I love wainscoting to keep a lot of dents and marks out of walls and corners. You can use a semigloss enamel to give it a hard washable finish. I use a double antique white for a softer white. As long as it’s not pure white which comes off really harsh. I used all reclaimed wood in the powder room. All of the pine boards that we removed with the recking bar and didn’t ruin were saved for making trim and nailer boards for walls using the Rigid Table Saw and our Dewalt Benchtop Planer. The planer is used WITH NO NAILS in the boards after they are cut on the table saw. It cleans off all the paints and you only need a light sanding. This makes reclaiming SO EASY! After a year, we had finally used up all our wood from the demo period. Pinterest gave me a great idea to use 4 x 8′ sheets of hardboard cut into slats on our Rigid Table Saw..
Above are the sizes to cut your wainscoting. As long as you plan on painting it, hardboard is a super cheap way to go. You could do a whole room for about $30. Make a few level marks across the wall where you want horizontal boards and then use a partner to snap chalklines around the room. I use a Bostitch brad nailer to attach the boards after marking studs behind the drywall with a studfinder. After the horizontal boards are in, I measure for vertical boards and put them in. If you want to make a lot at once, you can make a list of the sizes and mark them on the back once they are cut. After the boards are in, caulk all the edges with paintable latex caulk. Below are some of the projects we’ve done using wainscoting.
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