How to End Wainscoting at a Bathroom Sink

Robert Sylvus

A bathroom's wainscoting protects the wall's bottom portion from moisture and damage. Made of individual slats and a top and bottom trim piece, wainscoting usually extends from the floor up the wall 36 to 48 inches and butts against the bathroom counter top or sink on one side and the door or shower on the other.

A bathroom's wainscoting covers the wall next to the sink's cabinet.

The wainscoting installer must make careful cuts to keep the gap around the sink's counter top small. Tile and bathroom caulking fills space where the wainscoting ends at the bathroom sink.

  1. Install all of the slats in the bathroom's wainscoting except for the last two pieces next to the sink area. Leave off the bottom and top trim pieces, sometimes called baseboard and chair rail.

  2. Connect two wainscoting slats together. One slat's tongue fills the next slat's groove. Set the pair of slats on the bathroom floor with the tongue and grooves facing the same direction as the tongue and grooves on the wall.

  3. Measure from the installed wainscoting to the bathroom cabinet or sink with a tape measure. Transfer the measurement to the pair of slats laying on the floor and place a pencil mark at the appropriate spot.

  4. Draw a straight line along the pair of slats on the floor with the pencil, using a framing square as a straightedge and the pencil mark as a placement guide.

  5. Cut the slat along the pencil line with a circular saw.

  6. Measure the cabinet counter top's height off the bathroom floor and the amount it sticks out from the side of the cabinet. Transfer these measurements to the cut wainscoting slat. Draw the counter top's shape onto the slat, using the transferred measurements as a placement guide and the framing square as a straightedge.

  7. Cut out the notch in the slat for the counter top with a jig saw. Check the slat's fit against the cabinet and sink. Adjust the slat's cut, as needed, with the jig saw.

  8. Apply an S-shaped bead of carpenter's adhesive to the wall for the two remaining slats.

  9. Press the missing slats into the carpenter's glue.

  10. Nail the wainscoting's caps onto the slats with 2-inch finish hails and a hammer. Place the baseboard nails within 1 inch of the floor. Drive the chair rail's nails below its decorative trim.

  11. Fill the gap between the wainscoting and the bathroom cabinet with tile and bathroom caulking. Wipe the extra caulking from the wainscoting with a damp rag.