wainscoting cost for stairway

When we talk of interior design, there are many options that you can choose from to decorate your home. All of which are at different price points. Since there are many accents and furnishings, it gets a bit confusing to choose the right ones, even if you are a home décor expert.

If you opt to install wainscoting by yourself, the budget won’t be that big. But, you’d have to be very sure of what you are doing. The other option is to hire contractors. Now for this option, the budget gets a bit tighter. Mostly because you’d have to pay for the contractors’ labor and they might even throw in some material costs.

You might not like how plain your walls are, and perhaps wallpapers are not the way for you.

So, why don’t you consider wainscoting?

It is one of the quickest and most decorative ideas to make your home interior something to chat with. Wainscoting is a decorative wood panel added to the lower third-part of your walls or staircases.

Here, we will share with you some of the best options concerning wainscoting stairs and how much this upgrade may cost.


If you don’t want to hire a contractor, then you are only left with one option of installation. The option is to take on wainscoting on a DIY project. For this to follow smoothly, you’ll need to consider a few things before you can begin your project.

Calculations would have to be done, to establish the amount of trim and board necessary for the walls. Therefore, you’ll have to calculate the dimensions of the walls, while you still bear in mind the cost of additional supplies.

DIY installation is not a simple project, but it is also not impossible. So, try as much as possible to make no mistakes. Although it may be considered a cheap way of wainscoting stairs, DIY is highly dependent on the type of materials you use.

I have also written a dedicated post on how to add wainscoting to stairs, you can read that post here.

Is it Okay to Hire a Contractor?

It would not be a wrong choice to hire a contractor. Perhaps you don’t have the time or even desire to take on wainscoting by yourself. However, you should understand that the wainscoting cost would go a significant amount higher.

You, therefore, have to sit and evaluate your budget very well. The cost of this kind of installation is roughly $1000. The size of the stairs and your panel selection also play a significant role in determining the total costs.

You can vary different contractor’s demands and see which one suits you best. If you can’t facilitate a large budget, then check for various bargains on the panel materials that you want.

Factors that may Influence Wainscoting Cost

Aside from the size of the stairs or room and the panel selection, some more elements may incur you more costs. Let’s have a look at them;

1. Decorative Panels for your Staircase

Applying decorative panels to your staircase is not too different from doing the same in your room. The cost still depends on if you are going to do it yourself or hire contractors.

Wainscoting stairs by yourself can cost you less money. But with the help of professionals, you are forced to dig your pockets a bit deeper.

2. Complexity

Specific panel designs can be too intricate when compared to others. For customized complexity, wainscoting may require some deep molding and trims.

When this happens, a new level of complexity arises, and so does the cost. Thus, the more involved you want your staircase to be, the higher the wainscoting cost.

3. Finishes

Finishing mostly applies after panel decoration. Therefore, another part of your budget is allocated to painting supplies and color preferences.

If you choose a more hardwood design finishing, be prepared to spend some good cash.

4. Choice of Wood

The type of wood you want is another factor that determines the wainscoting cost.

Hardwood makes excellent and high-quality panels as opposed to other wood choices.

It is, however, very costly to use hardwood panels on your wainscoting design. Hardwood is durable and gives your staircases a more traditional look, but it comes at a high cost.

Advantages of Adding Decorative Panel to your Stairwell

When you decorate the panel to your stairwells, it enhances the aesthetics and covers any scratches that may have been made by moving furniture. Since you’ve already done wainscoting to your stairs, why not compliment it with a beautiful stairwell?

The installation process is the same. Only the panels must be cut to fit into the curvy nature of the stairwells.

Should you hire a Contractor to Add Decorative Panels to your Stairwell?

We advise you to do this, especially if you are a novice. Adding decorative panels to your stairwell is an act that needs experience as well as precision. You don’t want your stairway looking awkward, and the best way to avoid this is by hiring professional labor.

Of course, this project cost would be higher than attempting to do it yourself.

Wainscoting Maintenance

It is worth noting that wainscot is a fairly low-maintenance protective and decorative installation. When wainscot has been primed accordingly and stained or painted, it becomes much easier to clean than plain walls.

This makes it easier for one to wipe clean any stains or even children scribble and drawings. The high-gloss finish of wainscots ensures that they are easy to clean, thereby offering the walls appropriate protection from scuffs as well as other varied issues.

However, those wainscots with many moldings will require much more often dusting than other flat wainscots. But, wainscots are generally easy to clean when one uses wet soft clothing with soap.

Additional Considerations

  • For the best-looking wainscot, you should contrast it with their wall. This means that a white panel should be installed for a bold wall. However, for walls that are cream or white, you should install a bright-colored wainscot or even wood stain.
  • Most people will opt to install wainscoting in those areas that are highly frequented by people and are susceptible to dirt. Thereby ensuring that they are easy to clean. These areas may include children’s rooms, dens, hallways, and also mudrooms.
  • Though a wainscot that is made of solid wood is more expensive, it will surely give you the most classic look.
  • For someone planning to sell their home, installing wainscoting could be a way to make their homes much more appealing and easier to sell.


In summation, adding wainscoting on your staircase can beautify your home. What you would have to consider are the costs that facilitate this activity.

Be selective enough to find the right deal of decorative panels. If you can’t manage the installation process on your own, you should seek professional assistance.

Fequently Asked Questions

What’s the DIY Wainscoting cost?

You may think that you are not paying for any labor when you choose the DIY way. But, there are some hidden DIY wainscoting costs. These costs include your time, tools, and all of the ideas. All of these are costs that you’ll have to work through.

What’s the best wainscoting style?

The best wainscoting style is all dependent on your preference. If its panel design you prefer, then you’ll require flat boards to facilitate this procedure. But if you aspire to have a beveled edge to the same panels, you’ll have to trim them.

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