The Best Ways to Keep Your Wainscoting Wall Panels in Tip-Top Condition

Although wainscoting panels are considered maintenance-free products, they still take some wear and tear over the years. They do collect a lot of dust and often oil & grime, especially the panels installed in the kitchen. And don’t forget that they are installed at kid- and pet-level. It’s hard to control the dirty fingers and the filthy shoes. And it’s harder to stop all the running around, throwing back bags against the wall, playing with the ball indoors – you get the picture. Your nice raised panel stands amidst this daily craziness and takes a beating.

wall decorationsAnd then it’s the moisture that secretly finds its way among the tongue-and-groove beadboard panels or when the caulk around the panels is worn. The bad effects are not apparent at once. But if left untreated, the beadboard wainscoting will swell or crack. The point is to prevent problems rather than deal with them. That’s always the best cure. So you have three good reasons for taking care of your interior paneling.

1.To avoid (premature) wainscoting replacement
2.To keep wainscoting for a long time
3.To let the modern wainscoting in your living room or kitchen add the desired elegance

Don’t forget that one of the reasons why you installed this beautiful flat panel in the first place was to decorate the walls and make the room impressive. And there is nothing impressive about dirty and scratched wainscoting.

So, what’s your mission?

Clean wainscoting panels regularly

Always remember that your wooden shaker doesn’t need excessive amounts of water. If there are some cracks or worn caulked sections that you cannot see, water might end up at the back of the panel. And you don’t want that. By all means, you can use a damp cloth to clean the panels but you should wipe the excess liquid. Don’t use any detergent either. Prefer a wood-safe solution dissolved in water or follow the instructions to wipe the panels and remove grime, dust, oil, and dirt. If you have wainscoting with beaded panels, give attention to the details.

Refresh the surface of the raised or flat panel

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In order for the paint to adhere better, your flat panel wainscoting must be gently sanded and primed. Of course, you can always use a paint & primer in one. Or prime first and finish with a satin or semi-gloss paint. The secret to successful wainscoting painting is in the prep work. You need to apply a painter’s tape to protect your wall, floor, and electrical outlets. And then it’s a matter of how you use the brush. Don’t make random strokes but follow one direction. If this is a panel with decorative details, start with them.

If you want to wax or polish the classic wainscoting to refresh it and protect its surface, apply a layer and wait for a few minutes before you buff it.

Scratched wainscoting? There are solutions

No need to panic if you discover a few scratches or cracks on the raised panel wainscoting. As long as they are on the surface and not big cracks, they can be easily handled with a wood putty. If there are only a few scratches, you can paint them the same color with the panel.

If there is extensive damage or big gaps, you may need to consider getting a new panel. Sometimes, it’s worth investing in a new wainscoting installation than dealing with serious panel problems that can never be fixed 100%.

Is this an old wainscoting? It’s worth devoting some time to take care of the panels

These are the main maintenance wainscoting ideas to get you started. Remember that more often than not, we cannot see the extent of filthiness until we clean the panels especially if the panels are not white. But just because you can’t see dust it doesn’t mean it’s not there secretly compromising your wall decorations.

If by any chance these are old classic wainscoting designs worth keeping just for the sake of their historical value, pay even more attention to the maintenance of the panels. After all, they have lived for decades and the wainscoting design might also be unique and so worth preserving. In any case, your interior wall paneling is a decorative element that deserves some care from time to time and will surely compensate you for your efforts.


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