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Wainscoting

Wainscoting wall panelling is a decorative wall panelling created using timber mouldings. Frame & panel, flat panel, recessed, board & batten, shaker panel, frame panel, and beadboard are all variations of Wainscoting.

Wainscoting Wall Panelling Design Styles

When it comes to wainscoting panels, there are four main styles: Frame & Panel, Flat Panel, Beadboard, and Raised Panel.

Frame & Panel Wainscoting

Frame and Panel panel wainscoting ā€“ the traditional wainscoting style ā€“ first became popular as a method of insulation. Although originally most suited to dining and living rooms in a colonial-style residence, installing frame and panel wainscoting adds grace and appeal to any room or home. This method of wainscoting has become a popular method for traditional Hamptons and Cape Cod American-styled homes.

This wainscoting wall style is easily distinguished from other styles; MDF or plywood sheets are placed on the full wall surface where the wainscoting is to appear (typically to chair rail height only), and square battens are used to create a shaker-style look on the wall, then a decorative inlay mould is placed into the inner recess, framing the centre of each panel.

Flat Panel Wainscoting

Flat panel wainscoting is used to achieve a shaker-style appearance that is more casual and a little more modern than traditional raised panel wainscoting.

This style uses DAR boards that are flat (without bevelled edges or moulding) and, as a result, are often a leading choice when requiring wainscoting that is both cost-effective and quick to install.

Beadboard Wainscoting

Beadboard wainscoting first emerged in traditional Victorian and cottage-style homes. This style of wainscoting consists of gorgeously subtle, vertical grooves (or ā€˜beadsā€™) milled into the wood. Beadboard is available in multiple styles and widths but is customarily made of thinner, individual lining boards positioned alongside one another.

More recently shiplap style boards have been used to create a cleaner more modern look, as well as the use ofĀ VJ BoardsĀ which saves time on installation and achieves the same look.

Raised Panel Wainscoting

Raised panel wainscoting is where the inlay mould is fixed directly to the wall to create a multi ā€˜picture frameā€™ look across the wall. This is a relatively simple, cost-effective method that is excellent for interiors requiring subtle detailing without a heavy, traditional Hamptons or American style influence.

The inlay mould can be used with or without a chair rail, and different-sized ā€˜framesā€™ can be applied to the entire wall, providing flexibility when styling your interior.

Helpful Resources

What is Double Panelling?

Double Panelling consists of two inlay mould profiles. One is used for the inside frame and the other for the outside frame. It creates beautiful detailing that can work for frame and panel or raised panel wainscoting styles.

See more here

Where is Wainscoting used?

Wainscoting is often used in common areas of the home to make a big statement. Areas that are difficult to style due to space, such as entries and hallways, are the perfect locations. Wainscoting throughout the home adds flow by helping join spaces.

Entries

Muddy boots, wet umbrellas, and scruffy backpacks are common features of a busy homeā€™s entry. Unfortunately, these are also common causes of damaged walls. Wainscoting can be used in entryways to not only protect walls from damage but also to greet visitors and returning family members with a captivating welcome that sets the scene for a homeā€™s interior.

Staircases & Hallways

The walls of stairs and hallways are often narrow, boring and prone to scuffs and marks, making them the ideal wall for wainscoting panels. When using wainscoting on stairs, the horizontal rails generally follow the slope of the staircase, while the stiles (vertical inlay moulds) or beadboards remain vertical. If you would like to make over your staircase check out this blog.

Living Areas, Kitchens & Dining Rooms

For centuries, living areas, kitchens, and dining room walls have been a popular choice for wainscoting panels. The frequency of use, constantly moving furniture and setting the scene for enjoying shared meals and family gatherings make wainscoting ideal for wall durability and protection, as well as the beautiful impact that it creates.

Bathrooms

In bathrooms, wainscoting is used instead of tiling on walls that are not in direct contact with water. This allows you to add warmth and unify decor throughout your home. Wainscoting walls in bathrooms are significantly more cost-effective than tiling full height walls and is ideal for Hamptons, French Provincial and Victorian-era homes. It is common to apply Wainscoting around all the walls of a bathroom, including behind free-standing bathtubs.

If applying Wainscoting in your bathroom we recommend you only use Primed FJ pine not MDF as this is prone to swelling and moisture absorption which will damage the mouldings. Always install a good exhaust fan to vent excess moisture from the air.

Feature Walls

Nothing enhances a wall like wainscoting. Wainscoting can be used to create a stunning, timeless feature wall in bedrooms, office spaces, dining rooms and living areas. Wainscoting feature walls provide character and charm and are immediately impactful in improving interior spaces.

Can I paint the Wainscoting mouldings before installing on the wall?

Yes, you can paint the timber mouldings profiles before installation, however, the finish will not look as good as painting after the mouldings are on the wall. This is due to the paint covering the joins and mitres where the profiles butt together providing a more finished appearance. A full guide to painting your timber mouldings, including skirting boards and wainscoting is available. Click the link below

Painting instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is wainscoting called in Australia?

It is a question we are often asked, and the answer really is simpleā€¦ itā€™s called ā€˜wainscoting.ā€™ Confusion sets in as there are many types and names for ā€˜wainscotingā€™ that are used interchangeably or between different applications onto the wall. You can see a list of our main wainscoting styles here.

What is the purpose of wainscoting?

Wainscoting is a broader term used to describe decorative panelling applied to walls. Wainscoting is the perfect solution to a multitude of applications within an interior. When it was first introduced, wainscoting was near essential for keeping a room warm and protecting walls. Today, while these applications are still advantageous in contemporary homes and commercial spaces, wainscoting is more commonly sought after for its stunning aesthetic and heightened architectural styling.

What rooms should have wainscoting?

Wainscoting is often used in common areas of the home to make a big statement. Areas that are difficult to style due to space, such as entries and hallways, are the perfect locations. Some of the most popular rooms/spaces wainscoting is used include; bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, dining and lounge rooms, entries, hallways and staircases.

Do you put wainscoting over drywall?

Yes. Prior to applying your inlay mould, MDF or plywood sheets are usually installed in place of gyprock or on top of the existing wall (especially if this is part of a renovation) at the full height of your wainscoting to the chair rail. Square DAR finished timbers are then fixed to create a board and batten look.

Is wainscoting modern?

Wainscoting is versatile and can be used in many different ways depending on style and can work fabulously in a modern space or home. Modern wainscoting styles provide interiorsā€™ with greater dimension and refined detail, creating a sophisticated, elegant home environment. Wainscoting also offers a framed feature to display keepsakes and picture frames and is a cost-effective method to hide damaged plasterboard and increase the durability of interior walls.

Is Wainscoting expensive?

Depending on the method used wainscoting can be expensive. Traditionally it would be installed using a method called ā€˜raised panelā€™ wainscoting, where boards (usually MDF sheets) and battens are installed on the walls to create depth by projecting from the wall. The inlay mould is then installed around the inside lip of these raised board panels. This will give you a traditional Hamptons look and will be beautiful, but it also adds additional cost. This method requires more material and it is much more labour intensive. So how can you combat this? The alternative method of installation is the direct wall application, where for want of a better explanation, you ā€˜stickā€™ or install the inlay mould in the ā€˜framesā€™ directly to your wall. Usually, these are nailed on, but we also have DIY wainscoting kits so you can install them yourself (saving even more cash) by simply sticking them on the wall.

Do I need a chair rail for Wainscoting?

No, you don't however for lower third Wainscoting we recommend a chair rail to finish off the appearance.

Where is wainscoting used?

Wainscoting is often used in common areas of the home to make a big statement. Areas which are difficult to style due to space, such as entries and hallways, are the perfect locations. Wainscoting throughout the home adds flow by helping join spaces.

When to add wainscoting?

Wainscoting can be added to interior walls to protect from damage, add style, and increase value. The impressive versatility of wainscoting means that wainscoting panels can be added to your walls at any stage! Whether your house is already built and ready for renovation, is currently being built, or youā€™re looking to enhance the look of your business space (wainscoting is the perfect addition to the office, restaurant or retail store!) itā€™s never too late (or early) to consider wainscoting your walls. If youā€™d like some advice on how to update your interior with wainscoting or include wainscoting in your new build, contact us today!

Why use wainscoting?

Wainscoting is the perfect solution to a multitude of applications within an interior. When it was first introduced, wainscoting was near essential for keeping a room warm and protecting walls. Today, while these applications are still advantageous in contemporary homes and commercial spaces, wainscoting is more commonly sought after for its stunning aesthetic and heightened architectural styling. Modern wainscoting styles provide interiorsā€™ with greater dimension and refined detail, creating a sophisticated, elegant home environment. Wainscoting also offers a framed feature to display keepsakes and picture frames, and is a cost-effective method to hide damaged plasterboard and increase the durability of interior walls.

What is the difference between wainscoting and beadboard?

Beadboard is a form of wainscoting where narrow vertical lining boards or VJ boards are positioned alongside one another with grooves (also known as beads) installed between each board.Ā Ā 

What material should I use for Wainscoting?

We suggest using FJ Pine (finger-jointed pine) for the timber mouldings for wainscoting. It is a softwood timber that is idealĀ for mouldings inĀ a variety of design styles. TheĀ timber is cut into small lengths to remove knots and excessive grains which impact the stability of the natural timber. These small pieces are joined together tightly using a finger joint of intersecting sections that look like fingers or a zig-zag pattern. They are bonded together with glue and pressure to produce a long-length stable timber blank, which is then moulded into decorative profiles. This allows consistent 5.4M long lengths which provide a better finish to the mouldings as you have fewer joins on your wall and allows easier planning of material usage and less wastage. FJ Pine is also lightweight, which makes manual handling and fixing to walls easier.Ā  Click here to read more about FJ Pine.

Which wainscoting styles would you recommend most for a narrow hallway?

For a narrow hallway, you need to make sure that the walls are not overdone. For this reason, raised panel or flat panel wainscoting would work well as they are notĀ busy styles andĀ will not make the hallway feel overwhelming. In terms of profiles, IN09 and CR22Ā can be used to create the wainscoting as they are both flat profiles, pair well together and can design many different interior styles.Ā 

How does wainscoting come – sheet or panels?

Wainscoting doesnā€™t come in either sheet or panels. It isĀ created using various timber mouldings such as, chair rails and inlay moulds that are typicallyĀ 5.4 metre long. Different styles of wainscoting are created using different material. Explore this page further to see the different material requirements.Ā  DIY wainscoting kits are also available. Find more about them here.Ā 

Which type of paint finish should I use for my wainscoting?

You can use both high gloss or semi-gloss finish paint for wainscoting but we recommend semi-glossĀ as it complements matt-painted walls. Learn more about painting here. Ā 
 

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