Traditional Style: Greek Revival or Georgian
You can find wainscoting just like this in the finest homes, mansions and palaces in the world, so why not add it to yours?
It’s very easy to make, and this page shows you all the materials and their prices we used and how to install the main mdf panels on the wall.
This is a great project if you’re new to installing moldings!
[This post is part of Our Kitchen Molding Makeover series.]
This Project Price Total c. $137.00
That’s all it cost to buy all of the moldings and mdf flat-stock needed to install 13′ of this wainscoting. Can you believe that?
The Brick Wall
This project shows how we installed this wainscoting on our kitchen brick wall. But you can install it on a normal wall in exactly the same way.
Posts in This Series
I thought it best to break this installation sequence into a series separate posts. Here they are.
WAINSCOTING-109 Part 2
How to Install the rail cap and its edge molding.
WAINSCOTING-109 Part 3
How to make the pilaster pedestal boxes.
WAINSCOTING-109 Part 4
How to wrap the bed molding below the rail cap.
WAINSCOTING -109 Part 5
How to wrap the baseboard around the bottom of the wainscoting.
WAINSCOTING-109 Part 6
How to prepare the wainscoting for paint
WAINSCOTING-109 Part 7 (coming soon)
How to paint the wainscoting two colors.
Materials Needed to Make this Wainscoting
[More detail about each molding can be seen at our Moldings & Millwork Inventory page.]
Pedestal Design Note
You don’t have to include pilasters with pedestals if you don’t want to, the treatment would look great even without them.
Wainscoting Body/Pedestals/Cap/Baseboard/Nailers: You can do so much with a 1/2″ thick sheet of MDF board!
Wainscoting Cap Crown: I could not find a simple bed molding profile in town anywhere (Any sane, rational, civilized city should have a bed molding profile available any place that sells moldings — we just don’t happen to live in one of those cities.), so I had to rip an ogee crown molding down to get the profile I wanted.
Above I found a slice of bed molding in my box of profiles to show you what you should be able to find in your city.
Below You can also trim down an ogee to reveal its bed molding profile. That’s what I did.
Below Here is CM-002 ripped down to a bed molding profile. I had to do the same thing for the echinus of PILASTER-104, so visit that page if want some more detail how I did it.
Wainscoting Cap Edge Detail: I like to make sure I have plenty of this on hand because it’s a bit fragile and can split when mitering.
Baseboard Cap: This is one of those rare instances when you can use this molding profile upside down. Also, know that you don’t have to use this baseboard on this wainscoting, you can wrap whatever baseboard you’re using in your home around the bottom. However, this baseboard was designed specifically to go with this wainscoting.
Below I threw a coat of the kitchen’s medium blue paint on the brick wall before installing the wainscoting because we were absolutely certain that was the color we wanted there.
Living with that color for the duration of the wainscoting installation only made us more certain that we wanted a different color on the brick wall! You can see how it all turned out on our How to Paint a Kitchen Blue. OK, Five Different Blues for $217.00 post.
Below See how our dining room is so very ill-defined? The goal of the wainscoting is to help set it apart from the rest of the kitchen.
How to Cut Large Sheets of MDF Board
The foundation material for this molding treatment are the 4′ X 8′ sheets of mdf. Even if you have a vehicle large enough to bring these sheets home, they are still very difficult to cut on a home table saw, and, more importantly, they are difficult to cut evenly.
A panel saw is the very best tool to cut 4′ X 8′ sheets of mdf on. It’s safe and accurate. Read this post Fun With Flat-Stock. MDF Board for Molding Projects.
Planning and Improvisation
If your perception of my installation and planning skills is one of CAD drawings, detailed inventory and price lists and project schedule flow charts written in stone, then your perception would be mostly inaccurate.
I improvise a lot.
The picture below is a perfect example. At this point in our kitchen remodel I had in mind four different layouts for the pilasters and picture rail (see how to make the pilasters here), and the one I was most sure of I outlined in blue masking tape.
Note how high I was planning to install the picture rail molding verses how I actually installed it.
How to Install this Wainscoting Step by Step
But first, this public service announcement.
Note to the remodeling industry: Please stop grouting baseboards into the tile. The tile gets installed first and then the baseboard goes on top. That’s how it should be done.
Below I’m installing the longer of the two mdf panels first because it will be easier to wiggle the smaller of the two up to the larger, rather than the other way around. It is 8′ long and just happened to terminate just past the outlet.
Below I used a whole tube of glue on the back of this mdf panel. The brick wall looks pretty even, but it’s really not, so I had to make sure I would get good adhesion and squirt lots of it on there.
Below You’ll need a chisel and sledge-hammer to get your mdf board off if you use this stuff.
Below Your life will be much easier if you drop a plumb line down where you want the outer edge to be. It will help you line up your second piece of mdf board.
Below I used a shim hastily created on my miter saw to make fine adjustments with.
Below The mdf board is the foundation of your entire wainscoting treatment, so make sure you take the time make it just the way you want it.
Below Installing the second, smaller piece of mdf board meant gluing them together with a butt joint. It’s not coming apart when the glue dries, so make sure the two surfaces are flush.
Posts in This Series
1. How to Install WAINSCOTING-109 Part 1
2. WAINSCOTING-109 Part 2: Installing the Rail Cap & Edge Molding
3. WAINSCOTING-109 Part 3: How to Make the Pedestal Boxes
4. WAINSCOTING-109 Part 4: Wrapping the Bed Molding
5. WAINSCOTING-109 Part 5: Wrapping the Baseboard
6. WAINSCOTING-109 Part 6: Prepping for Paint
Do You Need More Help?
If you need clarification on this installation sequence you can use the Comment section below.