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Hanging Wainscoting

This DIY Basic will provide tips on hanging wainscoting.

More in Windows Walls and Doors

Watch an Overview Video

Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:
wainscoting
4-foot carpenter's level
laser level
chalk or pencil
circular saw
water-soluble, high tack adhesive
wood putty
paint or stain
brushes
finishing nails
hammer
chair rail molding
baseboards
soap and water
utility knife

Clean and Dry the Wall

Wainscoting is an easy update for a dining room, especially if you glue it in place with water-soluble high tack adhesive.

Start by cleaning and drying wall.

Tip: Do not use adhesive on newly painted wall.

Remove any loose paint. Glossy paint must be sanded to dull finish.

Mark a Guide Line Along the Wall

Use carpenter's level to locate highest point of floor.

With laser level, run horizontal guide line along wall at highest point of floor and mark with pencil or chalk.

Measure height of wainscoting at highest point of floor and mark on wall.

With laser level, run guide line along wall for top of wainscoting.

Tip: Laser level will span doors and windows.

Cut and Paint the Panels

With circular saw, cut wainscoting panels to fit.

Paint or stain panels.

Tip: No need to paint the back — adhesives tend to work faster on unpainted sufaces.

Apply Adhesive and Position the Wainscoting

Begin installation in most visible place; finish in least visible place.

Cut tip off adhesive cartridge at 45-degree angle.

Apply continuous bead of high tack glue around perimeter of wainscoting back 2 inches in from edge and vertically every 12 inches.

Place wainscoting against wall and hold until glue grabs. Repositioning time is approximately 15 minutes.

Abut next piece of wainscoting to first and repeat glue process.

Check for plumb and follow upper and lower guidelines.

Miter outside corners by cutting two pieces of wainscoting on 45-degree angles. Trim pieces for inside corner to fit.

Clean tools and adhesive residue immediately with soap and water.

Tip: Adhesive will be fully cured in 24 hours. Cured adhesive may be cut away with sharp-edged tool.

Fill Joints and Finish the Installation

Fill joints with wood putty, if necessary, and touch up stain or paint.

If wall is not true, secure top and bottom with finishing nails to ensure snug fit.

Tip: Chair rail molding on top and baseboard on bottom will hide nail holes.

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