deciding factors for how many panels to divide it into? In half? 80% bottom 20% top?

My house is a boring rectangle ranch with the exception of the addition out the back. Slowly I would like to turn it into something more eastern.

Thanks CT folks!
1 - 20 of 80 Posts
Faux or real? We did this for a clean simple upgrade...



Product Floor Handrail Stairs Flooring




Floor Property Wall Room Ceiling




Floor Wood flooring Property Hardwood Laminate flooring


This was about 40" from the floor...
  • Like
Reactions: CrpntrFrk
Real. Don't want raised panel. I think I prefer recessed. No bead board either.....I think. :laughing:
This is a 38" wainscoting height . 1x4 tops and rails with 1x10 bases . Plywood in between with base caps around frame . Molding Wall Window Door Room
More like a 3/4 flat panel with the trim around the inside to make the wall appear set back from the panel? I like that look!
Yeah like skillman's picture! Nice!
Wainscoting is usually at chair rail height which can vary. 4' is also common. I am not aware of any ratios to establish height.

Judges Paneling is usually at door height to ceiling height.

Raised/recessed was/is usually a period or personal preference.

Since you are not replicating an original do what ever style & height suits your particular taste for that room.
Room Property Furniture Wall Interior design
Built the frames with pocket screws . Then apply it to wall .
  • Like
Reactions: CrpntrFrk
I like these.....

I just don't want it to look like it doesn't belong.

Room Countertop Property Ceiling Furniture




Molding Furniture Wall Wood stain Room
  • Like
Reactions: jb4211
Make a small mock up of what you like and bring it in to your space . Helps a lot seeing it in 3-d for wife or clients . Use your mind and have at It you can't go wrong wainscoting its a canvass for your mind .
Tack some 1x1 strips to the wall at various dimensions to give you a good visual of what will be....
Your ceiling height should play a part in your decision.
I'll put a couple things together here. How high does depend on ceiling height and whether there is crown for best visual effect. You can get a preliminary height by dividing floor to bottom of crown height by 2.6, then use Griz' suggestion of using strips to work out exact height and panel dimensions. Square panels almost never look good. If you don't want to use up a bunch of material, you can use painter's tape, or drywall rips. In fact, you can do almost the whole thing using drywall rips if it gets painted - not that I'm suggesting you do that in your house. Even better, if you have even a basic cad or drawing program, you can just play around on that and see what you get.

Especially in hallways, there's a big visual impact just from the difference in color between the wall above the wainscoting and the wainscoting. When you think you have the right height, I'd suggest you just paint that lower part of the wall to check and see if it's going to close in visually. Sometimes it turns it into a dark hole with dark stained wood.

Edit: If you have builder paper lying around, you can throw some of that up to see what it's like with a medium brown. Don't underestimate the impact your stile / rail widths will have on the final look. They usually shouldn't be the same width. In common dimensions, something like 4" top, 6" bottom, 3" side may be a good starting point, but it's really up to your space and your taste.

FWIW, I like the inset panel look posted earlier.
I would read the article "Misunderstood chairrail" on Thisiscarpentry.com first.

Shoot for golden rectangles on your panels sizes.
  • Like
Reactions: CrpntrFrk
Really, this is all classical based - that's one (not all that common) style, and he may want a different style in his house. Most likely classical will feel completely wrong, JMHO. Even in many old houses, following the classical rules would look out of place. To me, the biggest decision about the panels is whether to emphasize horizontals or verticals - just avoid square panels and 2square panels unless you're going modern geometric (which I don't like).
I would read the article "Misunderstood chairrail" on Thisiscarpentry.com first.

Shoot for golden rectangles on your panels sizes.
Capt,

Sounds like you're leaning towards a craftsman style. Is that right?

In that style a taller paneling was common. Maybe around 5'or a little more. And yes more than one panel high. Sometimes a plate rail supported by corbels. Probably way too much for your simple home.

You can do a shaker style set at chair rail height (whatever that is). For that keep the panels taller than they are wide. For that style leaning towards the golden ratio is good advice.


Are you wanting traditional? Is that what east coast means? Like colonial?

If so, everything I've seen above is too tall as far as I'm concerned.

Paint or stain?

Give me more info and ill try to help.

Bob
  • Like
Reactions: CrpntrFrk
My father is a big fan of arts and crafts homes and being a frugal Scot.
He took an old paneled door, turned it sideways, capped it with a piece of 1x4 with a profile beaded into the front edge. Add a piece of cove under that and you're done.

Not suggesting you do that, but in case you wish to have a paneled wall and not spend more than like 20 dollars, that's your method. hah
  • Like
Reactions: CrpntrFrk
The white panels are MDF and wood trim applied to the wall, then painted. 10' ceilings, they're about 58" tall. The oak one is solid oak raised panels built to match the cabinet doors. 8' ceilings, about 42" tall.

Tom

Attachments

Make sure your elec outlets are centered or placed somewhere they will look ok. Or maybe even moved to the base board.
CrpntrFrk said:
For those that don't know I am a wanna be east coast carpenter trapped here in Arizona. I would like to start adding cool trim features to my P.O.S. home while we are finishing our addition (going on for almost 4 years).

I would like to add some wainscoting down the hallway and dinning room. So I have some questions for you guys.

Is there a rule on how tall to go? I have seen in photos some 4' some 6' some to the top of door trim and some go to the ceiling. Are there some deciding factors for this?

Plywood, MDF, or 1x stock?? I want it painted so I am thinking poplar or birch if no MDF?

Are there deciding factors for how many panels to divide it into? In half? 80% bottom 20% top?

My house is a boring rectangle ranch with the exception of the addition out the back. Slowly I would like to turn it into something more eastern.

Thanks CT folks!
  • Like
Reactions: CrpntrFrk
1 - 20 of 80 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top