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How to Install Tongue-and-Groove Wainscot Paneling (page 1 of 2)

There are many way to add wall paneling. Sturdy, interlocking boards give a more dimensional look than flat-plywood type paneling.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Step-by-Step Instructions:

Tongue-and-groove paneling can be attached to furring strips. Vertical boards need horizontal strips for the panels to attach to, as shown here. This example adds panels to chair rail height.

View photo gallery instructions for this project

Install the Framework

Fix horizontal furring strips around the perimeter of the area to be paneled. They should be at the top and bottom of the area to be paneled, and also at equidistant intervals between these extremes, ideally 16 inches apart, taking care not to pierce wires or pipes, and making sure to fasten to studs (Image 1).

If the wall is uneven, shim furring strips as required to get them in plane, using wedges or offcuts of plywood (Image 2).

Install Tongue-and-Groove Paneling

Using a level, mark a guide for the first board (Image 1).

Position the first length on the level line. Nail it into the furring strip with finish nails, placing nails at the edge nearest a wall (Image 2).

At a 45-degree angle, nail through the tongue side of the board into the furring strip below. Use a nail set to drive the nail head in completely (Image 3).

Overlap the groove of the next board onto the tongue of the first (Image 4).

Use an offcut of board as a tapping block. Tap the board once or twice with a hammer to make a tight seam between the boards (Image 5).

Continue across the wall surface. Nails through the boards' tongues at each furring strip are all that is needed to secure the boards in place (Image 6).

Dealing With Corners

Eventually you will need to cut a board to fit the space into a corner. Measure the space and cut a board to slightly smaller than this (Image 1).

Position the cut board, placing its groove over the previous board's tongue. With the board a little short, you will have space to maneuver it (Image 2).

Finish the inside corner by butting the other piece of the cut board against the paneling. Then continue across the wall (Image 3).

Deal with an outside corner by cutting a board to fit. Use the other cut piece on the other side of the corner, for a balanced appearance (Image 4).

The corner will seem unsightly because the cut edge is visible. Sand it by using a block plane to finish the edge (Image 5).

When all paneling is in place, add a rail along the top to cover the gap caused by the furring strips between boards and wall (Image 6). Miter the corners.

Paneling Around Obstacles

Sometimes you need to cut a panel to fit around an item on the wall or to end a run. A wall may be uneven, so rather than measuring and cutting to fit a board against it, use the method shown below (called scribing) to get a neat fit.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009