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DIY Tips on Installing a Chair Rail

DIY Tips on Installing a Chair Rail

It only takes a few simple tools for you to install a chair rail. You do not need a lot of help, and when you are through you will have increased the beauty of the room, provided a way to protect the painted surface of your wall from scratches, and created a distinctive definition to the room.

It is frustrating to paint a room and get the décor looking perfect only to have a chair back scuff the paint, or worse damage the drywall surface. A simple chair rail can stop that from happening and make your room look more elegant at the same time.

First you will choose the molding that you want to use as the chair rail. You can buy molding that is narrow, or wide, some of it is pre-painted, some of it is merely primed and ready for paint, and some of it is natural and ready to stain and varnish. You need the back of the molding to be flat so that you can lie it flat against the surface of the wall.

You can use painters tape or a chalk line to visually draw a line where you want your chair rail to be positioned. Most chair rails are positioned at 30” or 36” but you should measure the height of your chairs to help you determine where to place your railing on the walls. You should consider whether or not you are going to place the chair rail beneath the trim of your windows, or if you will create a break in the rail and then pick it up on the other side of the window.

To make the molding fit properly in corners you will need to make miter cuts. You can find an angle measuring device in your local hardware store to help you find the right angle to cut your molding at. To properly measure for an angle you measure the angle and divide that number in two.

You will want to measure your lengths closely and cut your miters so that you can finish the molding before you hang the molding. It will be much easier to paint or varnish your molding while it is not attached to the wall. You also want to paint the wall the molding is going on before you start your installation. Pay special attention to any exposed ends while you are painting.

You should mark where the studs are in your wall before you begin to hang the molding in place so you will know where to place the fasteners. It is best to use paneling nails, or finish nails to put this up with so that you can countersink the nails and hide their existence. 

You might need to adjust your molding a little as you go down the wall because walls are not always level, or square, and you want your chair rail to be level.

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