How to Cut Your Wainscoting

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Wainscoting is a thin, plywood-like board that has a texture, such as vertical lines, on the finished side. It is installed on the lower half of walls and is often topped with a chair railing. Because wainscoting comes in large sheets, you must cut it when you reach the end of a wall or doors and windows. Cutting wainscoting is similar to cutting any other paneling material and can be accomplished by using power cutting tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Table clamps
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Circular saw
  • Scrap lumber (optional)

Place a tape measure against the wall where you are installing the wainscoting and measure the width or the height of the area.

Lay the wainscoting with the finished side down on a flat work surface. Transfer the measurements onto the piece of wainscoting using a pencil and the tape measure.

Slide the wainscoting over the edge of the work surface until the pencil line hangs off. Clamp the wainscoting to the surface using table clamps.

Put on safety glasses and a dust mask. Press the trigger on a circular saw and cut along the pencil line until you reach the end of it.

Release the trigger on the circular saw and wait until the blade stops spinning. Set the saw down and remove your safety glasses and dust mask. Unclamp the wainscoting and install it on the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • If all of the wainscoting needs to be cut down to height, measure the height and transfer it onto a piece of scrap lumber. Cut the lumber to size with the saw before beginning the project and use it as a template to cut each piece of wainscoting.
  • If desired, you can use a table-mounted saw to cut the wainscoting.

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