What Moulding To Use For Wainscoting? A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking to add some character and charm to your home?

Wainscoting might just be the answer.

This type of wall molding has been around for centuries and continues to be a popular choice for homeowners.

But with so many types of wainscoting and materials to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for your home.

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of wainscoting and the best materials to use.

Plus, we’ll share some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when installing wainscoting.

So, let’s dive in and discover what moulding to use for wainscoting.

What Moulding To Use For Wainscoting

When it comes to wainscoting, the type of moulding you use can make all the difference in achieving the desired look and feel for your home.

One popular option is base cap moulding, which has flat sides that rest against the baseboard and the wall. This type of moulding is sold in 8-foot lengths and can range from simple coves to ornate ogees. It is usually made from primed pine or MDF, but PVC is also an option for outdoor projects.

Another option is panel moulding, which can also be used for wall frames. This type of moulding is usually wider and thicker than base cap moulding and sometimes includes a rabbet that fits over a piece of square stock, giving the frame a more substantial look.

When it comes to materials, there is no one “best” option. The materials you choose will depend on the style of wainscoting you want to install. For example, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you can use a chair rail moulding and a picture moulding to create simulated panels below the chair rail.

If you’re looking for a more high-end option, consider using polyurethane mouldings from Orac Decor. They even make preassembled picture frame moulding that just gets glued onto the wall.

What Is Wainscoting And Why Is It Popular?

Wainscoting is a decorative and functional system of wood panels, chair railing, and moulding that has been used for centuries to add character and protection to interior walls. The term “wainscoting” originated in the 18th century when it referred to wooden panels that covered just the lower half of walls. Initially, wainscoting was installed for functional purposes, such as insulation and protection from dampness. However, today, it is mostly used for its aesthetic appeal.

Wainscoting can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room in your home. It is a perfect way to enhance the architectural integrity of bare walls and give them a unique character. Wainscoting can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, PVC, and polyurethane.

The popularity of wainscoting has endured over the centuries because of its versatility and visual appeal. It can be used in a variety of spaces, including dining rooms, home offices, foyers, and even kitchens. However, it is not recommended for bedrooms as it can make them feel too formal.

When it comes to choosing the right moulding for your wainscoting project, there are several options available. Base cap moulding is a popular choice as it has flat sides that rest against the baseboard and the wall. Panel moulding is another option that can be used for wall frames and offers a more substantial look.

Different Types Of Wainscoting

Wainscoting comes in many different styles, each with its own unique look and feel. Here are five of the most popular types of wainscoting to consider for your home:

1. Raised Panel: This type of wainscoting is characterized by panels that are in front of the styles and rails, giving the appearance that they are raised. Raised panel wainscoting is a classic and elegant choice that works well in traditional homes.

2. Flat Panel: Flat panel wainscoting is distinguished by the panels being behind the styles and rails, creating a deeper look than the stiles and rails. This style is more understated than raised panel wainscoting and works well in modern and minimalist homes.

3. Beadboard: Beadboard wainscoting is made up of thin, individual boards that are placed directly next to each other. Each board is interlocked with its neighbor via a tongue-and-groove system, creating a continuous, textured look. Beadboard wainscoting works well in coastal or cottage-style homes.

4. Overlay: Overlay wainscoting is a combination of flat panel and raised panel wainscoting. Flat panels are installed first, and then additional panels are centered on them. These additional panels are sometimes lined by molding, creating a more intricate look.

5. Board and Batten: Board and batten wainscoting is essentially flat panel wainscoting with vertical boards used to cover seams or stiles. The additional boards are known as battens, giving the wall a more rustic or farmhouse feel.

No matter which style you choose, wainscoting can add depth, texture, and character to any room in your home. Consider your personal style and the overall aesthetic of your space when selecting the perfect type of wainscoting for your project.

Materials To Use For Wainscoting

The most common materials used for wainscoting are hardwood and wood substitutes. Traditional wooden options usually come at a higher price when compared to their thinner, less durable counterparts. Beadboard, a popular wainscoting style, often uses thickly cut wood panels to create its iconic appearance. Wainscoting designs consisting of paneling typically cost less than solid wood styles, but the quality and density of the wood used during installation can drastically affect the project’s price tag.

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is a cheaper alternative to hardwood that also comes in water-resistant varieties. This can prove beneficial for homeowners wishing to install wainscoting inside a room that encounters water frequently, like a bathroom or kitchen. Traditional hardwood succumbs to water damage easily and quickly, while water-resistant MDF, and its plastic alternative, PVC, can protect the underlying wall more effectively.

PVC is also a popular option for wainscoting, especially for outdoor projects. It is durable, low-maintenance, and resistant to moisture and insects. PVC is available in a variety of styles and finishes, including beadboard and V-groove options.

Dos And Don’ts Of Installing Wainscoting

Installing wainscoting can be a great way to add depth and texture to any interior space. However, there are some dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind before you start your project.

DO consider hiring a professional service for installation, especially for wetter locations, as they’ll know the right material you need to use for your home, depending on the level of humidity in your area.

DO choose the proper height for your wainscoting. Typically, wainscoting should be around 1/3rd the way up the wall. If you’re going with taller wainscoting, specifically ones with a plate rail, you should cap it around 2/3rd the way up the wall.

DO keep interior design rules about proportion and scale in mind when you’re choosing the size of crown molding and wainscoting. Trims and panels shouldn’t be too big or too small in proportion to the size of the room or it will look visually unappealing. Moreover, there should be some balance between the ceiling trim, the base, and the wainscot.

DO ensure that the wainscoting gets along with the door and window trim in the room. Depending on the thickness of the wainscoting that you’re adding, it may even be necessary to replace the door and window casing.

DO notch your wainscoting to fit around electrical boxes. Building codes normally require electrical boxes to be flush with wall paneling, so you may need to extend the boxes. Luckily, box extensions are inexpensive, widely available, and easy to fit behind either switches or receptacles.

DON’T make your panels too big or too small. There are no hard and fast rules for panel width versus height. No single design rule will guarantee you the perfect proportion between the length and height of panels. Trust your instinct in what looks right.

DON’T forget that you don’t have to install wainscoting on every wall in a room. One of the cool things about wainscoting is that you can use it on just one wall and it’ll look great.

How To Choose The Right Moulding For Your Wainscoting Project

Choosing the right moulding for your wainscoting project can be overwhelming, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make the process easier.

Firstly, consider the style of your home. If you have a traditional or historic home, you may want to opt for more ornate and detailed mouldings. On the other hand, if you have a modern or minimalist home, simpler and sleeker mouldings may be more appropriate.

Secondly, think about the size and layout of the boxes you want to create with your wainscoting. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration, but keep in mind the dimensions of your walls and aim for an odd number of boxes on each wall for symmetry.

Thirdly, consider the materials you want to use. Wood is a classic option and can be painted or stained to match your decor. MDF is a more affordable option that can also be painted, but it is not as durable as wood. PVC is a great option for outdoor projects as it is moisture-resistant and low-maintenance.

Finally, don’t be afraid to mix and match moulding styles to create a unique look. Combining base cap moulding with panel moulding or picture frame moulding can add depth and interest to your wainscoting project.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can choose the right moulding for your wainscoting project that will enhance the overall look and feel of your home.

Best Places To Install Wainscoting In Your Home

Wainscoting can be installed in various places throughout your home to add a touch of elegance and sophistication. Here are some of the best places to install wainscoting:

1. Dining Room: A dining room is a perfect place to install wainscoting, as it can create a formal and elegant atmosphere. You can use panel moulding or base cap moulding to create a frame around the lower portion of the walls.

2. Living Room: Wainscoting in a living room can add depth and texture to the walls, making the space feel cozy and inviting. You can use panel moulding or base cap moulding to create a frame around a fireplace or to highlight a focal point in the room.

3. Foyer: The entryway of your home is the first thing your guests will see, so why not make it memorable? Installing wainscoting in the foyer can create an impressive and welcoming entrance. You can use panel moulding or base cap moulding to create a frame around the walls or even add a chair rail for an extra touch of elegance.

4. Bathroom: Wainscoting in a bathroom can create a spa-like atmosphere, making it feel more luxurious and relaxing. You can use base cap moulding to create a frame around the lower portion of the walls, or even install beadboard for a more traditional look.

5. Bedroom: Wainscoting in a bedroom can add charm and character to the space, making it feel cozy and inviting. You can use panel moulding or base cap moulding to create a frame around the walls, or even add a chair rail for an extra touch of elegance.

Overall, wainscoting can be installed in any room where you want to add some architectural interest and elevate the design. The type of moulding and materials you choose will depend on your style preferences and budget, but with some basic tools and know-how, you can easily transform any room in your home with wainscoting.