How to Make Faux Wood Paneling Up a Stairway

Updated February 21, 2017

Install faux wood panelling to add the rustic appearance of wood to your home. Wood panelling is installed right over drywall, fastened with nails along the top edge and glued to the wall with panelling adhesive. Panelling can be installed up a stairway wall, although the bottom edge will have to be cut at the same angle as the stairs so that it will fit in place correctly. You can transfer the angle onto the panelling using a chalk line. Panelling is not difficult to install and can be an attractive wall treatment if you take your time during installation.

Lean the panels on their lengthwise edge against the wall in a room in your home to allow them to acclimate for 24 to 48 hours.

Measure the length of the wall along the stairs from the inside edge of the trim boards, using a tape measure. Determine how many panels you will need. The panels are installed vertically, so you will divide the overall measurement of the wall by 48 inches to determine the number of panels. The remainder will be the width of the last panel on the wall.

Adjust the height of the saw blade in the table saw to cut through the thickness of the panelling. Lay one panel board flat on the surface of the table. Measure and mark the width of the panel with a pencil to the remainder from your calculations in Step 2. Guide the board through the table saw along the measured mark to trim the panel to width.

Measure from the top of the baseboard moulding to the ceiling at the top and bottom of the stairway on the wall where you plan to install the moulding. Lay out the panelling on a floor lengthwise in the same manner as it will be installed on the wall. Measure down from the top edges of each end of the panelling to the measurements you just made. Mark the panelling. Draw a chalk line from one mark to the other mark at the opposite end of the panelling. Snap the line in the centre to transfer the angle of the stairs onto the bottom ends of the panelling.

Place each panel on a work surface and cut along the chalk line to cut the angle of the stairs off from the bottom of each panel, using a jigsaw.

Slide a stud finder along the top edge of the wall and mark the stud locations. Insert tip of the panel adhesive tube into the cutter on the caulk gun and clip the tip off at a 45-degree angle. Puncture the seal in the tip with the built-in puncture tool on the caulk gun. Insert the tube tip end first into the caulk gun.

Apply panel adhesive in a zigzag pattern along the back edges of each piece of panel. Apply vertical beads every 6 to 8 inches along the back side and place each panel against the wall, working your way from the bottom of the stairs to the top. Hammer panel nails through the panelling down approximately 1/2 inch from the top edge every 6 to 8 inches. Lift the panels out from the wall slightly for approximately 10 minutes to allow the adhesive to become tacky.

Press the panels firmly against the wall. Tap over the surface of the panelling with a rubber mallet to make sure the bond is firm.


Trim along the top edge of the moulding with a trim that matches your existing woodwork for added detail.


Wear eye protection when installing faux wood panelling.

Things You'll Need

  • Faux wood panels, 48 by 96 inches
  • Tape measure
  • Table saw
  • Pencil
  • Chalk line
  • Jigsaw
  • Stud finder
  • Panel adhesive
  • Caulk gun
  • Hammer
  • Panelling nails
  • Rubber mallet
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About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.