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How to install wainscoting

It may look like a big job, but it’s actually incredibly easy to learn how to install wainscoting panels and save yourself a fortune.

How to do wainscoting: What is it?

As an interior design feature, wainscoting dates all the way back to the 16th century when it was created to provide insulation and a protective barrier for the weaker building materials used at the time. With today’s homes constructed from much sterner stuff, in the 21st century the purpose of wainscoting is purely decorative.

It consists of wall panelling that generally rises to chair rail level and serves to make a room more visually interesting. Historically, wainscoting was made of wood, but these days it can be manufactured from a number of different modern materials to the desired aesthetic, from traditional to ultramodern.

How to put up wainscoting

  1. Choose. Given the myriad of different styles of wainscoting available, take some time to choose the one you think best suits the room before purchasing. Also consider the right material for the room. For example, if you are panelling a kitchen or bathroom, you’ll want something liquid proof like hard wood or ceramic.
  2. Prepare. Measure the walls and mark out where the panels will go. Factor in the chair rail and skirting board that will go above and below the panels, respectively, as well as any potential obstacles you’ll need to incorporate or work around, such as door frames and electrical sockets.
  3. Clean. For the best possible application, you need to make sure the walls are free from dirt, dust and debris.
  4. Apply. Use a sealant gun to apply adhesive to the rear of each panel, in wavy vertical lines that start and finish around five centimetres from the top and bottom, as well as the sides. Aim for a gap of around ten centimetres between each line of adhesive.
  5. Mount. Now press the panel into the pre-marked lines on your wall, hold in place for a few seconds, and repeat until all the panels are in place.
  6. Complete. To finish the job, use the adhesive to attach the chair rail to the top of the wainscoting panels (use a straight bead of adhesive) and the skirting board below them.

Once the panels, chair rail and skirting board are in place, check your adhesive’s instructions for its full-strength drying time. Until that time has elapsed, be careful not to knock or bump the wainscoting.

How to install wainscoting panels: Choosing the right adhesive

When it comes to an adhesive for installing wainscoting, versatility is key. UniBond No More Nails Original is a multifunctional grab adhesive that can be used with most common building materials, including wood, metal, ceramic and most plastics – all of which are also used in the production of various varieties of wainscoting.

Specially created for indoor projects, this heavy-duty glue is ideal for mounting and bonding, without the need for drilling holes, nails or screws. Its solvent-free, water-based copolymer technology ensures maximum strength and a professional finish.