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Hiding seams on wainscoting paneling

emaxxman's picture

I'm about to install a luan (spelling?) wainscoting in my house.  Since my walls aren't perfectly smooth (but no so bad that it would justify replacing the drywall), I've decided to cover the walls with 1/4 inch luan paneling.  On top of the paneling, I would add wall frames, a chair rail, and base moulding.

To hide the seams, I was thinking of positioning the seams over the studs.  Then I would use a rail and stile construction for the wall frames. 

I was wondering if there was another way to hide the seams if I didn't want to use rails and stiles for the frames, i.e. create "protruding" rectangles from thin trim molding. 

(post #94907, reply #1 of 5)

stain or paint grade?

And the panel edges should be straight enough that carefull placed, the first question is irrelevant. As with regular paneling, you just have to make the joint kiss nice, and it's not visible except standing next to the wall. If it's stain grade - then you pretty much have to do that, though I don't think your moulding idea is off base. If that's a look that you'd be happy with, do whatever you want and just arrange the panels based on where the mouldings would hit to maintain some sense of proportion in the room.

If it's paint grade, yes the answer is caulking isn't trim, but I don't care how good a trim guy you are. If it's paint grade, the painter is going to caulk all the joints anyway. They do it just to make you appreciate the effort that went under that bead.

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain

Real trucks dont have sparkplugs

(post #94907, reply #3 of 5)

The paneling is paint grade.  I plan on painting the entire wainscoting an off-white. 

I'm still a little confused with the answers that I received.  If I use the rail and stile methods, I'll just hide the seams under the rail and stiles.  It's with the non-rail and stile method that I'm not sure about.

If I understand the answers correctly, if I go with a the non-rail and stile method, the seams between panels can be successfully hidden with just caulk? Is that correct?

 I currently caulk all my seams when I trim out doorways  and windows. I then just prime and paint the wood trim. That has worked pretty well.  With the luan, will it shrink/expand enough to make the seams noticeable even after caulking and painting?



(post #94907, reply #4 of 5)

Here's another thought.

Since you plan on painting, how are you at skim coating?

You could skip the panels, smooth out the drywall and tack and glueup the moulding in the pattern you prefer. Covering/disguising seams is no longer a problem when you don't have any.

With the panels, hiding the seams is careful joinery of straight, smooth edges so that not only do they butt tightly but are also in the same plane. Smearing caulk on butted edges will show, especially in oblique lighting.

(post #94907, reply #2 of 5)

Ain't no big thang <G> or,

Piece o' cake, or

Sure you can do it that way, no problem.

If you choose the rail and stile look, just overlaying the panelling with the solid wood, you should probably lay out the pattern paying attention to the scale of the pattern rather than to just attempt to cover the vertical seams of 4' wide panels. May need to cut down the panel width somewhat to maintain perspective.

If you go for the picture frame look with the smaller mouldings then care in placing the panels is needed to avoid the obvious look of joined panels where that moulding will not cover. It can be done but takes more work.

What the rest of your architecture is should also have some bearing on the style you choose and whether you will be using paint grade or stain grade methods.

Then there is the ancillary mouldings that can be used to augment the rail and stile. Spend some time on the design and what ever you do will turn out great.

(post #94907, reply #5 of 5)

My experience has been that, if you're careful with the panel placement, the seams are almost invisible.  In addition to running a very light bead of caulk at the seam, you may also want to prepaint the wall behind the beadboard with the same color as the bearboard.  That way, if the panels do separate, it won't be quite as obvious.  This is especially true if the panel and wall are of contrasting colors.