Wainscot Panels - Installation Of Panels
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Frame & Panel Wainscoting
Note: This list is based on this specific project and situation. Please adjust these items and instructions to your particular needs.
- Allow wainscot components to condition in the home environment for one week prior to install.
- Prepare the walls by removing all existing baseboard, moldings and other trim that will interfere with the paneling.
- Walls are rarely defect free. Verify quality by using a level, to check for unevenness. Sand or scrape off any high spots. Float out low spots with a thin coat of drywall compound. Shims may also be used during installation.
- Locate and mark the wall studs. Using a level or plumb bob, create a plumb line from the height of the wainscot down to the floor centered on each stud location.
- Floors are rarely level and flat. Locate the high point of the floor. Using a level, mark a level line starting at the high point. Place the bottom rail slightly above the floor. If the floor slopes more than 1/2 inch, place the rail directly down on the high point. Shim the bottom rail up as you go around the room. The bottom rail must be installed level.
- Perform a lay out of each wall. Locate the center of the wall, and lean one of the panels against the wall ensuring that the center of the panel is aligned with the center line of the wall. Layout the remaining stiles and panels (overlap by 3/8”) along half the wall until you reach the corner.
- The last piece to be installed must is a stile, not a panel. If the last piece ends up being a panel, redo the layout using a stile at the center. If you would like a technical advisor to provide a customized layout for you, select the option when adding your kit to the cart.
- When a window is involved, assemble the parts for under the windows first. In most situations, a single panel should be turned on its side and centered below the window. Windowsill parts are available separately; choose the size that best suits your needs. If you would like a technical advisor to provide a customized layout for you, select the option when adding your kit to the cart.
- Miter the bottom rail where it meets at the corners, or when joining pieces to create the needed length. Attach to the wall along the bottom (area overlapped by baseboard) with 8d finish nails in predrilled holes, making sure the rail remains level.
- When joining several rails, use a 45-degree scarf joint. Use a stile to ensure that everything remains aligned while nailing in place.
- Install the stiles and paneling starting at one end, ripping only the first stile in each corner (last stile of the wall). Use a simple butt joint on the second, overlapping stile of each corner.
- Apply construction adhesive to the corners on the back of each stile and panel as you install them.
- Do not glue the panel to the frame. This allows it to “float” within it so that seasonal movement of the wood comprising the panel does not distort the frame.
- Use a block of wood and a hammer to seat the panels and stiles together and down in the rails. Press the panels and rails securely in place following the instructions with the adhesive.
- Do not set panels fully into the stiles… leave 1/16th inch to allow for expansion.
- Install the top rail. Miter the ends as needed. Make sure the slot on the top rail is resting down over the lips of the stiles and the panels. Nail in place along the upper 1/2” (area overlapped by wainscot cap) and lower profile grooves.
- Glue the wainscot cap in place with construction adhesive. Nail along the lower edge, at least 2 inches from the ends, in a few places to temporarily secure using 4d finish nails. Pre-drill the holes with a smaller-diameter drill bit, but do not drill all the way through.
- Attach the baseboard molding to the bottom rail using 4d finish nails. The baseboard should “follow” the floor while overlapping the bottom rail.
- For best results, stagger the joints of the cap, rail and shoe moldings.