How to Install Faux Raised Panel Wainscoting

What You'll Need
Wainscoting panels available at your local home improvement center
Tape measure
Finishing nails
Carpenters adhesive
Paint or stain if desired

If you want to add a touch of class and sophistication to your room with an unusual project, try installing faux raised panel wainscoting. This type of wainscoting is available manufactured in wood or a type of plastic that closely resembles wood and you can't tell the difference once its finished. There are varying degrees of designs and textures available also.

Step 1: Measuring

Traditionally wainscoting goes from the floor to just under half way up on your wall. In modern times people may install it to well past the halfway point to give a more dramatic look, especially in the dining room. When used in a dining room they very often add a plate rail to the top of the wainscoting for display of china. You will also need to measure the length of each wall to determine how many panels you will need. Take these measurements with you to your home improvement center for their professional assistance.

Step 2: Style

One of the other decisions you will need to make is the style of your raised panel wainscoting. There may be just a square or rectangle that is raised. It may be framed or it may have a medallion in the center of the panel. The amount you want to spend and your skill level will help you make these decisions. Highly ornate raised panel wainscoting can be pricey.

Step 3: Installation

Remove the baseboards in the room and save them to reinstall later. Number them in the order you remove them so you will know where to reinstall each piece. You will want the panels to fit just below the top line of where the baseboards will end when reinstalled. Start at the end of the room in a corner and mark a straight edge using a plumb line or chalk line. Apply the carpenter's adhesive to the wall with a trowel and also 'butter' the back of the wainscoting with the adhesive.

Press the wainscoting to the wall and wiggle it a bit and then align it to the straight edge. This wiggling forces out air bubbles and causes the 2 different areas to 'grab on' to each other. You may want to drive in a couple of finishing nails at the very top of the wainscoting to hold it into place until it dries completely. You don't need to hammer them all the way in, just enough to hold the wood. Continue on around the room until the entire room is finished.

Step 4: Finishing

After the adhesive is dried, remove the nails and if the holes are noticeable, put a tiny pit of wood putty in them and sand lightly. If you are adding a top rail, install it before staining or painting the wainscoting. You will also want to reinstall the baseboards or install new ones to match the panels. You may then paint or stain your project.