In India, a functional lining of the bottom half of walls that began as a technique for wall protection and preserving heat within homes in the 13th century has evolved into an Interior Design style. Curious as to what it is? It’s Wainscoting
The name ‘wainscot’ comes from the German word ‘wagenschot,’ which dates back to the 14th century. ‘Boiserie’ is the French equivalent. According to Merriam-Webster, the term originally meant “a fine grade of wood intended for paneling.” The phrase eventually came to signify ‘panels along the walls of rooms’ in the 15th century.

Wainscoting is a term used to describe wooden panels that stretch from the floor to about 3 feet up the walls. The design of the panel can be anything. Wainscoting was once used to protect the walls and keep the home warm and cozy in Europe (where this trend started). What’s the deal with it garnering so much traction? Like any other Interior Design fad, it emerges and becomes famous.
Wainscot paneling traditionally covered the lower half of walls and initially served a practical purpose despite being primarily decorative today. In a European climate with frequent rain, the paneling was employed as a band-aid to mask water damage caused by damp walls.
The necessity for protective paneling in the average home has decreased as insulation, piping, and drainage have improved. Wainscot arose from the need for a rapid remedy and transitioned to an aesthetic of its own.
Anything worth doing is worth going above and beyond. Expensive Wainscot composed of various materials signifies dignity and opulence in centuries-old royal palaces and luxury manors. Interior design features of Wainscot can be seen anywhere from Buckingham Palace to Seri Perdana.
What’s fascinating is that there are a lot of DIY Wainscoting Videos on YouTube from Europe and the United States that show the panels and rails being attached directly to the walls. People in India follow suit, oblivious that “their” walls are built of wood while “ours” are made of cement.
Ask a Carpenter or a Painter in India how to accomplish Wainscoting; they will offer you different answers. Carpenters in Bangalore have been seen using the YouTube method combined with their invention – they stick “Teak Beading” directly on the walls. This is a nightmare for the painter because he has to ensure that the joint between the wall and the wood does not crack, as well as fill the pinholes caused by nailing the wood to the wall. On the other hand, the painters may advise you to go with a Veneer finish because it is what they are most familiar with. Still, you will lose out on Wainscot’s versatility in matching a range of design concepts.
Suppose you like it and have ample enough space. If that’s the case, wainscot walls are a very traditional aesthetic that may be paired with either a Modern or Traditional Interior Design Theme; therefore, yes, definitely consider it. Keep in mind, however, that Wainscot is ornamented in huge spaces. If you do it in a tiny room, the area will appear smaller, and the Wainscot may not even be seen due to the furnishings. Also, keep in mind that any special wall treatment – such as wall stickers – is always a passing trend, so be mentally prepared to take the Wainscot down when you get ready to renovate your home.
Ensure the wall where you intend to place the Wainscoting is not damp or prone to getting damp in the future, such as exterior facing barriers in a low-quality building. In a few months, humidity in the wall will ruin the Wainscot finish.
The Rails should not be nailed directly to the walls. As a result of the difference in the base materials, the paint will crack where the wood (of the rail) meets the wall. Instead, install a Base Panel and PASTE (not nail) the Bottom, Middle, and Cap Rails to the Base Panel. The rails can be wood or WPC (Wood Plastic Composite). HDHMR (avoid MDF) or WPC Board should be used for the base panel since they are water-resistant. Screws can be used to attach the base panel to the wall. Ideally, the screw holes should be planned so that the rails cover them. This will minimize the hassle of filling and finishing the hole.
Wainscoting is no more expensive than other types of wall paneling. It’s just a wood/ MDF panel with a decent coat of paint on top of it. However, it will cost you more than conventional painting because the work is more complicated.
Wainscoting Panels & Rails can be painted with standard wall paint, especially from the Royale or close range. Duco Paint, Enamel (Satin), PU, or Melamine Finishes would work depending on the desired finish.
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