How to Cover a Bathroom with Wainscoting Panels

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  • 4-8 hours
  • Advanced
  • 100-300
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Wainscoting panels
Circular saw
Compressor nail gun
Paneling nails
Waterproof panel adhesive
Waterproof caulk
Caulking gun

Wainscoting panels are an affordable way of giving a face-lift to a room's walls. If you would like to cover your bathroom's walls with Wainscoting panels, you will be bound to make an impression and increase your house's value. Furthermore, you can manage to install them yourself easily, as long as you follow these basic guidelines.


Start off by measuring your bathroom's walls to know how many wainscoting panels you need to acquire. Decide whether you would like the panels to reach up to the ceiling or to stop at a particular height. The majority of wainscoting panels are manufactured in common size, but you may encounter some variations. Make sure to add a reasonable extra amount to make up for errors. Factor in whether or not you will add an additional molding at the top or bottom of the panel. Some panels will have these built-in, but others do not.


Purchase the wainscoting panels you prefer from a hardware or home improvement store.


Store the wainscoting panels in or near the bathroom. Leave them for a couple of days to get used to the humid conditions they will be exposed to once installed. Remove anything that may be in the way in the bathroom. If there are baseboards, make sure you remove them in advance. If you are going to install the wainscoting panels up to a predetermined height, measure and mark a line along the perimeter so as to have a guide and improve your chances of acquiring a neat result. It is best to use a level.


If the panels need to be cut to fit the height you need, make sure to use a circular saw to cut them. There will also be cases where the panels will need to be cut due to items which are in the way, such as light switches, vanity unit or other bathroom utilities which are fixed to the wall. Make sure to make markings on the back of the panels and cut them carefully and neatly.


Start installing your first panel at one of the bathroom's corners. Place it against the wall, along the line you marked. The method differs according to the walls you have in your bathroom. If you are going to install the panels to a bare wall, you can secure the panels with paneling nails. A compressor nail gun can be useful. If there are tiles fixed to the bathroom's walls, it is best to install the wainscoting panels by fixing them with a waterproof panel adhesive. Roughen up the tiles' surface by scrubbing them with sandpaper first. Then apply a heavy-duty adhesive liberally at the back of the panel and onto the tiles. Start to press the panel firmly against the wall. Move your way along the walls, each time placing the next panel neatly next to the previous one and allowing for a small gap in between. A small gap will allow room for expansions and contractions.

Finishing up

Once you have covered all the walls, apply waterproof caulk to cover up the gaps between the panels. If needed, you need to install the molding at the top or base of the panels.