How to Install Sheets of Wainscoting Panels

What You'll Need
Wainscoting panels
A measuring tape
Hand saw
Spirit level
Chair molding
Paint and paint brush
A compressor and nail gun, or a hammer and paneling nails

Wainscoting panels are fitted on the lower part of the inside walls of a house. They offer a creative way to change the look of the room. The installation process is easy, because the wainscoting panels are pre-cut, and it is just a matter of fitting and fixing them to the wall.

 Step 1 - Marking the Height

Move all the furniture away from the wall. Measure the length of the wall, to determine how many panels you need. In most cases, the height of the panels is between 3 and 5 feet from the floor. If you feel the wainscoting panels are taller than the height you want, cut them to size using the handsaw. Mark the wall at the height of your panels, and extend the mark to make a continuous line from 1 corner to the other, to guide you in case you have cut some panels shorter than others.  However, most manufacturers make them appropriate to size, unless you want to bring out a different look.

 Step 2 - Clearing the Wall

With the wainscoting panels along the wall, check for obstructions like sockets, nails and other things that may interfere with your work. Mark the panels on that section carefully, because you will cut them to allow for the connections. Use a pencil to detail the sections.

 Step 3 - Fixing the Wainscoting Panels

Place 1 panel on the far end of the wall. Use a spirit level to make sure the panel is straight and level, because if you mess up, the rest of the panels will slant. The compressor and nail gun will come in handy at this stage, as you nail the panel into the wall. Under the windows, cut out the pieces that extended past the sill, leaving enough space on top for the chair molding. Fit the stiles at the corners of the walls as you go. Stiles are thick pieces of wood that form the frame, and help transition from 1 wall to the next. Remember to cut out the sections of the panels that lie on top of the sockets and other connections. Place them on the work table and cut accordingly, before installing them on the wall.

 Step 4 - Attach the Chair Molding

This prevents the backs of chairs or other furniture from destroying the paint job. It also holds the panels in place. Place it on the wall above the wainscoting panels, and measure its length against that of the wall. Mark the ends, so that you can cut off the edges. Place it on the work table, and cut at a 45-degree angle on both ends. Place it against the wall, and use the spirit level to make sure it is straight. Fix in place, starting with the nails on 1 end, and moving to the other. Do the same to the other chair moldings. With the opposing angles on the ends, they will fit in perfectly.

Step 5 - Painting the Surface

When all edges are perfect and the chair moldings are in place, paint over the wainscoting panels if needed.