How to Update a Ceiling with Wainscoting

Enhance a builder-grade ceiling by creating a cottage look with wainscoting.

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Materials Needed:

  • 4 X 8 sheets of tongue-and-groove wainscoting
  • spirit level
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • furring strips
  • drywall screws
  • drill
  • 1 X 2 pine or MDF trim
  • caulk
  • caulk gun
  • stud finder
  • table saw
  • drop cloth
  • flat latex paint
  • paint roller
  • paint pan
  • paint roller pad
  • extender pole
  • drop cloth
  • 1" paint brush
  • ladder
  • spackle knife
  • spackle
  • sanding block

Mark Ceiling

Standing on ladder, use a tape measure to determine the length and width of the ceiling. Use the spirit level and pencil to mark a straight line down the center of the ceiling's width and length, crossing in the center to create four quadrants.

Attach Furring Strips

Locate the ceiling joists with a stud finder, and then mark each joist with a spirit level and pencil. Cut furring strips to size with table saw. Place each furring strip along the ceiling perpendicular to its corresponding joist. Attach furring strip by drilling drywall screws through strips and into joists.

Cut Wainscoting

Referring to dimensions of each marked ceiling quadrant, cut sheets of wainscoting to size with a table saw. To appropriately account for any ceiling trim, deduct width of pine or MDF trim from overall cut size of sheet.

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