Soooo... it's a good thing somebody in our house is better at this than I am. My version of wainscoting would include computer paper and a stapler. Instead, I give you Wainscoting the Casey way. Enjoy!
What you'll need:
:: 2 inch bead board in 4x8 sheets available at all major big-box and hardware stores
:: 1-1/8 in ply-cap panel molding
:: 1-1/8 in corner molding
:: (Optional) 1/2 in trim molding for added detail/counter top transition piece
:: Liquid Nails
:: Circular saw
:: (Optional but HUGELY helpful) Jobmax
:: Carpenter's square
:: Mitre box or Mitre saw
:: (Optional but helpful) finish nailer
Where to start: Measure all walls. I make diagrams of the room so that I know exactly where I want to place each piece of wainscoting. You will need height and width to start you off, but will also need to take into account outlets and light switches relative to your measurements.
Cutting the wainscoting: I used a circular saw to cut the wainscoting to my specifications. After the primary piece of wainscoting was cut, I went back with the Jobmax and cut the details. I do a dry run with the bead board on the wall without any glue before finalizing.
Getting it on the wall: After it is cut, use liquid nails to adhere it to the wall, applying it the same way you would a glue stick to the back of the wainscoting. A good rule of thumb is: apply the Liquid Nails, push it against the wall initially and then pull the bead board away. Then, restick it permanently in place.
Tips and Tricks: Measure three times. And then measure some more before you make that first cut. You can label the back of your wainscoting, or use blue tape to label the front, so you know which piece you're working with for which space. I prefer to work in stages moving from one end of the room to the other to help avoid this problem.
Also, creating detailed plans is critical. You have to account for every countertop overhang, etc.
Molding: Cut molding with a mitre box or a mitre saw. Most walls will require a 45 degree angle to make the seams line up nicely. I prefer to nail the molding in place because I have an air compressor and a nail gun, but it could be done with liquid nails as well. The corner molding is used on the outside corners where the molding meets to cover the seam and create a finished look. Once molding is in place, apply caulk or wood filler to fill the seam between the wall and the molding, or any nail holes.
Paint: Use high gloss paint to help prevent staining and discoloration, and to make your wainscoting easier to clean. Use a small roller to paint wainscoting as much as possible, doing detail work with your brush.
And that, folks, is that.
Rough total cost for this project in our kitchen: under $250 including paint. It's a great detail (requiring mostly elbow grease) for a really big design WOW.
Thanks for your support and feedback, and as always, feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions. And let us know if you try it in your space!