How Much Does It Cost to Install Wainscoting?

by Team HomeServe
A formal dining room with finished Wainscoting

Installing wainscoting is a straightforward and attractive way to decorate empty walls and create a traditional ambiance in a sitting room or home office. Wainscoting can transform your living space, add extra insulation and even cover up unsightly wall damage.

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Below, you’ll find out how to estimate the cost of your wainscoting project.

How Much Does It Cost to Have Wainscoting Professionally Installed?

Wainscoting installation costs depend on the size of your room and the going rate for contractors in your area.

Labor Costs

According to data from Fixr, it should take roughly 12 hours for professionals to install wainscoting in a 10-foot by 10-foot room. At an average cost of $90 (CAD 120) per hour, that adds up to $1,080 (CAD 1,450) for labor in all.

Material Costs

Wainscoting materials typically cost between $6 and $66 (CAD 8 and CAD 88) per square foot. Therefore, expect quotes in the region of $1,500 to CAD $2,500 (CAD 2,000 to CAD 3,400).

Cost Factors

The cost of having wainscoting professionally installed varies widely and is dependent on the prices charged by local contractors. Contractors typically charge higher rates in areas with steeper costs of living.

Wainscoting being attached to a wall

How Much Does Wainscoting Cost to Install Yourself?

Installing wainscoting yourself can trim over $1,000 (CAD 1,350) from the overall project budget, as you won't have to pay for installation labor. For example, installing around 100 square feet of redwood wainscoting yourself should cost somewhere between $1,000 and $1,800 (CAD 1,350 and CAD 2,400). This figure doesn't include the cost of paint or other finishes, so remember to factor this in when calculating the total cost if you want painted wainscoting.

The type of panels you choose will significantly impact the overall costs. If you choose an expensive wood such as cherry, or if you want panels with an intricate design, this will cost significantly more. Meanwhile, opting for wood veneer or plastic panels is a good way to save money and get the look of wainscoting on a budget.

What Goes Into the Overall Cost of DIY Wainscoting?

If you’re doing the project yourself, the largest expense is the panels. Vinyl is the cheapest option, costing between $6 and $10 (CAD 8 and CAD 13) per square foot. Meanwhile, you could spend as much as $28 (CAD 38) per square foot for expensive wainscoting materials like stone veneer.

You'll also need some basic equipment to install wainscoting, which should cost around $120 (CAD 160) to purchase from a hardware store. If you already have some of the equipment from previous projects, or if you can borrow it from friends or family, this will shave a little off the overall installation cost.

Wainscoting attached to a wall and being prepared for paint

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How Does the Cost of Wainscoting Compare to Shiplap?

Shiplap siding is often a cheaper option than wainscoting. It consists of horizontal panels that provide a rustic, log cabin-style aesthetic. Installing shiplap costs between $9 and $23 (CAD 12 and CAD 31) per square foot.

However, bear in mind that installation costs are dependent on local labor prices. If you're on a tight budget, it's a bit easier to install shiplap yourself than wainscoting. The materials for DIY shiplap are relatively inexpensive, making it an affordable project for homeowners on a very tight budget.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.