Home And Decorating: How To Install Molding And Paneling

Paneling and molding can be applied quickly, easily and neatly if you have the right tools. Learn how to choose quality paneling and the appropriate molding for the job for a professional look.

Paneling is not like it used to be in the past. It has a much richer appearance today. Paneling comes in four foot by eight-foot sheets and is made from many kinds of wood materials. You can find knotty pine, wormy chestnut and pecky cypress. You can find paneling that is covered with wallpaper and paneling that looks like bead board. Paneling is thin in thickness and molding is required for installation.

Use only seasoned wood paneling so the moisture content will be low. Before installing paneling in a room, always let it remain in the room to adjust to the moisture content of that room. Storing it like this will let the air circulate all around the surface of the paneling and molding and prevent future problems. If you are installing paneling on the interior of an exterior wall always use a vapor barrier and insulation or you will have moisture problems.

Since the paneling is thin there needs to be adequate support in the wall to nail the paneling to. Wood blocks may need to be added in between the studs for good nailing surfaces. The floor line will need adequate support also, not just for the paneling but also for the molding.



Paneling can be applied vertically, which is most popular, or horizontally. The first piece of paneling should be plumbed and scribed beforehand. You want to nail it in place in places where you can't see the nail heads, such as the tongue edge and wherever molding will hide it. Be sure the first piece of paneling is perfectly in place before applying the other pieces of paneling. Check to be sure everything is plumb, off and on during application. Paneling sometimes has tongue and groove edges, which helps in putting each piece together.

The last, or corner piece of paneling, that you install on the wall will have to be scribed and undercut at a slight angle to fit into the corner easily. The groove can then be slipped over the tongue of the preceding piece and into place snuggly.

Molding, such as cove or crown molding, is applied where the ceiling and wall meet. At the floor, a base shoe molding can be put into place. Quarter round molding is used in the corners. All intersections of paneling pieces should be covered with an appropriate piece of molding.

Horizontal paneling takes fewer pieces for installation and is faster to apply. Vertical nailing strips need to be put in the frame of the wall at eighteen inches on center. Then the paneling can be nailed directly to the stud wall. The first piece should be at the floor. Always be certain that this first piece is level before continuing on with the other pieces. Check off and on to be sure that you are staying level when installing each piece.

If you want an interesting pattern for your paneling try the herringbone pattern. Apply the vertical nailing strips so that the space between them is even. This pattern requires a lot of measuring. You will install the baseboard molding first. A small triangle shape piece of paneling will be your first piece to cut at the floor line. After all pieces are put into place a molding strip will be put over the vertical joint of the paneling.

Molding will have to be mitered at corners. Paneling will be mitered at outside corners as well.

Acquire the proper tools such as a plumb bob, level, square, miter box and miter saw and your job of installing paneling and molding will be much faster and neater.

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