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Why Wainscot?

Aug 2, 2008
Are you remodeling your home or redecorating a room? Wainscoting can add the decorative and protective quality you?re looking for. What is wainscoting and why should you consider it? Here is a brief history and some reasons why it is so popular.

Wainscoting is a material that is attached to the bottom portion of a wall throughout a room. The traditional material is wood (or faux wood) but today it comes in a variety of materials and textures. These include marble, stone, tile, fabric and plastic that is meant to look like other materials, e.g. stone, wood and marble. Some have even gotten creative and used old door and window frames. The panels are installed between the baseboard and the chair rail which is at the approximate height of the back of a chair (between 48 and 54 inches from the floor).

Installing a wainscot got its popularity in the mid nineteenth century and was commonly made from the wood of wagons. These panels were installed vertically in a tongue and groove fashion and were originally meant to hide wall joints. In the 1900?s, higher (about 60 inches) fabric wainscoting was popular in formal areas such as dining rooms. The fabric used varied but they were generally rich in color and some had intricate patterns. The panels were separated by thick molding to add elegance and show craftsmanship.

Due to wainscoting?s rich history, using it adds an element of the past and touches of elegance to any room. In a new home that can appear sterile, it can add warmth and beauty.

Wainscoting isn?t just for aesthetic purposes but is also durable and can help protect your walls. Children and pets can easily leave marks on walls but with wainscoting, those marks will easily wash off. When chairs slide and hit the wall they usually leave a mark over time but with wainscot the wall is protected. If you have an older home then moisture can build on your walls due to lower standards of constructions. Wainscoting will help protect your walls.

It can also serve to flatten a warped wall or uneven drywall. Wainscoting can also cover up a water stain or other damage. If you have plaster walls then it can hide cracks and prevent new ones from forming.

Wainscoting is surprisingly inexpensive. Depending on the material you use, it should only set you back a few hundred dollars. The installation is not too difficult either. Tongue and grove makes it easy and the finished project looks professional. Some even come precut so there is no guesswork involved.

So if you?re planning on redecorating or remodeling, consider using wainscoting. It?s not only decorative and protects your walls but it?s inexpensive and easy to install.
About the Author
Jack Blacksmith pens mainly for http://www.insidewoodworking.com , an online publication on router table basics . You can see his publications on routers and tables over at http://www.insidewoodworking.com .
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