Wainscoting has been a popular treatment for interior walls in residential homes for a long time because it adds both function and decorative appeal to any space. Today, its popularity extends into commercial buildings with high-traffic environments like offices, corridors, hallways, lobbies, and more. In this blog post, we explore the benefits of wainscoting and the durable materials available for wall wainscoting in commercial settings.
What is Wainscoting?
Wainscoting is a type of paneling installed on the lower third of interior walls and historically provided protection for delicate plaster walls in homes. Typically, wainscoting consists of panels, cap moldings, and baseboards, and panels should be between 36 and 42 inches high — any higher would technically be considered paneling, not wainscoting. Today, wainscoting costs anywhere between $6 and $66 USD per square foot, and the price depends on the materials you build with and how intricate of a design you want to install.
Benefits of Wainscoting in High-Traffic Commercial Spaces:
In high-traffic commercial spaces, wainscoting offers several advantages:
Wainscoting safeguards walls from bumps, scuffs, and blemishes caused by daily wear and tear. It also acts as a durable barrier that absorbs impact from employees, customers, or visitors, ensuring your walls look good for as long as possible.
A commercial building is made up of several different spaces and rooms. Implementing wainscoting throughout different rooms can create a unified look and feel, tying the rooms together and creating a sense of cohesion and continuity.
Water Damage Protection:
Water damage is a persistent concern in commercial buildings, whether due to plumbing issues or unforeseen leaks. Opting for wainscoting materials that offer water resistance, like PVC-based Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, adds an extra layer of safeguarding against potential water-related mishaps. This protection ensures the walls behind your wainscoting remain intact, free from mold, and maintain their structural integrity.
Your commercial building reflects your brand’s identity, and wainscoting allows you to infuse its personality into the space. With a wide range of materials, colors, and finishes available, you have the freedom to select the wainscoting options that align with your brand's aesthetic. Whether you prefer a classic and refined look or a modern and vibrant ambiance, the wainscoting you choose can be customized to be a perfect fit.
What Building Material Should I Use for Commercial Wainscoting?
Several common materials can be used for wainscoting in commercial spaces. Let's explore some of the options:
Solid wood is the traditional choice for wainscoting, offering a timeless appeal. Solid wood offers design flexibility, allowing you to choose between wood species — like alder, cherry, maple, oak, or walnut — to best accentuate your brand colors and interior decorating. However, solid wood is the most expensive wainscoting option and requires pricey professional installation to prevent issues like cracks and gaps caused by seasonal expansion and contraction. Thanks to its price tag, solid wood wainscoting is often best suited for high-end commercial spaces that have a hefty budget and can spend more on decorative finishes.
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF):
MDF is a cost-effective alternative to wood that’s available in similar laminate finishes. Unlike real wood, MDF doesn't expand, contract, warp, split, or have knots. In terms of price, affordable and ready-to-install MDF wainscoting kits are available for small spaces, and MDF generally doesn’t require any skilled labor for installation.
If adding an extra layer of protection to your walls is more important than the overall design of your space, plywood is an affordable wainscoting option. The long, wide sheets are quick and easy to install — just cut them down to size, glue them to the wall, and finish with cap and base moldings. However, plywood wainscoting will look out of place in a fully finished commercial building. With some creativity and hired help, you can personalize plywood with unique designs and paint to obscure its rugged finish, but we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking to create a clean and seamless wall.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):
PVC-based wall panels, like Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, are an excellent choice for high-traffic commercial spaces. They’re moisture and water-resistant, making them ideal for areas prone to flooding. Trusscore panels offer design versatility, ease of installation, and compatibility with PVC-based trims, providing a complete wainscoting solution. And they’re low VOC-compliant, so they can positively contribute to your building’s future air quality and even help your structure earn LEED certification.
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Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard: Durable Wall Wainscoting for Commercial Spaces
PVC-based Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard panels are a durable, easy-to-install wainscoting solution for commercial projects. Here's why:
Strength and Durability:
The mechanical strength of PVC combined with the unique truss and ½" design of Trusscore means that the panels can outlive the buildings they’re installed in. The abrasion resistance of PVC also means that the panels are scratch- and impact-resistant, and they can stand up to contact without showing dents, cracks, or damage.
Pre-finished Trusscore panels are simple to cut with a standard power saw and require no special tools or skills to install. The pre-finished panels have pre-punched screw flanges, a tongue-and-groove interlocking system, and there’s no mudding, taping, priming, or painting involved in installation. On commercial projects, that saves you from having to hire expensive skilled laborers or spend days waiting for the installation to be finished.
Trusscore panels have a smooth, non-porous finish that makes it tough for bacteria, mold, or viruses to take hold. The panels are also easy to clean and disinfect — they can be cleaned with soap, water, detergent, and chemical cleaners and can even be repeatedly pressure washed. After it’s installed, keeping your walls clean will be a breeze, and your janitorial staff will thank you.
Moisture and Water Resistance:
Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard incorporates a tongue-and-groove interlocking system that creates a watertight seal. This feature protects interior walls from water damage, and the panels themselves are 100% moisture and water-resistant, preventing mold and mildew growth. It’s a big benefit in commercial buildings that don’t require complete wall-to-ceiling coverage for moisture resistance but still need some level of protection if a leak or flood occurs.
Trusscore panels come in white and gray, and they can be installed vertically or horizontally, allowing for various design configurations. On horizontal installs, you can easily transition between panels and create a vertical batten board or framing effect with the H-Channel Snap-in Trim.
Trusscore offers a range of PVC-based trims in white and gray that perfectly complement Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard and put professional finishing touches on the top and bottom of your wainscoting project.
Durable wall wainscoting is an excellent choice for high-traffic commercial spaces, offering both protection and aesthetic appeal. By selecting the right materials, such as PVC-based Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, you can create a stylish and long-lasting wainscoting solution that elevates your commercial space.