How to Measure Distance Between Vertical Slats for Wainscoting

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Wainscoting comes in two types: tongue and groove and frame and panel. Tongue and groove boards butt against each other and do not have any space between the slats, so measuring between them is unnecessary. Frame and panel wainscoting is a series of vertical slats, called stiles, that are connected by continuous top and bottom rails to form square frames. Panels are installed on the back of the stiles and rails to complete the wainscoting before attaching it to the wall. Measuring the distance between the vertical stiles correctly is critical to making the panels between the stiles on the wainscoting appear evenly spaced.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Measure the width of the top rail. Usually, the top rail equals the width of the vertical slats, or stiles.

  • Extend the tape measure along the length of the wall to measure its length in inches.

  • Multiply the stile width by the number of vertical slats desired to find the total amount of space taken up by the vertical slats.

  • Subtract the total vertical slat space from the entire wall length to find the wall space for the panels.

  • Divide the panel wall space by the number of panels desired. The width of the panels is the distance between the vertical slats on the wainscoting.

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