5 Different Styles of Wainscoting Explained
Many homeowners and interior designers turn to wainscoting panels for their versatility and their ability to add a little charm to any room. This timeless trend began in the 18th century as a way to add more insulation to a room and also added a more durable surface than just having a plain painted sheetrock wall.
Traditionally wainscoting was made of individual boards initially comprised of a particular type of oak, known as wainscot, where its name originated. As the trend continued, different types of wood were used, but the name stuck. Today, when designing their custom home or updating the look of a room, homeowners will turn to wainscoting as a decorative wall accent to make a room more visually appealing.
Thanks to modern manufacturing, other materials can now be used in wainscoting (even metal), panels are now also produced in sheets, rather than individual boards with the key feature being that it is installed only on the lower portion of the wall. But even this has become a more traditional route and newer wainscoting designs have builders adding panels from the floor to the ceiling.
Not sure where to start when it comes to wainscoting? Find out more about the 5 main types of wainscoting and see what works best for the look that you want in your home.
Parts of a Wainscot
Wainscoting consists typically of 5 parts that make up its look. Depending on the complexity of the style, the wainscoting can have additional parts, but all wainscotings will have a Top Cap, Upper Rail, Stiles, Bottom Cap, Lower Rail and a Shoe. Additional parts would be added in the center where you can have a flat panel, raised panel, beadboard panel, shiplap boards, and overlays—which make up the 5 different and most common types of wainscoting.
Board & Batten Wainscoting
Board and batten wainscoting is a flat panel type of wainscoting with vertical boards that are used to cover the seams or styles. Distinct in its style due to its regular pattern of wide vertical molding boards which are known as battens. These battens are usually 4 to 6 inches wide and are placed about 6 to 10 inches apart from each other. Battens were also used to cover the joints between boards, additional battens can also be placed between the joints for added style.
Board and Batten Wainscoting has a very stark look and was very popular in 20th century homes. Recently board and batten wainscoting has seen a surge in its use in interior design due to its clean lines and seamless appearance, which works perfectly in contemporary styled homes.
Raised Panel Wainscoting
Raised panel wainscoting was first popularized in England during the 17th century as a way to insulate homes. This type of wainscoting is the oldest style and the most common, and often seen in colonial type homes and are mostly used in formal dining and living rooms.
Raised panel wainscoting is distinguished by the panels being placed in the front of the stiles and rails. The finished look results in panels that look raised off of the wall.
Flat Panel Wainscoting
Flat panel wainscoting features panels that are placed behind the stiles and rails. A more contemporary look, this type of wainscoting uses boards with no beveled edges or molding, which causes them to look deeper than the stiles and rails.
Flat paneling is completely smooth on the front and does not have any grooves, beads, or bevels—the only stylistic feature of flat paneling would be the seams between each board. These seams can sometimes be left open or can be covered with strips of wood or metal.
Overlay wainscoting is a combination of both flat panel and raised panel styles of wainscoting. Flat panels are first installed, and afterwards additional panels are centered on them. These additional panels can also be lined with molding for added style.
For this wainscoting style, you can also just mount a flat wood panel with shaped edges directly on the drywall itself. Overlay wainscoting mimics the true solid wood raised panel and is associated with neoclassical design.
Beadboard wainscoting is characterized by long and continuous vertical grooves and raised beads that are spaced about every inch to two inches apart. Beadboard wainscoting is made of thin, individual boards that placed directly next to each other. These small boards are usually around 32 to 48 inches long by 4 inches wide and are interlocked with its neighboring board using a tongue and groove system.
Beadboard panels can now also be purchased in larger panels as long as 8 feet in length for faster installation. For these types of boards, the beads and grooves are molded into the board itself during the manufacturing process.
Picked Out Your Wainscoting Style & Ready to Add it to Your Dream Home?
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