DIY Network

Wainscoting a Stairwell

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Watch an Overview Video

Tools & Materials

Crown molding (6 or 7 inches)
Measuring tape
Circular saw
Angle finder or digital level
High gloss interior paint
Two-inch brush
Wood glue
Finishing nails
Wood putty

Tips for Wainscoting a Stairwell

TIP: Build faux board-and-batten wainscoting for an inexpensive and beautiful stairwell.

1. Measure walls.

TIP: Wainscoting on adjoining walls can go floor to ceiling; on stairway 40 inches gives a sense of height; standard height is 36 inches.

TIP: Cut a cardboard template to test height.

2. Cut battens about half the width of the baseboards.

3. Use an angle finder or digital level to match angle of battens to angle of stairs.

4. Cut 3-inch ledge for top of molding.

5. Prime and paint battens, molding, ledge, and walls.

TIP: High quality, glossy paint will give professional look.

6. Nail battens to wall studs, or you want them closer use glue attach and finishing nails.

7. On stairway, glue and nail ledge to top of battens and crown molding beneath.

8. Fill nail holes with wood putty and touch up paint.