Installing Faux Wainscoting

By Robert Robillard on Finish Carpentry

Installing Faux Wainscoting with Moldings

Wainscoting whether it is the real cope and panel or applied molding- faux version always seems to dress up a room with class.

Recently a decorator asked us to dress up this dining room [photo below] with a faux wainscoting look.

Although my favorite is to build cope and stick wainscoting with either a flat or raised floating panel, the budget called for applied moldings.

We decided to use Anderson McQuaid band molding # 695 [diagram below] and apply it to the walls for the desired look.

What is Faux Wainscoting?

Installing Faux Wainscoting means gluing and securing molding as well as chair rail molding to create the look of solid wainscoting.

the moldings are mitered to create a square or rectangle and later the wall and molding s are painted one color to look like solid wainscot.

Laying Out The Panels Is Important:

for any type of wainscoting to look proper the panels must be layed out so the panels on each wall are proportional. [same size and spacing]  This means that each wall may have different size and number of panels depending on the wall length.

By using some math and a calculator we determined equal spacing molding panels that were pleasing to the owner and decorator.   We purposely figured to panels so any outlets would either land on a rail or in side a panel. Taking care not to have it land too close to the edge.

Always looking for ways to work smarter and not harder ~ we set up two laser levels both with horizontal lines and were able to mark the entire rooms top and bottom moldings lines. We chose 5″ for an the aesthetic spacing above the baseboard, below the chair rail and between panels.

Being a commercial building we were dealing with steel studs. We located each steel stud, marked them and tried to avoid nailing into them.

To secure this molding we used an adhesive caulk and 6 penny nails driven at opposing angles into the drywall to cinch and hold the molding tight to the wall while the adhesive dried.   Corners were nailed to each other conventionally.

The chair rail molding was already applied so we were done once the faux molding was installed.

Paint and Caulk:

After installing the moldings apply caulking to the seams of all the moldings.  If you are looking to make the faux wainscoting look like solid wainscoting – paint the entire wall from the chair rail down one color.  Some folks also paint the panels different colors for dramatic looks.

Applied Moldings and faux wainscoting

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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