wainscoting on the stairs…

like many builders, mine painted the walls using flat paint…. for the most part, i don’t care… but it is horrible to clean… and my kids (because they hate me) would sit on the stairs and lean against the wall… in most circumstances, that wouldn’t matter… but either because my kids have super dirty clothes – or because flat paint absorbs all the colors – there would be marks all over the wall… a big blob of blue where my daughter’s fancy designer jeans pressed against the wall… or a blob of red where my son’s favorite red sweatshirt rested… either way, it was so frustrating… at first, i just yelled and them and told them not to lean against the wall… but clearly i needed a more permanent solution… so… i decided to make an attempt at wainscoting the wall….

i started by framing off the space with 1×3 boards… then used joint compound to smooth out the wall texture… i used the kind you have to mix, so i just did it in small batches… (if you mix too much, it will harden too fast)…. i just used a small disposable container (like the ziploc tupperware kind of things) and mixed it together in that… i tried doing it in a bucket at first, but that seemed overkill for the small amount i was working with…

i applied the joint compound with a joint knife and smoothed it out as much as possible…

here’s how it looked in progress… (i was taking the pic of my daughter and not of the wainscoting, but unfortunately, i didn’t take pics during this project… sooooo… this is the best i’ve got)…

you can see above how it is framed and the joint compound (that turned white) is covering the textured part of the wall…

next i sanded the joint compound just to make sure it was super smooth…. and that was a messy process! that stuff is a mess… i highly recommend wearing goggles and a mask when dealing with that stuff… and covering anything with plastic that you don’t want to be covered in fine particles of joint compound…

after it was sanded and smooth, i added the 1×3 boards spaced about 2′ apart… they were cut at roughly a 30 degree angle on both ends (parallel)… it took some figuring out to determine the exact angle… i would cut a piece, line it up with the bottom trim along the stairs, get a level and make sure it was correct… it took some trial and error, but once i got it, it was a good angle for all the boards… so i just cut away…

i attached the boards to the wall using liquid nails (and a nail gun in a few spots)…. i then used wood filler to fill any nail holes or weird spots where the boards didn’t connect beautifully… i sanded it all down and then painted it….

the builder left a “touch-up kit” for me… but unfortunately, the paint was bad… it looked like cottage cheese… seriously… i’ve never seen paint like that before… so… i took a picture of the label on the top of the paint can and went to sherwin williams to get a new batch… the paint matched perfectly! and while this isn’t the best picture, at least you get the idea of how it looks… (sorry for the shadows from the railing on the other side… i should probably take a better picture at some point)…

so now when my kids lean against the wall, there is no transfer from their clothes to my wall… it stays (reasonably) clean… yay! one less thing for me to stress over…

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