Step 4: Wet the Backs of the Panels

using a sponge and warm water to soak the back of a Lincrusta wainscot panel
Photograph: Kolin Smith
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Use a sponge soaked in warm water to wet the back of the first panel. (There should be enough water on the surface so that it would dribble off if you tilted the panel at an angle.) Repeat for the remaining panels for the first wall. Lay the panels back-to-back, with the wet surfaces touching, and set them aside for 20 to 30 minutes. This will allow the material to expand slightly before installation, preventing the panels from buckling at the seams once they're in place.
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    Tools List

    • four-foot level
      4-foot level
    • Pencil
    • utility knife
      Breakaway utility knife with extra blades
    • 12-inch stainless steel ruler
      Metal ruler or straightedge
    • wallpaper smoother
      Smoothing tool for liner
    • j-roller
      Smoothing roller for panels
    • Natural-bristle chip brush
      4-inch chip brush for adhesives
    • synthetic brush
      2½-inch angled paintbrush
    • paintroller
      Roller frame with ½-inch-nap covers
    • grout sponge
      Sponge
    • hardboard
      Piece of hardboard that's at least 1 inch taller than base molding
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • eye goggles
      Safety goggles
    • miter saw
      Miter saw for chair rail
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer gun for chair rail

    Shopping List

    Lincrusta Available through Lee Jofa, 800-453-3563

    Kraft paper

    Painter's tape

    Lint-free cloths

    Heavy-duty wallpaper liner

    Premixed vinyl wallpaper adhesive

    Clay-based adhesive for panels

    Odorless mineral spiritsLatex gloves

    Vinyl or acrylic adhesive caulk

    Universal acrylic primer-sealer

    Latex paint. Get an eggshell base color and a matte highlight color.

    2-inch brad nails for chair rail

    Wood filler for chair rail

    Fine-grit sandpaper for chair rail