How to Install Chair Rail

Chair rail can help provide a more “finished” look to the various rooms in your home and add a sense of luxury and style. You are completely capable of installing this molding yourself—it’s just a matter of knowing what you’re doing.

Here is some information about how to install chair rail molding in Seattle.

Get your measurements

Before you begin any of the installation processes, you need to plan out exactly where your chair rail will be and the measurements you need to take into account.

To determine the height at which the chair rail will rest, measure the height of the ceiling in the room and divide it by three. Contractors typically install chair rail a third of the way up from the floor, which is between 32” and 36” for a standard 8’ ceiling. Another option is to push a chair up against the wall and mark the spot at which it hits the wall. Once you have your height determined, take your tape measure and level and mark a level line across the entire area at which you will install the molding.

Cut the molding

Once you’ve purchased the molding you’ll use, you should mark and cut the molding for the dimensions on your wall. The best tool to use here is a miter saw to give you a perfect square cut and to help you make 45-degree angled cuts on the corners. If the wall is longer than a single piece of molding, you’ll need to miter two pieces together. Ideally, the seams should fall over wall studs.

Attach the molding

Once you’ve got the molding cut, install it beginning with an inside corner, aligning the bottom of the molding with the level line you marked. Use wood glue to secure the piece to the wall and add extra stability by using a pneumatic nailer and 2.5” finishing nails. You should always insert nails into the higher parts of the molding to prevent it from splitting.

Add caulk

This step isn’t always completely necessary, but depending on how straight your walls are and how well the molding goes onto the wall, it might be helpful for you to add caulk along the edges of the molding. This will help it adhere to the wall and also cover up any gaps that might exist between the molding and the wall. Make sure you select a clear caulk that you can paint over.

Finish and paint

Once you’ve completely installed the chair rail, use a nail set to get the nail heads below the surface of the molding, then cover those holes with wood filler. Lightly sand the molding to smooth out all the joints and putty, then apply your paint of choice to give it a clean, finished appearance.

For more information about how to install chair rail and other types of molding in Seattle, we encourage you to contact the team at Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. today and we will be happy to assist you.

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