Wainscoting is a design element you can install to add an entirely new look to practically any room in your home. When quality products are used and installation is done professionally, wainscoting not only enhances the aesthetic appearance of a room, it can also add value to the home overall.
What Is Wainscoting?
Wainscoting is a type of wood paneling. Wainscoting comes in several styles, and is most typically installed around the lower portion of the walls of a room, although the height of the wainscoting can vary and it is occasionally placed on ceilings. The wood panels can be painted the same color as the rest of the wall or a contrasting or complementary color for visual interest.
The main function of wainscoting is to protect walls from damage such as foot marks and scuffs and from door handles banging into the wall and making a dent. In dining rooms, wainscoting is often installed with a chair rail along the top edge to prevent chairs from damaging the walls with scratch or paint marks.
The variety in the panel choices and patterns make easy work of dressing up the décor in kitchens, baths, foyers, halls and stairways – just about anywhere in your home. The materials used to make wainscoting determine how good it looks when installed and also how durable it will be over time – the more expensive, the better the quality, finish, and durability.
Wainscoting Material Types
- Plywood – Usually the least expensive, but its size makes it easy to install and finish with trim.
- Plastic – PVC or other materials make plastic wainscoting ideal in rooms where dampness and moisture occur, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Medium-density fiberboard – MDF won’t warp or contract, and is primed and ready for painting or veneering right from the store. MDF should not be installed in areas where moisture occurs.
- Solid wood – Ranges from relatively inexpensive to the most expensive, depending on wood type. Choose paint or a clear coating to enhance the wood color and grain.
- Recessed flat-panel – This look involves installing a series of flat panels over which rails and stiles are installed to provide an outline or frame look to the panel.
- Raised flat-panel – To achieve this most traditional form of wainscoting, the edges of the panel are beveled and rails and stiles are added to frame the panel.
- Overlay panel – A wood overlay piece is placed in the center of an existing panel that has already been trimmed with rails and stiles. Overlays allow for more differences in look and design than raised-panel wainscoting.
- Board and batten – This wainscoting presents a simple look. Vertical battens are installed evenly across large panels hung along the wall. The top rail can be a shelf plate to allow the homeowner to showcase collectibles and decorative items.
- Beadboard – Beadboard wainscoting consists of narrow planks of wood lined up side by side vertically. An indentation – the bead – sits between each plank to give the design its grooved look. This wainscoting can be purchased in full sheets for quick, easy installation. Beadboard is usually seen in casual décor or to achieve a farm house or cottage look.
Sovereign Construction Services is a full-service home renovating and contracting company. Owner Steve Rush brings his years of experience to every home construction and renovation project he performs. He is available to answer your questions regarding wainscoting and how you can use it to update the look of your home. Call him today at 610-639-2986.