There are several ways to do it. The simplest, not necessarily the
best, is to simply attach molding as you mentioned. Another way would
be to attach the molding to plywood and install it as panels. A more
traditional way is to make a frame of 1x material, inset, 1/4" plywood
and use panel molding to cover the transition.
Simply applying the molding to drywall looks a bit flat on the wall.
The added depth of the frame and panel method is well worth the price
of admission. Kreg has a nice way to do it on one of their DVDs.
And yet another method is paint above wall paper below. There aren't
any hard and fast rules about the materials. The only considerations
are what you like, how much money you want to spend and how much work
your willing to do.
You can make the frames out of MDF (medium density fiberboard), 1x
stock, MDO (medium density overlay), furniture grade plywood, or even
PTS (patch and touch sanded) plywood if you're painting it and don't
mind doing a little more prep work. Buy the DVD on eBay, watch it,
turn around and sell it on eBay. The net cost will be about the price
On Mon, 30 Oct 2006 21:17:08 -0500, "Buck Turgidson"
It looks like this is done more or less as you describe but there may
be a wood paneling under the molding.
When we are asked to do something similar we often panel the wall with
1/4" ply then rail and stile the boxes with 3/4" ply then use a
panel molding to frame inside the squares. This adds a little depth
to the panels and IMO looks better than molding applied to a flat
wall. The molding for the 3/4" offset is very common and usually
available at a good lumber yard or millwork. Of course this method
is quite a bit more labor and material.
If you want to spend more money yet, for an even more elegant look,
you can raise panel the whole thing.
You don't do single raised panels with joints between frames.
You do entire wall sections assembled at once with several panels in
the same frame. The stile between panels is cut on both sides to
accept the panels. There are no joints to cover.
To quote the OP,
"The wife wants something like this in the dining room. Is this
usually done with just strips of molding tacked onto the drywall below
a chair rail, or is there a more elegant way to do it?"
Thee "more elegant way to do it" part is what I was responding to.:-)
I just did this in my foyer and dining room. Measure out how many
frames you need and the spacing, and then pre-make the frames in the
shop, glue and brads, then use panel adhesive held in place with 1.1/2
inch brads into the drywall to hold it until the adhesive dries (you
will likely not have studs to nail to. Drywall is not always flat, so
a small bead of latex caulk will be needed on the interior and exterior
edges of each panel to fill the gaps. Its not all that bad, just time
consuming. Also, consider the "golden rectangle" for sizing, DAGS
This feature looks very nice in a decent sized room,but I've never liked
too many panels on the wall.
I think it looks better with two small panels and one oblong panel on each
wall to give the room an overall eveness appearence.
Rather than a Jacobian/Georgian look.
On Mon, 30 Oct 2006 21:17:08 -0500, "Buck Turgidson"
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.
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
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
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