• Home
  • Blog
  • How To Install A Chair Rail? Top Full Guide 2022

How To Install A Chair Rail? Top Full Guide 2022

Many people might not know how to install a chair rail on their wall, so we’ve written up a quick and easy guide. A chair rail is a great way to add character to your rooms and can add depth and texture to your walls.

Follow these steps to add one to your home.

All About Chair Rail Molding

Chair rail molding, specifically dining room chair rail, was originally designed to protect walls from damage by chair backs. This chair rail molding can be used to define dining rooms, living rooms, and entry halls. It can also be used to separate wallpaper or paint between different colors.

This article will help you install chair rail molding. It also includes tips that will make it easier, faster, and less wasteful. There are many styles and wood options for the chair rail, including inexpensive paint-grade pine or large, expensive hardwood profiles. You can also create your own chair rail moulding using standard trim or clear “1 by” material. Special-order cherry molding cost $5 per foot.

You will need a miter saw and a coping saw with extra blades to cut the chair rail. They break easily. Although not essential, a finished nailer will provide faster and better results.

How High Is A Chair Rail?

Paint or wallpaper high enough to cover the edge of the chair rail. The chair rail height is typically 36 inches. The chair rail can be placed anywhere between 30 and 36 inches above the floor, but it is best to install them at least 30 inches. Wallpaper can be installed above or below the floor, from 30 in. to 42 inches.

Mark the chair rail’s bottom at 3 feet from the room’s perimeter. You can measure from the baseboard, ceiling, or floor. Whichever is most consistent.

Read our full post How high is a chair rail: https://www.focaluprightfurniture.com/how-high-is-a-chair-rail/

How To Install A Chair Rail?

Tools and Materials

An electric miter saw is recommended for trimming and molding work. It cuts quickly and saves labor. This is the one trim job where you can use both a manual miter box and a hand saw. The cuts are very simple and require only a few cuts.

Electric nailers are better for trimming because they can drive thin nails in one stroke. You can still do a good job with a hammer, but you won’t be able to nail enough nails.

  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • Block plane
  • Brad nail gun
  • Clamps
  • Coping saw
  • Cordless drill
  • File
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Miter saw
  • Orbital sander
  • Paintbrush
  • Pry bar
  • Putty knife
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Stud finder
  • Utility knife

Required Materials for This Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • 1-1/2-in. brad nails
  • Chair rail
  • Colored wood putty or filler
  • Finish
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wood glue
  • Wood shims

Prep: How Do You Install A Chair Rail?

Step 1: How Much Molding Are You Going To Need?

How Much Molding Are You Going To Need?

Measure the length of your walls and determine the amount of molding required before you buy materials.

The chair rail should be installed one-third of the length of the wall. A 32-inch chair rail is safe for rooms with 8-foot ceilings. Add about one foot to each wall’s length when deciding how much to purchase. It is helpful to purchase chair rail that is long enough to cover an entire wall run without having to splice together two separate pieces of molding.

Step 2: Match Your Room’s Trim

It will make installation easier and look better if the molding matches (and is not thicker than) the trim around the doors and windows. Builders Surplus has a wide range of millwork, no matter how simple or elaborate.

Step 3 – Prep Work

Before installing a chair rail, paint or wallpaper the room. You can then touch it up as needed. Locate the wall studs, and mark them with either masking tape or pencil. You will need a measuring tape and a level to mark the location of the wall studs. This will help you determine the height at which the chair rail should be placed. Split the difference between the guideline on a wall and a consistent measurement from the floor. Otherwise, the chair rail may look crooked.

Or You Can Take A Chalk Line

To determine the height of the wall chair railing, use your bubble level or laser. For all walls to receive chair railings, continue this process. Snap a chalk line to mark the line.

Snap a chalk line by driving a finish nail at the end of the run. Then hang the chalk line hook above the nail. Then, extend the line and snap it.

Getting Ready For Cutting And Fit

Step 4 – Outside And Inside Corners

To cut the molding, you will need to evaluate your space. Start at a window or door casing that requires only one piece. The molding can be cut at 90 degrees on both ends.

Connect two pieces of molding together if a wall is longer than the length of your longest piece. These two pieces should be joined over a wall stud. Measure along the wall to determine the length of the moldings that will overlap at the joint. You should make the cuts at 45 degree angle. A miter joint made from two 45 degree angle is sufficient for outside corners. However, not all corners outside are perfectly right angles so test your corner angle with scrap pieces before you cut into your molding.

Step 5: Apply stain or paint

Painting or staining? Stain the molding before attaching it to the wall. Touch up as needed. If you intend to paint, get primed chair rails and moldings at Builders Surplus. Once the molding is set, paint it.

Installing the chair rail

Step 6 – Installation

Apply wood glue or construction adhesive on the back of the chair rail to install it. Attach the chair rail to the wall by placing the bottom edge on the guideline (step 3). Attach each piece to the wall using two 2-1/2 inch finishing nail holes. Add extra wood glue to the joints of the two ends. Finish the seam by putting two finishing nails in the studs. To achieve a smooth look, use a nail set. Continue to add pieces until the room is complete.

Step 7: Finish and Admire!

After you are certain that all nail holes have been recessed, fill in any gaps or holes at joints or seams with wood filler. Lightly sand filler and joints. A bead of caulk should be applied to the molding’s top and bottom edges, where it meets the wall. Finish any touch-ups and finish the final coat that is necessary. Take a moment to appreciate a job well done.


Above are all of the steps guiding to installing a chair rail. I hope that this blog has helped you to get more out of your molding.