Installing interior architectural wall panels requires a high level of skill and precision, especially if you’re sequence matching wood veneer panels. In this article, we provide six expert tips you can use to install seamless, aesthetically-pleasing wall panels while meeting the AWI Standards
Why Install Architectural Wall Panels?
Architectural wall panels are primarily for aesthetic purposes, dramatically improving the elegance and appearance of interior designs. These staples of woodworking projects can be used to cover unsightly components, from electrical wires and internet cables to bulky HVAC ducts.
Another benefit to installing architectural wood panels is that they don’t require complex or frequent maintenance: if installed correctly, they’re very durable and even relatively affordable. They also have the practical advantage of providing some level of thermal and acoustic insulation, making them an attractive way of improving the functionality of a space.
With the use of high-quality hardwood or sequenced veneers, architectural wall panels can make any space look sophisticated and impressive. When installed properly, they can even inject a room with the image of power, authority, and success. This is why this architectural feature is often seen in courtrooms, boardrooms, executive offices, and legislative halls. Framed by styles, muntins, and rails, wall panels bring a richness to many types of furnishings – but if they’re not installed the right way, things can easily go askew.
Related Content: A Guide to Wood Veneers
6 Tips For Installing Wall Paneling
Our tips for installing wall paneling will show you how to do this in a way that looks aesthetically-pleasing, feels comfortable, and fits as precisely as possible. There are several things that you can do to make wall paneling installation more creative, cost-effective, safe, practical, and efficient. Here’s our six-step guide for installing interior architectural wall panels:
Decide on the design
The design of your architectural wall paneling can make or break the final outcome, so spend some time with the designer on this. It’s not only important to have a design that’s best suited to the style of the room and for the wall paneling to complement or seamlessly integrate with your client’s design motif, but you should also get the designer to approve the veneer before you install it. That way, neither of you will have any nasty surprises when the veneer has been installed.
Wood panels come in various designs, including shiplap, board and batten, plank walls, and beadboard. Some designs don’t even look like wood, but are instead fabricated to imitate marble, limestone, granite, or even brick walls. Once the design has been agreed, it’s then important to choose high-quality materials that are cost effective, durable, and aesthetically sound.
Wear safety gear
Before you get started on actually installing the wood panels, always ensure safety protocols are being met. It might go without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway), you can minimize the risk of injury by wearing goggles, a breathing mask, gloves, and a hard hat. These should be standard at the work site, and will help you to avoid things like inhaling wood dust or getting wounded by power tools.
Measure the wall area
When getting started, always ensure that you take precise and accurate measurements of the area you’re paneling. You can then carefully calculate and cut the wall panels you need so that they integrate perfectly in the chosen area.
To get measurements that are as accurate as possible, we suggest remeasuring everything around three times to cover any hiccups that could occur. You should also consider how much distance you want between each panel, as well as how tall and wide you need each panel to be.
It’s also important to determine how straight the walls that you’re paneling are. In order to get the veneer straight, you may need to shim out the wall first.
Think of extras
To really elevate the look and design of architectural paneling, you can consider installing extra mouldings, like dado rails. If you do this, it’s a good idea to choose the same wood panel supplier so that the same level of quality and visual coherence is maintained across all additional features.
Wood veneer matching is another great way to add something extra to your architectural paneling. By mastering this technique, you can arrange the repeat wood grain in a way that creates interesting, decorative combinations and patterns. If maintaining consistency between the wall panels is most important to your client, then sequence matching your veneer panels will also help you to perfectly match each wood panel in terms of grain and colour.
Wall panels are an excellent way of concealing things like pipe work or electricals. Keep this in mind and provide some space allowance for these components so that you have an easier installation process.
For example, take note of any existing power outlets or light sockets that are around the area and incorporate these into the measurements and cuts that you make. This way, the wood panelling will fit seamlessly into the space without blocking anything off or looking uneven.
It’s also important to think about doorways and how they will fit in with the veneer. There may even be a fire door within the veneer, and this needs particular consideration. You may need to create the veneer for the door and send it to a specialist fire door manufacturer who can match it.
Apply finishing touches
Some wall paneling designs may require some finishing touches, such as varnishing or paint. While this will depend on the overall design of the room, applying wood finishing systems to architectural wood panels is a great way to bring out the natural beauty of the wood, as well as to increase its integrity by protecting it from various contaminants.
Want to know more? Read our comprehensive guide to wood veneers.