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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    Question Wainscoting Basics

    Hi, I want to install Wainscoting in my upstairs master bedroom. I have never installed it before but the videos I've seen make it look pretty straight forward to install if you take your time.

    First question; do you save money by buying kits, or is it about the same price regardless.

    Also, I'm going to be buying a brad nailer to help with the installation. What size brads will I need, and is there anything else that I should get to make the installation easier? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Wainscoting Basics

    Wainscot is pretty easy and straight forward. Basic height is generally 32", but any height that suits your purposes is fine. Take into account window sill heights and make sure your wainscot blends well with them.

    Kits usually are to make a job easier, such as having materials already cut to dimension, special cuts, prefinished material, etc. Are they cheaper? Depends on your ability, the look you're going after, and the type of wainscot you're installing.

    The type of nail gun and length of nail will depend on the type of wainscot you're installing. If it's 1/4" panels with trim, then a finish gun or brad gun with a 1" to 1-1/2" nail will suffice. If you're installing planks, then you will need a finish nailer with 1-1/2" to 2" nails, depending on thickness of the materials involved.

    Typically you want to nail the material into the wall framing, not just the surface of the wall. The caveat to this would be if installing planks, then installing baseboard over the plank with a top cap that also covers the top edge of the planks. These long horizontal pieces can be anchored into wall studs to provide the stability needed to keep the wainscot on the wall. You can also use a touch of construction adhesive behind the wainscot for a little extra holding power if necessary.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
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    Question Re: Wainscoting Basics

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    Are they cheaper? Depends on your ability, the look you're going after, and the type of wainscot you're installing.
    Thanks A. Spruce for explaining everything. My ability is pretty good, I do all my own electrical, plumbing and even added a few walls here and there. I just never have installed wainscot before. I'm also on the market for a new 12" Miter Saw so that should help too. I just double checked the brad nailer that I'm going to be buying (http://www.amazon.com/Hitachi-NT50AE...I2O9C580FQOJT2) and it handles up to 2" brads so it should work fine. I probably won't be doing it until spring, but I want to do all of my 'homework' now ahead of time.

    If I also use construction adhesive would something like Liquid Nails work?

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Wainscoting Basics

    Question, do you "need" a 12" miter saw? Don't get me wrong, I have one and it's great, but it's also considerably larger and heavier than it's 10" brethren, and IMHO, not all that much more functional.

    Let me explain, 95% or more of the work you do will not require the increased cut capacity, and you'll probably find that when you do need it, it's still not sufficient. A 10" saw will cut up to about 6" at 90*, turn the saw to any angle and you can no longer cut the full width of the board. It will cut up to a 3-1/4" crown molding. A 12" saw, will cut up to I believe 8.5" - 9" at 90*, with the same angle cut limitations as the smaller saw, and about a 4-1/2" crown molding.

    I upgraded from a 10" to a 12" saw when I installed hardwood floors in my house, which were 8" planks, anything past a 22.5* angle and the saw wouldn't make the cut. Another issue is that the larger blades are more considerably expensive.

    When choosing a nail gun of any kind, it's best to stick with a name brand, such as the Hitachi you mentioned. It is also important to make sure you can get the loads locally, preferably generic nails which can be significantly cheaper than the manufacturer's brand. When shopping, note the nail gauge, collation orientation, and head design that the gun handles, and compare that to other brands. I believe it is Bostitch that can only shoot it's own brand of nails.

    Liquid nails should suffice fine, though you could compare it price-wise against paneling glue, which would serve you well for this purpose too. It bears mentioning that you only need to use glue if you need it. If you can drive your fasteners into wall framing as earlier stated, then you won't need the glue. Another trick is to use a "stitch" nailing method, which is accomplished by driving nails at opposing angles to use the drywall to hold the material to the wall, rather than framing. This is not a technique to use in lieu of glue or hitting the framing, but it can help with trouble spots, or pin a seam down while glue dries.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
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    Smile Re: Wainscoting Basics

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    Question, do you "need" a 12" miter saw? Don't get me wrong, I have one and it's great, but it's also considerably larger and heavier than it's 10" brethren, and IMHO, not all that much more functional.
    I don't think I will need the 12" VS. the 10" but I figured I'd get the 12 now instead of needing to get it down the road. I will probably just get a 10" now that you mention it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wainscoting Basics

    sprucey has pretty much hit the nail on the head. construction adhesive is a major help for this sort of thing as most wainscotting is fairly thin. with the seasonal movement of wood it can cause the panels to pop leaving the nails rendered useless. when i install wainscott i always use pl premium or lumberlock which are two brands of construction adhesvie. liquid nail also works. hitachi nailers are good but not the greatest anymore.. their newer guns are prone to misfires and jambs. if your willing to spend a extra #20 on a nailer look into the paslode f18-200 liteline gun. its been my go to gun for 5 years now
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  7. #7
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    Question Re: Wainscoting Basics

    Quote Originally Posted by jkirk View Post
    if your willing to spend a extra #20 on a nailer look into the paslode f18-200 liteline gun.
    Do you mean the T200-F18?

    http://www.amazon.com/Paslode-500959...aslode+f18-200

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wainscoting Basics

    hmm no... that looks like a newer version though. just havent seen it locally yet. i just hope the quality hasnt dropped on it like so many other brands of nailers have in the recent years compared to the guns they were making 10-15 years ago..

    do to that reason when i buy my next 18 gauge im upgrading to the $220 grex "Green Buddy" highest rated nailer on the market. extremely reliable, powerful and leaves a nail hole thats the size of the pin only.. many cheap nailers leave huge nail holes do to a large driver
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  9. #9
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    Lightbulb Re: Wainscoting Basics

    Quote Originally Posted by jkirk View Post
    hmm no... that looks like a newer version though. just havent seen it locally yet. i just hope the quality hasnt dropped on it like so many other brands of nailers have in the recent years compared to the guns they were making 10-15 years ago..
    I was looking into it but it cost almost twice as much and several bad reviews. The Hitachi got either 4 or 5 stars from everyone, but my biggest concern was the 90 day warranty for the paslode, where as the Hitachi has a 5 year warranty. I am still looking into it but so far I think the Hitachi is a better way to go.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wainscoting Basics

    if you can find the f-18 get it, its the cheapest production trim gun you can get.. meaning its a quality gun.. the hitachi is a toy. i know several trim carpenters that have it and they all leave it in the shop, it only comes out when they have extra bodies on site that need a gun or their main gun is in for repair,

    i invest a fair amount of money in to tools and i research what im getting first.. amazon reviews arent the best place to go to.. as you dont know whos using them. i go check via fine homebuilding , journal of light construction and tools of the trade
    fire up the saw and make some dust

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