How to Calculate the Dimensions of Wainscoting Panels

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  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-20
What You'll Need
50-foot measuring tape
Graph paper

Wainscoting panels are a decorative panel applied to the bottom of a wall. There are numerous styles of wainscoting, so determining the best type for a particular application is a matter of personal taste and budgetary consideration. For purposes of this article, the measurement will assume standards of the industry as indicated.

Step 1 - Sketch Layout of Room

Using the tape measure, accurately measure the dimensions of the room, including any doors, windows, or other impediments. Draw the room to scale on graph paper. Make several copies (or scan final sketch into your computer) of the final layout to use for reference.

Step 2 - Determine Panel Layout

Using the sketch from Step 1, divide each wall into equal sections to determine the width of the wainscoting panels you need. Keep in mind that there will be special cuts at corners, windows, doors or any other obstacle.

Step 3 - Determine Panel and Top Rail Heights

Once you have determined the panel width that best suits your needs, you can either choose a pre-manufactured panel or assemble your own. Determine the specified height of each panel. The most pleasing to the eye is one-third the total height of the wall.

This total height includes any decorative top rail you may choose to add to the actual wainscoting panel. It is advisable to have the wainscoting run at an elevation just below light switches. To determine the height, subtract the lip of the top rail from the height of the wainscoting panels.