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wainscot paneling

Wainscot Paneling is a decorative style of wall decor, often tongue and groove, and is broken into 6 squares or rectangles along the length of the lower wall. It consists of a paneling trim assembly that accents the wall by being installed from the floor up to a height comonly between 30-42″. WOod is the traditional material used for wainscoting, but more presently there are hardboard, plastic, and composite products that are commonly utilized.


The primary components which make up a wainscot assembly are:

Bottom Rail (Base Rail) – 4-8″ wide pieces which are typically attached to blocking behind it of the same width.

Stiles – Typically 3-4″ vertical members which divide the panels into rectangular or square sections.

Panels – Rectangular or square sections of paneling that are recessed or flush with the stiles.

Panel Trim/Mold – A profiled trim accenting the perimeter of the wainscot panels.

Top Rail – Similar to the bottom rail but placed above the panels horizontally, typically flush with the stiles below.

Skirting – A horizontal trim that sets on top of the top rail either independently of or monolithically with the chair rail (bullnose)


Chair Rail (Cap) – Very top most profile trim piece which accents the top of the wainscot assembly.

Wainscoting was once a craft properly executed by skilled tradesman only, but with pre-assembled packaging now available, it’s a task that can now be done by the eager or handy layman or handyman. Some other styles of wainscot are the following:

Shaker – Shaker paneling is a type of wainscoting where the paneling section resemble a sunken square in the middle.


Beadboard – Beadboard paneling has the general look of wainscoting but has tightly spaced vertical grooves (beads) giving it a slightly more functional look. Beadboard can be composed of wood but is also becoming more popular in plastic (PVC)

A few other wainscot styles




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