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Chair railing. A practical molding application that has transformed into a decorative statement. This video walks through a full room installation with many little problems areas.

Written Instructions

Material & Tools Needed

Hammer / Finish Nails / Nail Set / Brad Gun
Miter Saw / Miter Box
Adhesive / Caulking Gun
Tape Measure / Pencil
Caulking (paintable latex)
Sandpaper- Medium Grit
Utility Knife
Paint / Paint Brush


Most chair rails are installed approximately one-third the distance of the ceiling height. For a standard room with 8 foot ceilings this would be 32 inches from the floor. This is by no means a hard fast rule. Chair rail installed lower can create the illusion of a larger room. Use masking tape and create a line around your room. Experiment with different heights to find the one that works best for your space.

Getting Started

Get started by removing your old molding using a chisel and hammer. Scrape off any extra caulking with your chisel. Make sure the surface where you will be applying the molding is smooth and clean.


Paint your molding and allow them it dry before you start installation. Touch ups can be done once your installation is complete.

Measuring & Cutting

You will always want to measure the length of the wall that the molding will be touching. Then make your inside or outside corner cuts from that measurement.

When joining 2 sections together in a straight run, use a scarf joint instead of a butt joint. A scarf joint is cutting the ends at a overlapping 45 degree angle. This creates a stronger joint and allows for a little movement for alignment.

Securing The Casing to the Wall

Before mounting the molding to the wall, apply a 1/4" bead of polyurethane adhesive to the back side of the molding where it will contact the wall. Also use adhesive when joining 2 pieces together. You can use any adhesive that is rated for use with polyurethane (check the back of the label) -- we have had great success using Red Devil Construction Adhesive, Loctite's Powergrab and PL Premium Polyurethane Adhesive, all of which work well and are readily available at most home improvement stores.

Use small finishing nails or a powered brad gun to secure the molding while the adhesive sets. Where 2 pieces come together, leave about 18" of the molding loose so you can align the next piece with it. Once they are aligned, secure the molding with the brad nails. Make sure to use a nail punch to sink your finish nails below the surface. If you are using a powered brad gun, adjust the power so that the gun drives the brads just below the molding surface.

Now that you have all of your molding installed, spend a little time with some latex painter's caulk and fill in all those little seams and nail holes. Run a bead of caulk around the entire job to make it look nice and neat. Latex painter's caulk cleans up with water and is very easy to smooth out with your finger. Touch up the paint as needed.

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