I have been living in a house for about a year now with really poorly
installed and trimmed pine wainscotting in the kitchen and living room.
I have been thinking of tearing it out and installing something similar to
(click wall panelling, most likely the first white photo or the off chance
of the second photo)
Simple MDF paint grade wainscotting. I was thinking of covering the lower
portion of the wall with 1/4" MDF and applying 1/2" MDF rail and stiles,
Capping it with real ~3/4" wood capping and 1/2" base board.
Have you ever done such a job?
Any hints or ideas?
(who does not post much anymore...)
On Mon, 8 Aug 2005 19:00:20 -0700, "David F. Eisan"
Hi David. (whatever happened to Godzrilla?)
The last one that I did was this:
It was a bit more complicated because of the rise and the curve but
the principles are the same.
I cut the stiles and rails out of MDF, using the cope and stick
cutters on the shaper. The MDF was just thick enough so that I got
the fingernail profile and the cope that I wanted to keep, but did not
include the plough to receive the raised panel (which I tucked under
the profile by using a buildup strip behind, that was set back from
the edge of the fingernail profile by a quarter inch).
If you are going for a flat panel look, it is really easy.
Just make up your runs of stiles and rails and start nailing and
What I've done on similar jobs is take out the 1/2" drywall below the
line of the top of the frames and replace it with birch ply or 1/2"
MDF. The birch ply gives you a better nailing surface than the MDF,
as nailing MDF to MDF gives you a lot of bounce back and the nails
don't set as well as they do when going into the birch ply.
The half inch base will look a little starved, in my opinion, but if
that is what is going on everywhere else it should look OK.
If you use MDF for the baseboard, hold it up about a half inch from
the floor, so that any spillage of water will not wick up. The gap
can be covered by a nice wood quarter round or shoe molding.
The cap can be a little difficult to find good nailing for and making
it wide enough to take a scotia or similar apron molding can really
help this out.
I think you will be happy with how quickly this kind of project can
go. I used to prefinish everything and just do touchups of the nail
holes when finished. On a couple of projects I just glued the pieces
on with DAP. It worked pretty good.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker
I forgot to say anything about design and layout.
Let's say that the length of the wall is eight feet.
Let's say that the height of the wainscot is 36" (I've always thought
that a wainscot looked best if it was a bit more than one third of the
height of the wall).
Let's say that you have a 1" cap and a 3/4" apron.
Let's say that you expose 2" of the top rail (which will actually be
2" plus the 3/4" that the apron will lay on, or 2-3/4") and 2-1/4" of
the bottom rail ( which will actually be 2-1/4" plus the 4-1/2" of the
baseboard, remembering the 1/2" that we are leaving above the floor,
for a total width of 6-3/4").
Lets say that you have a baseboard assembly that is 5" high (including
the shoe, and allowing for the half inch gap at the floor).
You will wind up with a panel ( or what looks like a panel) that is
Most folks like the Golden Rectangle, which is a simplified ratio of
about 1 to 1.6.
I prefer that the vertical is the 1.6 part, so the ideal panel would
be the given of 25" high by the theoretical 15-5/8" wide.
If your stiles are 2", the greatest number of 15-5/8" panels that you
can fit on an eight foot wall is 5.
If you make your panels 15-5/8", this will give you 78-1/8" of panels.
96" of wall length, minus 78-1/8" of panels, will leave you 17-7/8" of
stiles, which will be split equally into six pieces - for a stile
width of almost 3" - No good.
Do the math the other way, keeping your stiles at 2", and you will get
12" total width of stiles, leaving 84" of total panel width, divided
into five panels, giving you a unit panel width of 16-51/64".
Although it is not perfect, it should give you the best approximation
of the look that you want.
I've always preferred to adjust the panel width and keep the stile
width the same throughout the room, as I think it gives more rhythm to
Tom Watson - WoodDorker
Thanks for your insights. I have a similar project planned for the next
Something about using MDF rubs me the wrong way.... it's just a gut feel,
but there would be considerable cost and time savings over wood.
How do you feel about MDF vs wood in this appplication and what do you see
as the trade-offs?
I need to cover up a very rough wall. Lots of holes.
I bought the cheapest paneling I could find, then simply reversed it. Turns
out that MDF will yield a very smooth painted surface with little or no
I applied the reverse paneling right over sheetrock, using staples and
construction adhesive. (Really, I couldn't get the pressure just exactly
right and pneumatic nails would go right through that thin MDF.
I then created the "strips" and the cap from 3/8" plywood. With a good
blade, that plywood didn't splinter too bad, nothing that a pad sander
Plan the spacing of the vertical strips carefully, so that you can have a
strip butting into door and window jams. You do have to cover the seams,
but if you install the paneling horizontally...there's one seam every eight
A cheap, quick and easy fix, that with a good paint job, was quite
And beat the ever-loving hell out of demolishing and re-installing the
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