About Wainscoting

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Wainscoting is a decorative paneling style, traditionally made of wood, used to enhance a room’s look. Typically covering the bottom half of an interior wall, and once used for extra insulation and protection against leaks, it’s now primarily installed for decorative purposes. The paneling can create either a sense of elegance and formality in a dining room or living room, for instance, or brighten up a plain bedroom or bathroom.

Inspired by traditional flourishes found in European and early American homes in cities like Bridgeport, for example, wainscoting is gaining popularity across the country in the 21st century. It’s available in a variety of woods, including poplar, oak, maple and cherry; and in a variety of styles, such as raised, recessed, shaker and groove. The top of the wainscoting can be capped with a dado rail or chair rail molding, and matching window and door trims can be installed as well. Aside from the visual aspect, wainscoting panels do continue to provide some functional benefit as well. They can protect your walls from scratches and unsightly scuffs incurred from chair backs or toys.

How Much Will It Cost?

While wainscoting is not too expensive to have installed, if you are experienced with carpentry you can cut costs by doing it yourself. However, as the key feature to wainscoting is symmetry, it’s not recommended to attempt it on your own if you’re a beginner; instead, contact a local carpenter.

You can purchase prefabricated wainscoting at a local hardware store or over the internet, and it usually costs between $6 and $25 a square foot, depending on the type of wood you select. Wainscoting material for a 45-foot square room usually ranges $300-$900, depending on the height, style, material and moldings you desire.

The highest quality wainscot is built on site, board by board. Though time consuming – it can take 3 – 5 days – and relatively expensive, the fit and look will be perfect for your home, and the quality will be superb. Alternatively, you can take your own measurements and submit them to a company like www.wainscotsolutions.com, select your type of wood, finish and other details, and have it shipped to you. The only other expense you will have with mail-ordered wainscot will be hiring a carpenter to install the panels, which should take just a few hours to complete.

What About My Electrical Outlets?

If you plan on mounting wainscot paneling, any outlet on the lower part of your wall will be covered up. Contact a local electrician to transfer the wiring and electrical outlets to a higher-up location before installing the new paneling.

Wainscoting is a great, inexpensive way to give your home’s interior a new, yet traditional look. A colonial-style, wooden home can really benefit from the added touch. However, be sure to contact a local, qualified, professional if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

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