Here’s a quick flow of a wainscot installation in a custom home we’re wrapping up. Installation is pretty straight forward, but I’ll walk you through the process in case you’re interested. To make it easier to follow, I’ll list the various components and their relevant dimensions.
– Wainscot panels. These particular panels come in tongue and groove sheets 452 millimeters wide and 2.4 meters long, meant to be cut down to size according to need. There is a 3 millimeter gap between panels when installed, which when added to the 452, makes 455. This is a standard Japanese unit of measurement of 1 shaku and 5 sun.
– Floor trimming. 57 millimeters tall with a 6 millimeter deep notch into which the panel is inserted from above.
– Top or upper trimming. 35 millimeters tall, also with a 6 millimeter deep notch which is meant to cap the wainscot panels from above.
– Vertical trimming for borders with window frames (optional), adjacent walls etc. 30 millimeters wide, rectangular in cross section, no notches. This trimming is to be used as a transition between differing components or geometry, not to conceal panel cutoffs (see below for this).
– Plastic cap trimming to conceal vertical panel cutoffs around window frames or adjacent walls.
In this particular case, we have 2 tall rather narrow windows on either ends of the wall, around which the wainscot will “wrap”, in a manner of speaking. Another feature of this wainscot is that it is isolated to this one wall-face. Floor trimming coming in from the 2 adjacent walls will need to have vertical trimming into which they will butt up to make the transition look natural, as they are a different product altogether — dimensions, color, etc.
Let’s go into the installation process:
1. We start by determining the height of the wainscot. In this case we’ll be making it 880 millimeters from the floor level to the top of the upper trimming. If you’re certain the floor is level, you can use it as a reference point. Snap 2 inklines, 1 to mark the top of the upper trim and 1 to mark the line above which the wainscot panels shouldn’t protrude (35mm upper trim height minus 6mm notch, 29mm). So the first inkline should be 880 millimeters from FL and the second one should be 880-29=851 millimeters from FL.
2. Determine the left/right positioning of the wainscot panels. What we want is to have the widest possible panels as this is the most aesthetically pleasing. You have 2 options: Center the panel joint or center the panel itself. Go with the one that yields the widest ends. In this case, I went with joint-center.
3. We go ahead and fix the vertical trimming on the 2 far ends under the window frames.
4. Cut the floor trimming down to size between vertical trim and secure with glue and finish nailer.
5. Cut and secure plastic trim bases. We leave the plastic caps till after the panels are fixed. This goes for the 2 sides of the window frames as well. Cut the plastic bases so they stretch from the bottom of the window frame to below the upper trimming (880-35 from FL).
6. Referring to point 2, and by subtraction, you can calculate the width of the first panel. Systematically cut and secure each panel from one end to the other. For these panels I used double sided tape and glue. This works if your wall base is drywall, but may not work on other surfaces. Depending on your wainscot paneling, you can use finish or pin nails and glue.
7. Cap the top with the top trimming. Here, it stretches from window frame to frame. Secure with glue and finish nailer.
8. Finally, cap the plastic cutoff concealers and we’re done!
Here we have the finished product. Simple, stylish, and relatively easy to install.