Wainscoting Advice Needed -Board and Batten - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-07-2013, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Question Wainscoting Advice Needed -Board and Batten

Hi Everyone, I'm a Do-It-Yourself type guy who is fixing his house little by little in my free time and on the weekends. I've done all sorts of work already, and have gotten pretty good at wood working, but I can use some help deciding my latest project. This time is is my 1/2 Bathroom and wainscoting.

Another baby is almost here, so that means I need to get another project done beforehand and I need to kick it into high gear. Plaster and Lathe is all gut down to the studs just waiting to be made pretty once more. Tons of prep work beforehand (Electrical, Plumbing, Insulating, Etc), so I have some time but want to get my plan down.

I am planning to do a Board and Batten style wainscoting and can use some help deciding on materials, dimensions, spacing, and some technique. This project will also incorporate window trim, door trim, a vanity mirror, and possibly a custom vanity if I can't find something to drop right in. I'm a planner and like to think things out, so I'll overload you all with details, feel free to comment on just one part, all of it, or just read along.

To give you some idea of what I'm going for, here are some pictures I found on Houzz:

PICTURES Click any link for a larger sized image and a more detailed view

http://*******/IxqLY9


http://*******/1iJ60ZO


http://*******/IxqMeP

Bathroom Dimensions:
Roughly 57" X 57" So it is on the smaller side
Height is only about 86"

Thickness of Rails and Battens (Front to Back Thickness)
I'm guessing the examples above are mostly using 1"X wood, would you agree? I don't want it to stick off the wall too thick since the room is small, but I also don't want it to be skimpy and I want to get that impressive shadow box feel. Someone recommended 1/4" or 1/2" MDF, others recommended 1"X pine. What is a standard thickness?

Batten Vertical Thickness (Left to Right)
I was considering using a 1"X3" or 1"X2". From the pictures I shared it looks like some are using about those sizes but i'm unsure. Anyone have a recommendation from experience in a small bathroom which size might be most ideal and similar to the pictures?

Spacing of Battens
In a room that is roughly 4-1/2' square, I was thinking of trying to get at least 3 to 4 battens plus the corners. That would give me a very rough a 13"-16" space. Rough math of 3" wide batten X 5 including corner=15"-57" width of the wall= roughly 14" but I could be off since that is rough math. Any tips on possible spacing, or what the picture spacing looks like appreciated.

Backing (Plywood or Sheetrock)
I see that some mount the Rails and Battens directly to sheetrock, others put a piece of nicer plywood behind to give it a smoother feel. If cost isn't a major factor, should I use plywood? Also, would 1/2" be appropriate to match the sheetrock?

Top Rail Ledge Thickness
What's common, about a 3" ledge?

Rails and Battens (Pine or Primed MDF)
Seems like a lot of people use both. One friend said he uses MDF exclusively since it doesn't expand/contract later and require more caulking, and is super smooth. Any recommendations on which is better? I took a look at the 1"X pine at Home Depot and would definitely need to spend extra and get the clear/select since the regular stuff had lots of knots and I want to avoid those. I've never worked with MDF before in finished trim so any recommendations appreciated on materials.

Building and Assembly
Naturally I want to build it right on the wall with a nail gun. I've seen on the web some build the frames first and use a pocket jig and screws, or a biscut joiner, and then glue it to the wall. Others go at it and start with the rails, and then install the battens right to the wall with a nail gun. What do you guys do/recommend? I'm a master caulker after all the caulking i've done in the past so I'm no stranger to putty/sand/caulking.

Height of top rail (In combination with a window)
This room has ceilings that are slightly lower as it was a solo addition and the way the roof slopes they were limited. The height is about 86". The window sits centered on the back wall and the sill is at 49-1/2", and about 54" to the handle on the bottom pane of the window. I was considering running it to match that 54" height. Keep in mind the ceiling is 86", and I like the look of a higher wainscoting. Sound cool?

Mirror Frame
Any tips on building a vanity frame similar to the ones in the picture that are built in? I was planning to use the flat stock with the end cap to match the door and window trim, and the rest of the house I've redone. Would it make sense to route a small area on the backside of the trim so the trim can lay flush over the mirror by about 1/2"? I've never routed anything like that but it seems like that would be ideal so you don't have the mirror's edge butt up to the trim, and will give it a more finished look. A way to explain it is a dado cut but right to the end and the mirror edge would be covered by the trim and be in this dado cut area? Sorry I don't know the right terminology but that's the best way to explain it. Any tips appreciated.

Window/Door Trim, and Mirror (Building myself)
My window/door trim is a flat wide stock with an end cap similar to the image with the red paint. Not fancy, but it was the original style to this old house and I want to keep it as original as possible so I've continued this style. For the window trim in the red paint picture, it looks like the top rail merges into the window trim, and as if the end cap finishes at the top of the rail, and bottom to allow the intersecting. Pretty simple to just notch the rail a bit I assume to account for the thickness of the flat window trim stock. Is this a common way to do that? Or is it more common to just butt the rail up to the outside edge of the end cap without cuts? I want to add that extra level of character and that seems to look really cool, and if I do it on the window and door trim, i'll probably want to do it on the vanity frame also. Guess this might just be a personal preference thing.

Baseboard
I see a lot of times people make the baseboard stick out just slightly further than the rails and battens. Is this done by shimming the same thickness baseboard stock as the rails and battens, or is the baseboard one thickness larger typically? I'm thinking of just shimming it out to get a slight reveal, but not have it way out.


Thanks Everyone!

Last edited by HandyFrank; 12-07-2013 at 02:16 AM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-07-2013, 03:36 AM
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Take a look at YouTube for some great advice. The best I've seen is put out by Kreg tool. Search for Gary Striegler and watch his video on wainscoting. He has some fantastic videos on trim and finish carpentry as well.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-07-2013, 04:08 AM
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Review the steps shown on "This Old House ". Here's a link to a complete process. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-...537962,00.html

After your drywall is up, layout the panels by drawing them on the wall. I like the exposed portion of the rails and stiles to show equal width unlike some of the pictures you provided. If you use panel molding, I would probably use 3/4" thick rails and stiles as the molding helps make a transition between the panels. Often you can get panel molding for 1/2" thick rail and stiles, which may fit your room size better. Another option is to not use panel molding at all. In that case, I would use 1/2" - 3/8" stiles and rails. I'd probably use 3/8 if I didn't use panel molding. It is really up to you and the design of the house, as well as the height of the wainscoting. You may want to research or match heights/proportions in other rooms.

In terms of materials, for solid stock I'd use poplar or alder. For the panels, 1/4" ply or MDF as long as the MDF is held a good distance away from the floor. (Moisture issues.) If I used ply, I'd probably use maple or birch for ease of painting. Here's a sample of some moldings from a local supplier: http://www.reellumber.com/hardwood-mouldings.htm . Look about 3/4 of the page down and you'll see rabbeted panel moldings. Something like #1370 made for 1/2 rails and stiles would be appropriate in a small room like a bath. If you are looking toward Arts and Crafts design, forgo the mold. Get back with us. Hope this helped.

Last edited by Old Skhool; 12-07-2013 at 04:14 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-07-2013, 11:44 AM
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This has a chapter on wainscoting and one on baseboard:

http://www.amazon.com/Trim-Carpentry-Built-Ins-Tauntons-Build/dp/1561584789/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386434384&sr=8-1&keywords=trim+carpentry+and+built-ins
I did beadboard, window trim, chair rail and baseboard in my attic. The book was pretty good on rabbeting the apron for the beadboard, chair rail meeting the window casings, etc.

Starting to feel like a shill for Taunton Press - just recommended another of their books to someone with a window trim question.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-08-2013, 03:43 AM
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A thought I had when I was considering wainscoting is that if you use a bolection molding to transition between your rails/stiles and panel is that your rails and stiles can be made of plywood. The edges of the plywood will all be hidden by either chair rail at the top, baseboard at the bottom, or bolection molding around the panels. Just a thought for doing it in the cheap.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-31-2013, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Skhool View Post
Review the steps shown on "This Old House ". Here's a link to a complete process. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-...537962,00.html

After your drywall is up, layout the panels by drawing them on the wall. I like the exposed portion of the rails and stiles to show equal width unlike some of the pictures you provided. If you use panel molding, I would probably use 3/4" thick rails and stiles as the molding helps make a transition between the panels. Often you can get panel molding for 1/2" thick rail and stiles, which may fit your room size better. Another option is to not use panel molding at all. In that case, I would use 1/2" - 3/8" stiles and rails. I'd probably use 3/8 if I didn't use panel molding. It is really up to you and the design of the house, as well as the height of the wainscoting. You may want to research or match heights/proportions in other rooms.

In terms of materials, for solid stock I'd use poplar or alder. For the panels, 1/4" ply or MDF as long as the MDF is held a good distance away from the floor. (Moisture issues.) If I used ply, I'd probably use maple or birch for ease of painting. Here's a sample of some moldings from a local supplier: http://www.reellumber.com/hardwood-mouldings.htm . Look about 3/4 of the page down and you'll see rabbeted panel moldings. Something like #1370 made for 1/2 rails and stiles would be appropriate in a small room like a bath. If you are looking toward Arts and Crafts design, forgo the mold. Get back with us. Hope this helped.
Thanks for the replies everyone. So I've been doing all the prep work and some of the challenges took MUCH longer than planned. I'm just getting to sheetrock and the Wainscoting backing so I decided I'm going to use a 1/2" plywood. Still trying to decide what type i'll use based on what's available, but the Birch you recommended might do the trick.

In regards to the backing size, you suggest 1/4" ply? I am planning on NOT using drywall behind the wainscoting, so I was assuming 1/2" to match the sheetrock 1/2". Should I go 1/2" considering this? I can put drywall but it seems like some people just put Plywood to match the sheetrock depth and go that route so that's what I was planning.

For the rail and styles/battens, I am thinking a 1"X will be too thick like most sites recommend. In the pictures I shared can anyone estimate how thick those are? The Red room looks to have the thinnest ones, I was guessing 1/2", and the darn green bathroom with 3/4" or 1"? Anyone have a solid idea based on those pics? The bathroom I am redoing is under 5X5 so I want to make it nice, but not too thick. Is 1/2" ideal or will be it too thin? I want to be sure it looks high class and don't want to take away from it if 1/2 is too thin. Does anyone sell 1/2"X4" is that a common size? I figure if I go with a 1/2"X4" I can rip it down to 3" if I want them thinner, or if the store has 1/2" in 3"/4"/5"/6" i'll calculate and buy separate based on my needs. I have a Home Depot local, and Lowes about 30 minutes away, and a lumber yard only a few minutes away.

Now the fun part, finding all the trim's and such to make this all come together.

I appreciate all the tips!

Last edited by HandyFrank; 12-31-2013 at 12:44 PM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-31-2013, 01:35 PM
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-31-2013, 05:36 PM
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It looks like you've had a lot of great advice. The examples you've posted are craftsman revival designs. The question I'll ask is "what kind of house do you have"?
All of my own trim and molding designs are dictated by the existing trim and moldings in the house. The important thing (in my book) is that any work you do should be consistent with the rest of the home.

If you do have a craftsman-era home, I'd highly recommend Powell and Svendeson's "Bungalow Bathrooms" for reference

http://www.amazon.com/Bungalow-Bathrooms-2001-publication/dp/B003JHSYKO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1388529355&sr=8-4&keywords=bungalow+bathrooms
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-01-2014, 08:32 AM
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Based at first glance of looking at the red room my automatic thought is 3/4" thick. This is a bathroom so I personally would finish the bathroom in green board and then apply 1/4" ply either behind it or between as either way your just going to need to find a interior molding that will match your application. I used to be a finish carpenter doing remodeling mostly in home from the 1800's so I understand wainscot very well. These pictures are from a rehab I am doing on a house that I bought back in March which I am just about ready to move into.

Personally get both of the Kreg DVDs that have Gary Streigler in them, they are a wealth of info! I have taken 2 classes from Gary to hone my skills and pick his brain, he is a true master to the craft and a damn nice guy!

Rob
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-02-2014, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RepairmanJack View Post
It looks like you've had a lot of great advice. The examples you've posted are craftsman revival designs. The question I'll ask is "what kind of house do you have"?
All of my own trim and molding designs are dictated by the existing trim and moldings in the house. The important thing (in my book) is that any work you do should be consistent with the rest of the home.

If you do have a craftsman-era home, I'd highly recommend Powell and Svendeson's "Bungalow Bathrooms" for reference

Bungalow Bathrooms - 2001 publication.: Amazon.com: Books
Thanks for the tip. YES! I am matching the trim in the house. My trim looks almost identical to the red picture I posed which has a flat stock with a backband end. About half of the house had the trim removed and wood paneling and crap clamshell trim was installed. All that came down, and I have been rebuilding the trim to match the original as I renovate. The house was built in 1922 so it definitely fits the style.

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Originally Posted by Schramm View Post
Based at first glance of looking at the red room my automatic thought is 3/4" thick. This is a bathroom so I personally would finish the bathroom in green board and then apply 1/4" ply either behind it or between as either way your just going to need to find a interior molding that will match your application. I used to be a finish carpenter doing remodeling mostly in home from the 1800's so I understand wainscot very well. These pictures are from a rehab I am doing on a house that I bought back in March which I am just about ready to move into.
Rob
I went and took a look at the Home Depot 1/2" Birch plywood and it looked great. Completely smooth with only a few knot/dark spots showing, but again completely smooth so I think I will be using this. I had a carpenter friend say I should skip the plywood and just mount directly to the drywall to make the job easier and cheaper, but I've already planned for a 1/2" plywood directly to the studs, so I think i'm going to stick to that. Do I need to put drywall and plywood? I was planning to just use the 1/2" plywood directly to the studs, and 1/2" drywall above which will land a flush surface. I can still put drywall on the back but since the bathroom is so small I wanted to minimize how thick the walls get.

For the Stiles and Rails, I am considering 2 options. Local lumber yard carries 1/2"X6" clear pine that I can use. Or, I found a Home Depot about 20 minutes away that carries a 11/16" primed MDF stock that may be ideal. Think this MDF would be ideal stock up against the 1/2" Birch plywood? I could also use 1"X4" Poplar, but I think 1" is too thick since I am not putting a cove molding on the inner sides of the rails/stiles. I like the look of the straight rails and stiles, without the inner cove wrapping. Is 11/16" ideal in that scenario? Or is 1/2" even better if I don't plan to use an inner cove molding? I like the thickness of the red and dark green pictures I posted which seem like 1/4" and 1/2" if I guessed, but maybe it is 1/2" and 3/4"?

I'm thinking of doing a 5" for the bottom rail, and rip that to 4" for the top rail, and then use 3" vertical rails in either 1/2" or 11/16". Does that sound ideal? I'm going 54" with the top of the rail so I can make it look similar to the red picture in height.

All tips appreciated










Home Depot Birch 1/2"

Last edited by HandyFrank; 01-02-2014 at 05:18 PM.
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-02-2014, 09:37 PM
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Honestly I never would go plywood direct to studs. In any wet area such as a bathroom I use only mold resistant drywall then 1/4" plywood and then I make the panels and apply them over the plywood. Why? Because for me going plywood direct to studs is a no no and I only do things that will last. If you have exterior walls and are not insulated properly or dont have a proper vapor barrier the wood will absorb moisture and you can end out with warping. If your trying to save money do the application to drywall, it looks terrible if your drywall isnt great or if you get screw pops or cracking but you will save a buck or 2. I have built wainscot quite often and my suggestions are only on what I have found works best. Drywall cost $8-12 for mold resist drywall and 1/4" plywood is about $14 per sheet so I do not think you are saving much sticking the plywood to studs and I promise you will be sorry that you did it!

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Honestly I never would go plywood direct to studs. In any wet area such as a bathroom I use only mold resistant drywall then 1/4" plywood and then I make the panels and apply them over the plywood. Why? Because for me going plywood direct to studs is a no no and I only do things that will last. If you have exterior walls and are not insulated properly or dont have a proper vapor barrier the wood will absorb moisture and you can end out with warping. If your trying to save money do the application to drywall, it looks terrible if your drywall isnt great or if you get screw pops or cracking but you will save a buck or 2. I have built wainscot quite often and my suggestions are only on what I have found works best. Drywall cost $8-12 for mold resist drywall and 1/4" plywood is about $14 per sheet so I do not think you are saving much sticking the plywood to studs and I promise you will be sorry that you did it!

Rob
Thanks Rob,
That all makes sense. Since it is only a 1/2 bath (No shower/Tub), I figured I could get away with the regular drywall. Darn, I already cut all the pieces for the uppers. Guess its still not too late to change gears and put the drywall up behind the plywood. I got a book or two from the library and they said to put the plywood directly to the wall, that's why I decided to go that route.

1/4" plywood birch is about $45 a sheet at the lumber yard, or the 1/2" birch is $43 at Home Depot.

Cost isn't a huge factor here, I don't mind spending an extra $100-$200 to do the job right.

The house is vinyl sided outside, and has foam insulation sheets. Inside I spray foamed all cracks and air crevices, and put pink insulation in the walls. I was then going to put a plastic vapor barrier over and then the plywood to the studs.

So you say definitely put the drywall behind? Maybe i'll see if I can get 1/4" green drywall (Not sure if they even sell it in that thickness, since I always see it in 1/2"). Guess if I put 1/2" plywood on top of the drywall it wouldn't be the end of the world either, just will be bumped out a bit further. I'm already coming out with the baseboard though.

Tough because anyone you ask tells you a different way to do it, and a different reason. Rob your reasoning makes perfect sense, I'm just dreading re-cutting all the drywall. Guess I can leave the non mold/green drywall I already cut for the uppers, and then put the green mold drywall on the lower portion and then put 1/4" plywood. Even if the green mold drywall ends up being 1/2", I could then go either 1/4" or 1/2" birch plywood and it will only stick out that little bit extra.

Decisions, decisions. Any extra tips appreciated.
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-03-2014, 01:23 AM
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I do things a little different then most, even when I was a contractor and did finish carpentry for a living, I never worried about cost just what the best finished look was going to be. If a room has any plumbing in it they are considered wet. If they have exterior walls I treat them wet as you have the outside elements to deal with. When I re-do a house I gut them back to studs mostly because they are mine. When I put them back together I spray foam the outside walls with 2" of closed cell foam and then close it up and fill the cavity with blown in cellulose and I put mold resistant board all throughout the house. The overall cost is 15% more but then I do not have to worry about mold. The reason I am telling you this is because I go over what the norm is especially when it is mine as I want it to last.

Here is a way to look at it, if you butt 2 sections of drywall together you can tape it and give it 1 coat, however if you put plywood up you have an open area between the 2 and anytime you leave a gap in the wall you open yourself to exterior element issues. If you do not want the extra thickness, then follow this simple instruction from my buddy Gary Striegler, he is a great guy and wealth of knowledge I have taken 2 classes from him at Marc Adams School of Woodworking and for what you want this is the method I would suggest, if you are not planning on staining this then just use 1/4" luan, it is less expensive and the choice that will work best for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRPfcwHs6WE

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