You don't need a pro to build wainscoting from scratch. Choose thrifty, assemble-yourself sticks or planks, or take it easy with ready-made sheets or panels.Sticks
Boards fit together like tongue-and-groove flooring (see inset), typically with a decorative bead detail on one face and a V-groove on the other. Pieces made of quartersawn wood, with grain running parallel to the edges, are more stable than flat-sawn ones.A.
Single-bead birch: ½
" thick x 2½
" wide x 36" high, about $8.60 per sq. ft., Vintage WoodworksB.
Double-bead cherry: 5/8" thick x 5" wide x 36" high, about $9.10 per sq. ft., Baird BrothersC.
Double-bead reclaimed redwood: 3/32" thick x 4 ¾
" wide x 36" high, about $4.55 per sq. ft., Pacific Heritage Wood Supply Co.