Wainscoting Design and Use in Home Decorating: Chair Rails and Panels Provide Visual Interest

In early house building, homes often suffered from something called “rising damp” – a wicking effect caused by poor drainage or construction upon damp ground. The lower sections of walls required reinforcement, either with wooden panels or tongue-in-groove slats called beadboard. In an effort to make this a decorative effect or camouflage the differences in the lower and upper parts of the wall, a strip of molding capped the panels, which also prevented chairs from damaging the wall.

While the problems of “rising damp” have largely been eliminated, the effect of wainscoting remains a popular design element. Many materials are now used, from oak to tile to laminated particle board. Beadboard is still popular, although nowadays it is rarely made from individual tongue-and-groove slats but more likely a sheet of MDF or plywood impressed with the pattern is used.

Install a Chair Rail

Install a Chair Rail

A piece of decorative molding still caps off the panels, and is often referred to as a “chair rail” in reference to its protective feature.

One source states that early wainscoting was made from wooden wagon siding, a plentiful commodity, which is why it was used so frequently in people’s homes.

Installation Techniques Vary According to Materials

Depending upon several factors, the installation of wainscoting can be simple or complicated. If the intent is simply to provide a decorative visual contrast between the lower section of a wall and the upper section, a homeowner might use a patterned wallpaper above, and a textured paint below, separated by a half-round strip of molding painted in a co-ordinating color. Going a bit farther from simple to more involved, the bottom section could be papered or covered in fabric, such as burlap (for a casual look) or polyester silk moiré for a formal effect. Because this is the part of the wall that receives the most wear, tear and fingerprints, applying a protective finish to the fabric is advised.

patterned wallpaper

patterned wallpaper

If the lower part of the wall will contain joints, patched drywall or plaster, mended cracks, or stains, a more permanent wainscoting might be a better choice. Economical solutions could include recycled raised-panel doors, veneer-finished plywood panels, MDF panels, etc. There are even pre-manufactured kits available which a do-it-yourselfer could install without a lot of difficulty.

Wainscoting heights vary, depending on use, materials, and the age of the structure. Some are only extensions of the upper edge of the baseboard. Others end approximately 1/3 to ½ of the distance from baseboard to ceiling, from 48″ to 54″. Homes built between the late 18th and early 19th century carried the height somewhat higher, which was revived in the late 19th and early 20th century home construction styles.



High-end Treatments Require Fine Craftsmanship

Where money and time are no objects, perhaps in the restoration of an historic structure or a high-end traditional home, installing ceramic or porcelain tile is an option. This is expensive and requires craftsmanship that is not always locally available, but in small sections might be a very successful decorative element. Using the historically accurate tongue and groove board also requires installation by an expert, but will look very handsome when completed.

Arts & Crafts bungalows frequently used quarter-sawn oak paneling that reached to within one or two feet of the ceiling, topped by a wide rail which held plates or paintings. This is called a “plate rail” rather than a “chair rail.” Perhaps the design was meant to mimic the look of a medieval castle?

Buffing Hardwood Floors: Buffing a Hardwood Floor Does Not Require a Professional

The key to obtaining a beautiful finish from the buffing process is in the preparation. Everything in the room must be removed to expose the entire surface of the floor. Carefully inspect every inch of the hardwood floor’s surface and use a hammer to sink any raised nails, and pliers to pull any protruding staples.

Never use a damp rag when preparing a hardwood floor’s surface, as the grain of the wood will slightly rise from the moisture.

After the floor has been thoroughly inspected use a vacuum to remove any remaining dirt or debris. It is wise to also remove any pictures or art hanging on the walls, as the sanding process generates a lot of airborne dust.


Buffing Hardwood Floor – Truong Nguyen



Before sanding always equip safety goggles and ensure the room is properly ventilated. Open any windows to increase airflow into the room to vent some of the airborne dust that will be generated. Prepare a drum sander by mounting 60-grit sandpaper to it and start in one corner of the room.

Walk the drum sander forward ensuring that the sander is moving with the grain of the wood. If the flooring is in poor condition with a great deal of warping it may be necessary to sand diagonal to the grain of the wood. It is of utmost importance to always keep the sander moving and never let it idle in one spot of the floor. Continue this process until the entire surface of the hardwood floor has been covered.

Buffing Hardwood Floors

Buffing Hardwood Floors


Before buffing the hardwood floor it is advisable to wait 30 minutes for all of the airborne particles to settle. The entire room should be thoroughly vacuumed once again so that the surface of the hardwood floor is pristine. Use a floor buffer equipped with a 120-grit buffing screen to buff the hardwood floor by starting in the middle of the room.

The floor buffer must be kept in motion at all times using big sweeping arcs to cover large areas of the hardwood floor in one pass. The buffer may seem hard to control at first – do not fight against the floor buffer but rather direct it towards the next area to be buffed.

After the entire surface of the hardwood floor has been covered, vacuum the floor once more to remove any remaining debris. The buffed hardwood floor is now properly prepped and is ready for finishing if one chooses.


Floor Buffer

Floor Buffer


How to Decorate Sash Windows – Easy Step By Step Instructions

Sash windows are visually appealing, and give a very sophisticated and glamorous look to a home or building. However, building a sash window alone is not enough. Apart from regular cleaning and maintenance, it is necessary to decorate sash windows to bring out its best.

Sash window decoration is not as daunting as it may seem. While it is easy to find professionals to help you accomplish the task of decorating sliding sash windows, you can save a minimum of £240 per window if you decide to do it all on your own. You might find it time-consuming as decorating one sash window can take up to a day and a half. Your patience and a little bit of time, maybe during weekends, will be worth it, when you see the final results.

Here are step by step instructions on how to decorate sash windows. All you need to do is to follow it step by step.

Prepare to Decorate Your Sash Windows

Make sure the area is completely dry. Start work on it only if it is not moist or damp. Cover the floors and furniture before you start. Remove anything that obstructs the windows, which could include locks, curtains, and fixings among others.

Clean your window

Clean your window

Start with Cleaning the Sash Windows and Applying Primer

Clean the sash windows well with a piece of rag. If you are using detergent to clean the area, start work only after it dries up completely. Dust the windows, and remove any grime or loose debris. Rub the frames well downward with a medium or course grit paper. Be careful not to damage the glass while doing so.

The next step is to dust the sashes properly and clean up the area. This not only ensures that you work in a clean environment, but it is also making sure that the primer that you would be applying will bond well to the timber. Priming must be applied only to the exposed timber or else any further priming will be of no use. The role of a primer is to seal any exposed timber.

Remove Any Blemishes on the Windows

Sash windows with blemishes is not aesthetically pleasing, and that does not leave a good impression if any visitor were to notice it. So, once the primer is set, spend as much time as required in removing any stains and blemishes on these windows. Blemishes or minor cracks can be filled with a caulk gun.

Once the filler is completely cured, sand the filler flush to the surface of the timber. You can use an abrasive paper to do so if you’d like.

Paint the windows

Paint the windows

Apply Undercoat on the Windows

Prime any filling so that you can seal it into the window. This will help increase the longevity of the sash windows. Once that is done, apply the first undercoat. Begin with undercoating the sill and lower sash joints in a methodical way as that is the most vulnerable part of any window. Once the undercoat is set, rub back using a light to medium paper and grit. Applying another undercoat is recommended now though not necessary. It will be worth the effort!

Apply Gloss to Decorate Sash Windows

We are almost done. Now you can apply gloss to bring life back into your sash windows. Make sure that the gloss is applied thinly and the brush strokes are even. It must be stroked in the same direction. Gloss with satin finish is a good idea as that can help enhance the overall look and decorate the windows well.

The decorations of your sash windows are now complete. Your sash windows are as good as new, and you are now free to reinstall the curtains and refit the furniture. Periodic maintenance of your sash windows along with the rest of the house or property will go a long way.

Sash Windows London

How do you find a good sash windows London company? Carpentry Academy leverages on all it’s experience to ensure we can bring you a sash window company that will add value to your home, treat your property with respect, and look after you.

London sash windows companies can be found online. There’s probably 150 companies now but who can you trust to give you the best value for money? What’s the possibility sash windowsLondon teams can do the job properly? We intend to show you how to get a great sash windows London quote, and how to vet each and every company. If you can’t do it by the end of this article I will be happy to do the leg work for you, but I absolutely assure you that you will be able to get this done. Let’s get started finding a London sash windows company. Here’s a good video as well for sash windows London:


sash windows

sash windows thanks to

London sash windows teams will offer the following services:

  • Sash window repairs.
  • Sash window draught proofing.
  • Sash window double glazing.
  • Replacement sash windows.

I would highly recommend you to do some research on the appropriate course of action for your property before you go looking for companies, and not only that you need to know what the London local council recommends in terms of sash windows replacement guidelines. For example, if your looking for complete replacement, you will not want to get quotes from companies that are specialising in sash window repair and restoration. This is unlikely to yield a great end product, as well as the price not being competitive. All London sash windows companies rely on specialism and economies of scale for the products they sell. They will purchase the materials at low prices in high quantity. The materials used to repair and draught proof sash windows differ from those used to replace and draught proof.

Normally, sash windows that are repaired will be draught proofed using a nylon brush pile because the boxes have warped over the years, and not being square, a brush pile allows for imperfections and tolerances much better than a rubber seal. With that said, a rubber seal is a much better insulator on sash windows, but there’s a catch – the sash window needs to be square in order that the seals meet each other correctly. So there’s plenty of pitfalls and finding the right London sash windows outfit is the first part of getting the high quality service you want, and expect for the hard earned money spent.

Sash Windows Repair London

Sash windows repair London will constitute making good almost any sash window that requires repair. It is now the standard that sash window sills can be repaired or replaced. Lower and upper sash windows can be replaced making use of the original frame if the sash is beyond useable repair.  Pulleys, and broken panes of glass can be rectified. You can also have your windows decorated, but only some sash windows London companies offer this service.

sash windows repair London

Sash window draught proofing London

Sash windows can have a draught sealing system installed that will reduce the amount of heat lost in your home. Sash windows that benefit the most from this service are the ones with the biggest gaps, that rattle, and allow icy gusts into your home. The seal is installed and you cannot see it, so cause no problems for listed or conservation areas. You can always check with the English heritage and the council about your property rules and sash window draught proofing on the link provided. It’s hands down the best PDF online for information from the government. Coupled with english heritage they put together a brilliant guide that offers excellent understanding of regulations. You can also rely on this sash windows London company for high quality information regarding sash window draught proofing, sash window repairs, and sash window double glazing.

Sash Window Double Glazing London

Sash window double glazing is a great way to improve the comfort of your home and is now widely accepted as the correct way to upgrade your home offering a balance of aesthetics and function. Many sash windows London teams and companies offer this service. Some companies will install double glazing into the original sash windows, whilst others will advocate the use of original frame only, and then manufacture new sash to fit this existing frame. These methods are considerably cheaper than complete sash window replacement.


Sash windows London is a minefield. Make sure you research thoroughly and take note of the links provided, there is a large amount of high quality information that’ll save you time and money, and will reduce the stress of things going wrong on your project.

UPVC Windows London

You must be bored of your old wooden sash windows to find yourself searching for UPVC Windows London on google. Well I understand. The difference in thermal and noise pollution levels are absurd. We know wood looks nice but there comes a time when you just have to say no. I want the very best function, I don’t want to be cold anymore, I don’t want to have to put up with second best. I know it, you know it, and that’s why you are here looking for higher quality windows that are going to lower your energy bills and help improve the amount of noise you have to put up with. Be it barking dog or noisy neighbour, you want your peace and quiet.

Take a look at this video about UPVC then.

UPVC Windows London will bring all of the benefits of modern technology, without a hefty price tag. The installation takes a few days fir a whole home and the disruption is minimal. We pop in and put dust sheets down, we start on all the windows at the same time and then by the end of the day when we tidy up leaving your home home just as we found it, everything will be nice and secure and you don’t have to concern yourself with a thing. A good UPVC windows London company will take complete control. If that’s not enough just see what other people have to say about UPVC energy improvement. That is why you searched for UPVC Windows London, you were looking for a real professional to make a difference for you. We are happy to help you find one too. Just hit the contact us form and we will get right back to you with a number of high quality UPVC installers, all vetted and all guaranteed to produce great work or your money back. That’s a promise too, if there’s a genuine problem, you call us and we handle it. No handling means we failed you and we want you to get your cash back!

We can recommend many UPVC Windows London companies but the one in the link are top notch, have massive user feedback and are known in the industry for pure brilliance and customer service. I suggest if you want new high quality UPVC you get a quote from these guys and it will be plain sailing. There’s more reading about UPVC to be found here. Don’t delay get yourself a brand new comfy home today, even which says this is the most important job for your home!

Team Building Training

Team building training is an excellent way of maximising your productivity, while reducing your costs, getting the most out of each member of staff is a productive, and quality environment that is sure to bring success. The best team building training methods are gaining the trust of your staff, making sure staff all trust each other, and having a harmonious office wherever possible.
You can gain the trust of your staff in a number of key ways which will help team building training.

Firstly you might consider offering a weekend/weekday activity course away. We appreciate midweek courses are a drain on resources and may well be better offered as a short term thing. For a short course the cost will be reduced significantly. We can offer high intensity, team building in a short space of time that will be sure to improve your trust with the staff. Staff that trust and respect their manager are far more likely to do good work, at a higher capacity.

If the staff have an opportunity to bond outside the walls of work they will form longer, deeper relationships. Staff with quality relationships outside of work are far more likely to work and train better together. We do our best to ensure that the staff leave with a sense of camaraderie and importance toward one and other. Our techniques will involve staff catching each other, encouraging staff that each one is important and that they really have their back. These guys recognise the importance of staff development, and so do we. We use a model well known and trusted in the industry. You can take a look at their team building training model here which we do our very best to replicate. Staff development is high on their list of priorities and they are certainly market leaders that we wish to associate ourselves with.

Winter Driving Tips from Focale Training

Our accredited training provider Focale Training has published some winter driving tips for this year. Take a look to see how you can stay safe this winter:

“There are many different hazards when driving in winter from the change in weather to vehicle maintenance. Here are some helpful tips from one of our trainers…

What are the additional hazards?

  • Weather – ice, snow, rain, wind, fog, low sun, floods.
  • Less daylight – travelling in the dark, defective lighting on other vehicles, poor or no lighting on bicycles, pedestrians in dark clothing (adults and school children).
  • Vehicle electrics under much higher load demands and batteries less efficient to cope with this demand in cold weather.
  • Stopping distances increasing anywhere between 2 and ten times further than they would be in perfect dry conditions.”

You can read the full article here.

We’ve partnered with Focale to run Driver Safety Awareness Training for all company vehicles. Take a look to see how your company can make sure you’re adhering to health and safety regulations.

Excellence in customer service

Results from an Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE) customer survey has shown Proskills UK provides an excellent and reliable service. Feedback was taken from the training providers who use Proskills for their apprenticeship certification process.

“The results of the survey […] has helped to establish a gold standard of very good customer service against which other sector areas will be judged.[…]The comments made by training providers also serve to reinforce the very high level of customer service provided by Proskills.”
Customer Service Certification Body Survey for Proskills UK – The Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards

Results in “speed of response to queries”, “attitude of staff” and “quality of support and advice provided”, were all rated as good or excellent by 100% of respondents. This was on average 25% higher than our competitors.

We are delighted with the survey responses which show a high level of customer service throughout all areas. We aim to provide a consistent and robust certification service. We will not only continue to strive in providing these standards but will aim for even greater levels of customer service.

“All training providers and colleges involved in the delivery of apprenticeships are constantly being urged to improve the skills and education delivery to apprentices, and we feel that that this same quality demand should apply to any supporting services such as our certification services.

”The Proskills certification team work hard to deliver a first class service and this has been reinforced by these survey results. In an ever-changing skills environment it is reassuring for our clients that we deliver our service in a confident, supportive way and to a high standard. I am very proud of our certification team and would encourage those needing high quality certification services to give us a try.”

Jonathan Ledger, Managing Director Proskills UK

If you’re interested in using our gold standard certification services, contact us today to find out how.

Bringing the Learning Home

Just what is the downstream impact of learning?

This years’ Bringing the Learning Home international skills conference run by British Council in the South Asian city of Hanoi, Vietnam brought together skills experts from across the global to share best practise and innovation in skills development. It was also a chance for conference delegates to experience the ASEAN Skills Competition that took place in Hanoi’s Convention Centre – an event which saw hundreds of young people competing in all manner of skills challenges to test their craft.

Proskills UK Group has been successful in securing a contract with the Vietnamese building materials employer, Viglacera Corporation, to develop a radical structural skills process that will drive up the effectiveness and efficiency of its staff through competence improvement. Having won such a large international contract, the Proskills UK Group were asked to showcase the contract and set out the project’s ambitions for the next 18 months at the Bringing the Learning Home conference. Presenting jointly with Proskills, Ms Yen Nguyen, Viglacera HR Director set about explaining what the company wanted to get from this work in terms of skills, training and HR, but also from a technical and operational perspective. More productive staff, yes of course; safer working practises – obviously; improved quality assurance – without a doubt; and all leading to increased output and more cash in the corporation’s pocket.

But what of the wider downstream impact? Vietnam is an ASEAN region country and a Socialist Peoples’ Republic. This national governance means that Viglacera is 51% owned by the State, with the other 49% in private hands. This relatively new business partnership with Government affords Viglacera the opportunity to drive the business forward in a way not previously seen in Vietnam. This results in conflicting paradigms – the need to increase commercial activity, to become more profitable, whilst maintaining the socialist principles of full employment and robust finance. There’s no mistaking the hierarchical nature of the employment structures in Vietnam where every employee is duty bound to perform well in their role, but how does our skills project really affect the workers, the wider economy and society at large?

First off, employees will see their working environment improve and become much safer. Not just because the company will make safety improvements, but because employees will be furnished with technical, operational and soft skills and knowledge that they will be able to apply through choice. Next employee enhanced operational skills will increase their capability to do more and produce more in a higher quality way that helps Viglacera stay ahead of its competitors. The theory is that if the company can earn more, waste less, employees will benefit from better pay, fringe benefits and working conditions. This is this first line of downstream impact. More pay and better skilled workers must also have an impact of their families. Anybody able to do more through being skilled has a better chance of facing the challenges of a changing economy and job market, creating a self-sustaining ambition and reality to remain employed. But does downstream impact stop there? Of course not. The local economy will benefit from the higher disposable income generated through skills; education standards will rise and become much more employer focussed; schools will be encouraged to impart knowledge that really prepares children for the world of work; opportunity will find an increasing number of women and hard to reach employee groups, mobilising a greater workforce for the greater good; international migration of skills suddenly becomes a borderless reality with the ASEAN Reference Framework allowing employees to move across state and country.

Then we come to such mundane but far reaching national Government policy changes. I know, I hear you yawn! The Proskills/Viglacera joint activity will inform the development and rollout of Vietnam’s National Qualification Framework in which vocational skills will be benchmarked against years of academic inadequacies, appearing for the first time as a norm rather than exception. On top of this there will be huge benefits for the provision network and all their supply chains…and so on!

So what? Employees who are not academically gifted, or those who just lack practical skills for employment, suddenly become the driving force of the economy. So rather than being just passengers in an economy they have no control over, through vocational skills ordinary hard working people become the future they didn’t know existed.

And the impact can be felt beyond the company that needs the skills; deeper than just the employee gaining new skills. The downstream impact reaches far and wide across families and society in general.

So is downstream impact the new upstream momentum? Potentially yes I suppose it is. But often skills providers, including corporations forget to mark the start point of the journey and then fail to truly understand the distance travelled. If you do not know how far you have travelled, how on earth do you know what the downstream impact is? Is Bringing the Learning Home more a case of Bringing the Impact Home? That’s a question I shall leave you to ponder.


The Bolster Up Conference – Wood and Furniture

Proskills attended the Bolster Up conference in September to launch the Europeancore qualifications profiles for Cabinet Makers and Upholsterers’. 

The project developed two common European competence profiles for upholsterers and cabinet makers who together make up some 50% of skilled workers in the European wood and furniture sector.  Against the background of globalisation and increasingly required flexibility of the workforce, demographic developments and growing demand for skilled workers in the sector as well as for transparency in education and qualifications, it is necessary to make a concrete effort to go beyond the mere comparison of educational systems and the respective recognition of qualifications.

Although the national systems of vocational education vary widely, the work processes and resulting competence requirements are very similar. The profiles were based on an extensive examination of national qualifications and competence requirements in the sector and will also took account of future needs.

The project consortium consisted of social partners, their European umbrella organisations and training providers. Stakeholders were involved from the wood and furniture industry as surrounding partners and as experts in the advisory board. Countries involved: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the UK.