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How To Fit Wainscot Wall Cladding

What you'll need:




Time Required

Approximately 3 hours


Tools Required

T&G Cladding

Dado Rail Moulding*

Mitre Box or Work Bench

Panel Saw

Wax, Stain, Paint or Primer*

Spirit Level


Safety Glasses, Mask and Gloves

Diluted PVA Adhesive*

Pipe, Cable and Stud Detector

Battens, Fixtures and Off-Cuts**

Grab Adhesive

Decorators Caulk


Paint Brush or Roller



Use a pipe and cable detector before nailing or drilling to check there are no hidden pipes or electric cables. For safety wear protective gloves and glasses. When using a mitre box or work bench it’s always a good idea to fix the box to a secure surface, to allow for both hands to be free when sawing. Ensure you do not drill directly above or below light switches and power sockets. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions when using all tools and materials.

*Optional. **Only required if fitting cladding to battens.

A step-by-step guide to fitting wainscot wall cladding, using Richard Burbidge mouldings and basic woodworking tools and techniques.

Step 1. Calculate amount of cladding required

To calculate the amount of cladding required, you must measure the height and width of the area to be clad. Next, determine the installed width of your chosen cladding, remember this will be less than face width due to the overlap at the joints. Divide the area to be clad by the installed width of the cladding, then round up this figure to get the amount of pieces required. Lastly, determine the amount of pieces you will get out of each plank of cladding, when cladding to wainscot height, you may get two or more pieces out of each plank. Divide the amount of pieces required by amount of pieces you will use per plank, this will give you the amount of cladding planks required for your project.

At Richard Burbidge, we have a selection of high-quality cladding options to choose from. Select our pine cladding when painting, or white oak cladding for a natural look. For this project we are using DEC6009 which is our 9 x 95 x 2400mm pine tongue and groove cladding. 

Step 2. Decide on installation method

If your wall is smooth and flat, you can fit cladding directly onto the wall using a strong grab adhesive. If your wall is dusty, use a diluted PVA adhesive beforehand and allow time for it to dry. When working with strong adhesives, ensure to properly ventilate the room and wear a mask.

If your wall is uneven you can install battens first to fit the cladding onto. Fit battens around the perimeter of the area to be clad, ensure you use a spirit level when fitting the battens. Then, infill the area with battens, spaced at a maximum of 30cm from centre to centre. If you are fitting your cladding vertically, fit the battens horizontally and vice versa. If an area of your wall is uneven, you'll need to use thin pieces of wood off-cuts behind the battens, to keep the surface flat. Ensure you use a pipe and cable detector before nailing or drilling into any walls.

Step 3. Cut cladding to length

Take a spirit level and mark the desired height of the cladding onto the wall. Use the width of the cladding to work out where each piece will begin and end, including the overlap at the joint. If there is a considerable overlap, you will need to cut the first and last piece down to balance the end widths. When cutting down the first and last piece, ensure you are cutting the correct side of the cladding so it is still able to join together.  

Next, measure your cladding to your desired length and cut each piece with a universal panel saw.

Step 4. Add a decorative finish

Before fitting your cladding, finish all of the faces and edges. This project can be customised to work with any décor and colour scheme. When working with raw cladding, you can choose to paint, stain, or wax. Make sure to check the instructions of your finishing products.  If you selected pre-finished cladding then you won’t need to add any decorative finishes, and you can skip this step.

You can also choose to add a dado rail to the top of the cladding to give a clean seamless finish, ensure to paint or finish to match your cladding prior to installation.

Step 5. Fit your cladding  

Slot the first piece of cladding into place to ensure the size is correct. Next, apply grab adhesive to the back of the cladding putting a generous amount of adhesive 10cm in from each end and spaced at 30cm intervals. Slot into place, and use a spirit level to ensure it is straight. Then, fit all the remaining cut pieces in the same way. For the last piece, slide it into place from above and don’t apply grab adhesive as it will get onto the wall.

Next, seal the gap between the top of the cladding and wall with decorators caulk for a secure fit. If you have chosen to add a decorative dado rail to the top of the cladding, fit by following the same steps as fitting cladding, and seal the gap at the top with decorators caulk.  

Step 6. Share your DIY renovation project

We love seeing how you have transformed your home with Richard Burbidge. Upload a picture of your DIY project to Instagram or Facebook and tag us @richard_burbidge. You can also upload your images to our testimonials page here. We can’t wait to see what you create with Richard Burbidge mouldings!

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