Installing Lincrusta Trim

15 Apr

I’m bad at so many things. Taking informative, step-by-step photos and posting replicable instructions about home improvement projects is one of my many weaknesses.

One of my favorite bloggers, Daniel at Manhattan-Nest, is so good at tutorials. So perhaps one day he’ll put up some Lincrusta molding and write a much better tutorial about how he installed it. In the meantime, here’s my feeble offering.

Lincrusta molding/trim/chair rail comes in rolls. (Hint number one: if you’ve got ten rolls of it because of a delivery error and you store those ten rolls in your basement for eight years, they will dry out and become unusable. And in the meantime, Lincrusta may design a better-suited product. It happens.)

Roll of Lincrusta trim

Roll of Lincrusta trim

In order to apply the trim to a wall, you need to get the curl to relax and the product to soften, so you are advised to soak it in hot water for about twenty minutes.

Where I only needed a short amount (between doors and such), I cut off the needed amount (NB: the lincrusta expands when wet, so cut off a bit less than you really need — maybe 1/4 inch less). For really loooong sections (the stairs), I cut off about 3 foot sections. I used a razor blade and a rotary cutting mat to do the cutting.

Then I put three or four sections in the tub at a time and let them soak in warm water.

Lincrusta pieces soaking in tub.

Lincrusta pieces soaking in tub.

If the sections were longer than 3 feet or so, they would stick out of the tub and I’d have to move them around so they were equally wet.

Then I put them on the pasting station (i.e. bathroom sink) and applied “vinyl over vinyl” adhesive with a paint brush. Really goop it up. You’ll have to use your imagination on that part, as I forgot to take a picture.

Then you put it on the wall. I put it over the wallpaper and over the “grasscloth” (textured vinyl wall covering). Press it down and use a wallpaper roller to really get it to stick. Again, please use imagination.

One thing that happened was that the Lincrusta cracked in places. Like this:

Cracked bit of Lincrusta.

Cracked bit of Lincrusta.

If you press it together along the crack and then caulk it later, it’s barely noticeable. And I personally have very low standards, so it’s fine with me.

Here it is in the process of going up one of the stairwells:


To manage the curves and the dips and the general rise of the wall, I used short sections (a foot or so) when I needed to change the angle. This worked fine for me. There were gaps between some of the joints (although I did angled cuts where possible). After it has been up for about a day, you’re supposed to caulk the gaps, using acrylic caulk. Did that. Then you’re supposed to prime it with an acrylic primer OR paint with oil paint (now not sold in Massachusetts). So I primed it and painted it thinking that would cover the gaps up pretty well.

This happened with varying levels of success. There’s one part right by the front door where it looks really quite crappy, but again, it’s done, and that’s what matters most to me.


Sort of choppy Lincrusta install. But the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Sort of choppy Lincrusta install. But the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Primed Lincrusta.

Primed Lincrusta.



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