Remember how I told you that I was lucky enough to do a guest post over at Perfectly Imperfect? For those of you who didn't get a chance to view it there, here is my tutorial on how to install Chair Rail Moulding. Enjoy!
Recently, I designed and completely re-vamped our Master Bedroom. One of my favorite transformations in this room was the addition of our moulding. In this post, I will share how to install your own. This was my first experience with moulding, and I must admit that it was a lot simpler than I had anticipated. Anyone can do this!
Here is a shot of the chair rail and picture frame moulding (also known as shadow boxes, or one of the many versions of wainscoting) that my sweets and I installed in our Master Bedroom Makeover.
Today I will share how we installed the chair rail.
It was pretty simp.
First, we measured: a) how high we wanted it, and b) how much we needed.
In determining the height we wanted, I did a lot of research and looked at a lot of pictures. I learned that chair rail's initial purpose in history was to prevent walls from being scuffed by chairs (hence the name). In those cases, the height of a person's chair determined the height of the moulding. Nowadays, chair rail is typically installed anywhere from 32"- 40" from the floor. Many go by the thirds rule- measure your ceiling, divide that number in thirds, and install your railing 1/3 of the way up.
On a more modern scale, many are installing their chair rail 2/3 of the way or higher up their walls. I absolutely love this look also and think it is perfect for smaller spaces looking for a feeling of comfort, like a nursery or bathroom.
Once you determine the height, you need to b) measure the length. I simply measured the length of each wall, less the width of doors and windows. You have a few options here. If you really want to keep the project cost as inexpensive as possible, you can simply take that total number of inches and calculate how many pieces of moulding you need by dividing your number of inches by 8, since moulding is typically purchased as 8' long pieces. This will tell you how many pieces to buy. Keep in mind though that you will have to use small pieces of your 8' sections in some places in order to use all of it up, which will result in a lot more labor on the caulking side, and a less seamless and perfect look.
In my opinion, it was so worth the extra $ to purchase a little bit more moulding overall to ensure that we could use as large of pieces as possible on each wall.
Next, head off to your fave hardware/ paint store to pick up the goods. I spent far too long than I needed to in Home Depot and Lowes trying to make my decision on what to buy. The selection for actual "chair rail" was minimal in both stores (2 choices) so I decided to take a walk on the wild side and used something else. I went with a casing (intended for doors) that had a different profile from the traditional chair rail.
Chair rail typically begins with the profile flush against the wall, curves out in a design, and then returns back to the wall at the bottom.
Unlike traditional chair rail, this "chair rail" of ours has an extended profile at the top where it creates a little ledge. The only con I see is that more dusting will be required, but I'm slightly OCD about cleaning anyway so that's not really a problem to me. I love the way that it incorporates a boxy feel (at top) while introducing more classy looking curves at the bottom.
So, we picked up our primed casing from Lowes and went home to get cutting.
First, my sweets and I took the measurement of our first wall (105") determining that we needed to use one of our 8' long pieces (96"), plus approx 9" of another piece. With our Miter Saw, we (okay, he) placed the first piece of moulding on the saw table standing up with the flat end of the chair rail butted up against the back of the saw, and cut the right end of our first piece at a 45 degree angle, keeping the other (left) end uncut since it would meet up against our door frame.
The next piece of moulding was cut at a 45 degree angle also, but on the reverse side of the saw (by rotating the blade over to the opposite side).
|rotating the saw to the other side|
|ready for the opposite 45 degree cut|
To finish this wall, we had one last 45 degree angle cut to make for the inside corner (the same as the first 45 degree cut).
Many prefer to cut all of their pieces before installing, but we liked to work wall at a time so that we could adjust the corner cuts accordingly to create a snug and perfect fit.
Here's how we installed the cut moulding. We applied a thin layer of liquid nails (a very strong wood glue) to the back of the moulding.
While one of us held the moulding up at the desired height and location on the wall, the other held up a level to make sure it was perfect.
Next, we set the nails so that they were all shallower than the moulding itself.
|shown on picture frame moulding below, but the same process was done on the chair rail|
To finish the moulding, we filled all of the nail holes with spackle followed by a light sanding, and then caulked all of the edges and seams. In all honesty, this process took longer than the entire installation (including measuring and cutting) of the moulding. Perhaps the perfectionist in me caused it to take a bit longer than necessary...
Once dry, we finished off all of the moulding with two coats of high gloss white paint (after taping it all off of course).
|picture frame boxes shown, done the same way for the chair rail|
Although I do love the simplicity of chair rail alone, I wanted something a bit more elegant for this space.
Next, I will detail how we installed our picture frame moulding (also known as shadow box moulding or faux wainscoting).
I'm sharing this tutorial with these fabulous parties. Check them out!