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installing stone veneer

How to Install Seamless Paneling with Perfect Corners

How to Install Seamless Paneling with Perfect Corners

On our website, we cover extensively how to miter corners to make our wall paneling align seamlessly. The only problem is that not every home has perfect, 90 degree corners. Sometimes, the angles are off - and in that case there are a few options to consider.

Shower wall paneling installed on Tiny House Nation, mitered to make the corners flush.
In this tiny house, mitering was enough to make the corners flush.

Faux panels perfectly mimic the look and texture of real stone, brick and wood - but sometimes a little carpentry magic is still required to get the perfect look. Corners, especially, pose an issue to some installers because not all houses are as crisp and perfectly-aligned as you'd like them to be.

In theory, a corner should be 90 degrees - and in order to connect two panels seamlessly, they need to be 'mitered.' This involves cutting a 45 degree slice out of the edges, so when you fold them together the texture on the panel connects consistently at a right angle.

This can be done with a miter saw, which takes all the guesswork out of the cutting.

Before and after photo of a shower stall remodeled with faux stone wall panels, using a coping technique to create seamless corners.
In this shower stall, coping was a good solution to creating a seamless corner despite the panels not having matching patterns.

But the problem with standard mitering is that it assumes the corners you're trying to connect are exactly ninety degrees. In older homes especially, not all corners have remained at that angle. The home shifting, or poor construction in the first place, can throw the corner off a couple of degrees.

As a result, standard mitering will with not fit seamlessly, or leave an ugly gap between the two panels.

There are a few solutions to this, if it presents a problem with your installation.

The first, and simplest, is the caulk the gap. If the corner you're working with is slightly smaller than 90 degrees, there may be a gap between the panels that you can fill with colored caulk. We sell caulk as one of our accessories, to cover up screws and damage to the panels. This is a quick solution that can, in cases in which the gap is very small, provide an easy solution.

Fieldstone style bathroom wall panels with corners covered with mortar.
Another option, used in this bathroom, was to cover over the joins with mortar.

If caulking is not an option - which might be the case if the corner is too small, rather than too large, you might have to do something called 'coping.' Coping is only ever done for internal angles, not external ones.

Coping involves first cutting one of the panels you want to attach with a regular miter saw, at a 45 degree angle. Then you attach that to the wall, flush with the edge. Next, you cut the same 45 degree angle into the other panel - but don't attach it yet (not that it would fit flush, anyway.)

What you have to do next is take a narrow-bladed coping saw and start 'coping' the edge of the panel you just cut. This involves cutting a reverse 45 degree slice out of the panel - almost like hollowing it out inside. Once you're done, the hollowed-out edge should fit flush with the original.

It's not necessarily the easiest carpentry trick to master - this is why mitering is the much more popular option. However, if you're looking for a truly seamless join, it's certainly a technique to consider.

Pre-finished corner pieces allow for an easy installation of panels on walls with awkward corners.
Fauxpanels.com also offers pre-finished corner pieces, which are a great option for installing on walls with awkward corners.

And one other thing to keep in mind is that none of these techniques would be an option if you were trying to install real stone or brick. The panels might look indistinguishable from the real thing, but they're made from high density polyurethane foam, which can be cut and shaped with a regular wood saw. That's a much easier proposition than cutting stone or brick - something that's beyond the scope of most small-scale installers.

To make your project really easy, FauxPanels.com also offers pre-finished corners to blend your panels beautifully - no cutting or caulking required!

In fact, next time you're in a fancy hotel or restaurant and see stacked stone or brick, check the corners. If they've invested in the 'real thing' it's common for the contractors to literally 'cut corners' by simply bodging the two edges together; making for an ugly join that reveals how the 'real' stock or brick is just a veneer.

It's another reason why 'going faux' isn't just a money saver - it can also look better than the real thing.