Wainscoting help

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Forum topic by Jacobp posted 10-15-2013 12:12 PM 1161 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2073 days

10-15-2013 12:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joint wainscoting expansion contraction

I’m working on putting up wainscoting. I’m planning on putting up painted 1/4” ply against the walls and then lay some small frames over it with a chair rail on top. My questions is this: because of the design there will be joints in the plywood that are not covered by the frames. Can I just use a butt joint with caulk and paint? I’m worried about walls moving and creating a crack in the seems of the 1/4” ply. Is my fear valid? Any other tips?

5 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17914 posts in 3395 days

#1 posted 10-15-2013 12:17 PM

Id either use caulk or joint compound to cover those seams. I just painted the wainscoting in my house and I used compound to cover. Worked out very nicely, the seams are unnoticeable.

Your fear is valid but hopefully your walls don’t move and plywood is much more stable than typical lumber.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7788 posts in 3302 days

#2 posted 10-15-2013 12:48 PM

If I understand you correctly, couldn’t you cut the plywood panels to where they DO line up with those frames you are adding? Even if the frames do not cover 100% top-to-bottom, they still would minimize the distraction.
Just a suggestion…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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2 posts in 2073 days

#3 posted 10-15-2013 12:53 PM

The wainscot isn’t the traditional frame and panel look. It will have a chair rail on top, baseboard on the bottom, and thin frames on the inside. The frames on the inside are made from 3/4” wide molding that will make a thin square frame (almost like a thin picture frame on the interior of the wainscott). Yes I will try to overlap the joint as best i can, but i don’t think it will always land that way. Does that make sense?

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7788 posts in 3302 days

#4 posted 10-15-2013 01:07 PM

Yes, that makes sense. Also, you could could rabbet all the ply edges for a ship-lap interface and stain to match. That would eliminate any unsightly gaps. My thoughts are that if these gaps are to show, then make them “intentional” and attractive. Who knows…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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418 posts in 2116 days

#5 posted 10-15-2013 01:47 PM

I would glue them.
I would also put a small bevel on the edge of each pc using a sanding block so when they went together it would make a small v-groove,
then I would fill the grove with bondo and sand smooth.

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