Not the latest internet craze involving two blokes named Wayne and Scot, Wainscoting is actually a great way to convert a plain wall into a feature with a ye olde yet modern feel. Its affect goes way beyond colour or wallpaper as it gives the wall depth. Plus, it’s inexpensive and easy to do if you stick with a Shaker style – square dressed timber with no other ornamentation.
Gather your supplies
• 92 x 11 x 2700mm primed pine
cover strips (here, 18 lengths)
• Construction adhesive
• Paintable flexible gap filler
• Nail gun and nails
You’ll also need
PVA glue; wood filler; indoor paint; mitre saw; paintbrush and mini roller
Step 1 Measure width of room (here, 4985mm). Check measurements at top,bottom, and halfway up walls (in case it bows). Don’t forget to allow for thickness of skirtings when measuring at floor level. If dimensions are very different, you may have to accommodate this by scribing end stiles (vertical strips) to walls.
Step 2 Measure height at each end and middle of wall, measuring between top of skirting and underside of cornice (here, 2550mm). Note any variations in height. Find and mark position of wall studs about 120mm above skirting level so you know where to nail rails. Normally they are at 450 or 600mm centres. Also find height of horizontal noggings in wall, commonly about 1200mm above floor for normal ceilings and 1350mm for higher ceilings.
Step 3 Divide wall into horizontal and vertical ‘panels’. We chose a 9 x 3 layout. For 9 panels horizontally you will need 10 stiles and for 3 panels up wall you need 4 rails. If using 92 x 11mm timber, the panel size will be about 450 x 725mm.
Step 4 Select timber that is as straight as possible. Using mitre saw, cut base and top rails. As these are likely to be longer than available timber, they will need to be joined. Ideally, join rails over a stud that you can nail into, and rather than using a simple butt joint, use overlapping 45° cuts called a scarf joint. That way if there is movement between lengths there will not be an obvious gap. Cut to length and test fit.
Step 5 Cut timber to fit around power points or gas outlets. For a round flange, use a hole saw of the right diameter. If you still can’t sit board over the point because of the fitting, cut board above and below hole to fit, then patch the joint later on.
Step 6 To install base rails, apply construction adhesive to back of board, then fit to each side of gas outlet, if necessary, and into corner above skirting.
Step 7 Using nail gun, secure base rail to studs you marked earlier. A nail gun makes this easier especially later when you need to nail into hollow plasterboard. However, hammer and nails can also be used.
Step 8 Apply construction adhesive to back of other end of base rail, using PVA glue on mitre joints. Nail in place so scarf joint overlaps neatly. Repeat for lengths that make up top rail, fitting them under cornice.
Step 9 Work out spacing for verticals. For 9 panels you need 10 vertical 92mm-widestrips. Subtract combined width (920mm) from overall length of wall (here, 4985mm) then divide result by 9. This gives a panel width between strips of 452mm. Cut 16 mid rails to this length to use as spacers. Start gluing and nailing stiles to wall using mid rails as spacers. Unless stiles are badly bowed, they only need to be nailed in centre, top and bottom as glue is enough to hold them
Step 10 Go about halfway then check by tape measure at top and bottom the distance to the wall to make sure stiles are parallel to wall. If you are skewing off course slightly you can correct this in next few stiles.
Step 11 Continue adding stiles to complete uprights on wall. Don’t worry if final spacing is a little under or over standard spacing as they will be cut to exact size at the end.
Step 12 In same way as before, subtract 4 x 92mm from wall height (here, 2550mm) and divide by 3. Here, this gives 727mm. Cut 2 temporary vertical spacers to this length to locate middle rails you have already cut between stiles. Use these to support horizontal strips as they are glued and nailed on. Watch horizontal alignment to make sure they are aligned.
Step 13 Add second rail on top using same spacers. Continue along wall. Cut final 2 horizontal rails to exact size in case array has crept sideways a little.
Step 14 With all battens on, fill all nail holes and joints with wood filler and sand smooth when dry. Apply paintable flexible gap filler along all joints between wall and timber to hide joints. Wipe smooth as you go.
Step 15 Paint wall by cutting in around edges of panelling using paintbrush first, then use mini roller to finish. Apply 2 or 3 coats, allowing to dry between coats.