Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Renovation Detail: Beadboard Wainscoting

When we bought our historic house, I wanted to transform it into a world of wainscoting. So it was important for me to research the subject, to understand its characteristics and architectural history. In a nutshell, wainscoting was designed hundreds of years ago in a marriage of form and function to enhance the look of a room while protecting the bottom half of the walls from dirt and damage. Throughout the years, wainscoting has evolved to suit different architectural styles and design elements. Today board and batten, frame and panel, and beadboard have evolved as the most prevalent designs, with beadboard providing the most bang for your buck.

Beadboard wainscoting is either installed as tongue and groove boards or as tongue and groove sheets, the latter being the more cost-effective option. Consisting of a baseboard, the beadboard and a cap (whether it be a chair rail, a plate rail or a picture rail), beadboard wainscoting is really a quite simple system. In fact, it's self-explanatory name comes from the round bead along its edge that disguises the joint between strips.

Hundreds of years since its conception, wainscoting is still used to dress up areas that get a lot of wear and tear. I'm especially fond of beadboard wainscoting in bathrooms!

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