Old fashioned wainscoting is a lovely feature to add to your bathroom. It adds charm and old world sophistication to the space, especially if it is adorned with a claw foot tub, an antique porcelain sink or period fixtures. By choosing old fashioned wainscoting, you can avoid large prefabricated sheets that comprise most wainscoting today. Rather, slats of bead board are what you will use in your bathroom. Not only will it possess an old fashioned look, but it will be installed in the old fashioned way.
A Brief History of Wainscoting
Wainscoting did not always serve a purely decorative function. It has its roots in England during the 1500s, when many homes had problems with rising moisture from the ground. This led to rotting of the lower portions of the walls, so wainscoting was devised as a means to prevent this—or at least cover it up. By installing vertical slats of oak on the bottom 3 to 5 feet of a wall, the lower portions did not quickly rot all the way through due to moisture.
At some point, wainscoting caught on as a means of decorating homes and buildings. Some of the most glamorous and extravagant estates, castles and ballrooms all have solid wood wainscoting finished in rich, natural tones. Nowadays it is common to find it pre-manufactured in large 4x8-foot sheets in many different designs. The original methods are still around, but they are not as common.
Old Fashioned Wainscoting in the Bathroom
Your old fashioned wainscoting in the bathroom will consist of three primary parts: the vertical bead board slats, the baseboard and the chair or dado rail. After measuring and cutting the vertical slats to the right height, they will be nailed to wall with finish nails. Make sure they have no gaps between them. To prevent water damage, a clear-drying sealant is also recommended. Both ends should be capped. The baseboards trim out the bottom of the slats while the chair or dado rail adorns the top. Again, use finish nails for the job.
Paint or Finish the Wainscoting
You should pick out the color or natural finish for the wainscoting first. You can paint or finish it once it has been installed, but you may have an easier time of it if you pre-paint or stain the pieces. Once they have been affixed to the wall, touch up any places where paint or stain cracked. Matching the wainscoting with the upper portion of the bathroom walls requires an eye for interior design. If you have some color patterns available, test out a few combinations, matching colors with other colors and also natural finishes with colors.
Using old fashioned bead board wainscoting in the bathroom adds an antique finish that goes splendidly with old fashioned fixtures such as a claw foot tub and porcelain sink. Its installation will take more time than if you were to use prefabricated sheets, but it is more authentic in its finished state.