How To Install Chair Rail On Top Of Wainscoting – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you looking to add some elegance and charm to your home’s interior?

Installing chair rail on top of wainscoting is a great way to achieve a classic and sophisticated look. But where do you start?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of installing chair rail on top of wainscoting.

From measuring and cutting to fitting and nailing, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get the job done right.

So, let’s get started!

How To Install Chair Rail On Top Of Wainscoting

Step 1: Measure and Cut Chair Rail

The first step in installing chair rail on top of wainscoting is to measure and cut the chair rail to the appropriate size. Make sure to fit it against the top of the tongue and groove panels and nail it directly into the wall studs above the wainscoting. You may need to bevel, miter, or make scarf joints as required using the techniques demonstrated earlier.

Step 2: Trim Planks to Height

If you need to trim the planks to height, measure from the baseboard upward, accounting for the notch in both the baseboard and chair rail. If the baseboard hasn’t been installed yet, measure upward from the floor, leaving a 1/8-inch gap at the bottom for expansion.

Step 3: Dry-Fit First Plank in Corner

Dry-fit the first plank in the corner, using a level on the outside edge to ensure it fits squarely. If the corner isn’t plumb, as many are not, use a scribing tool to scribe the plank and trim on the inside. The first plank will need to be nailed and any other plank covering a stud should be nailed. You can use construction adhesive alone on the rest of the planks. Add each plank by locking the groove onto the tongue of the adjacent plank. Leave a 1/8-inch gap at the corners for expansion.

Step 4: Add Trim

Add the trim using the same basic method as the paneling. Apply construction adhesive to the back of the piece of trim and fit it to the wall, overlapping the top of the paneling. Use a nail gun or hammer and nail set to attach the chair-rail molding over top of the wainscoting.

Materials Needed

To install chair rail on top of wainscoting, you will need the following materials:

– Chair rail molding

– Wainscoting panels

– Baseboard molding

– Construction adhesive

– Nails or nail gun

– Scribing tool

– Level

– Measuring tape

– Saw or miter saw

Make sure to choose materials that match the style and color scheme of your room. You may also want to consider purchasing pre-made molding panels to save time and effort.

Before purchasing materials, measure the length and height of the wall where you plan to install the wainscoting and chair rail. This will help you determine how much material you need to purchase.

Measuring And Marking The Wall

Before you begin installing the chair rail on top of the wainscoting, you need to measure and mark the wall. Start by determining the height of the chair rail. The typical height for chair rail is about one-third of the height of the wall or 32 to 36 inches up from the floor. However, you can adjust this based on your preference and the overall design of the room.

Once you have determined the height of the chair rail, use a level to mark a level line around the room at that height. This line will serve as a guide for installing the chair rail. Use a pencil to mark the line lightly so that it can be easily erased later.

Next, measure and mark the location of each stud along the line where you will be installing the chair rail. This will ensure that the chair rail is securely attached to the wall. Use a stud finder to locate each stud and mark their location with a pencil.

If there are any electrical outlets or other features along the wall, measure and mark their location as well. This will help you plan for and around these features when installing the chair rail.

Finally, use a measuring tape to measure and mark the length of each section of chair rail that you will need to install. Make sure to account for any angles or corners in the wall and add a little extra length to each piece to allow for cutting and fitting.

By measuring and marking the wall before you begin installing the chair rail, you can ensure that your installation is precise and accurate, resulting in a professional-looking finish.

Cutting The Chair Rail

When cutting the chair rail, it is important to measure the length needed and mark it on the rail. Use a saw to make the cut, making sure to follow any angles or curves needed for the installation. If you are using multiple pieces of chair rail, be sure to make scarf joints as necessary to create a seamless look.

To make a scarf joint, cut one end of the first piece of chair rail at a 45-degree angle. Cut the second piece at a complementary angle so that the two pieces fit together snugly. Apply wood glue to both pieces and press them together, clamping them until the glue dries.

If you need to make a beveled or mitered cut, use a saw to cut the chair rail at the appropriate angle. A beveled cut is made at an angle across the width of the board, while a mitered cut is made at an angle across the thickness of the board. Be sure to measure accurately and use caution when making these cuts to ensure a precise fit.

Once you have cut the chair rail to size and shape, fit it against the top of the tongue and groove panels and nail it directly into the wall studs above the wainscoting. This will provide additional support for the chair rail and ensure that it stays securely in place. With these steps completed, your chair rail installation on top of wainscoting should be complete and ready for use.

Fitting The Chair Rail On Top Of The Wainscoting

Fitting the chair rail on top of the wainscoting is a crucial step in the installation process. It requires precision and accuracy to ensure a professional and finished appearance.

Step 1: Cut Chair Rail to Length

Cut the chair rail according to the length measurement of each wall. For inside corners, cut through the face at a 45-degree angle so the edge of the cut is visible from the front. For outside corners, use the same 45-degree angle but in reverse, so the edge of the cut is hidden from the front. Dry-fit your cut pieces to ensure the cuts are accurate.

Step 2: Apply Construction Adhesive

Apply construction adhesive to the back of the chair rail molding. Make sure to apply enough adhesive to create a strong bond between the molding and the wall.

Step 3: Secure Chair Rail Molding

Secure the chair rail molding onto the top of the wainscoting by pressing it firmly against the wall. Use finishing nails at each stud for a secure fit and countersink the nails as you did with the baseboard. Make sure to space out the nails evenly along the length of the molding.

Step 4: Fill Nail Holes

Provide a professional, finished appearance by filling in all nail holes with wood putty and lightly sanding each when dry. Touch up with paint, if necessary. Paintable caulk can be used along the edge of the chair rail where it meets the wall.

By following these steps, you can successfully fit your chair rail on top of wainscoting and achieve a beautiful and polished look in your home.

Sanding And Finishing Touches

Step 5: Sanding

After all the planks and trim have been installed, it’s time to sand any rough edges or imperfections. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots or bumps. Be sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damaging the surface.

Step 6: Filling Nail Holes

Next, use wood filler to fill in any nail holes or gaps between the planks and trim. Allow the filler to dry completely before sanding it down with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will create a smooth surface for painting or staining.

Step 7: Priming and Painting

Before painting or staining, apply a coat of primer to the chair rail and wainscoting. This will help ensure an even finish and prevent any bleeding through of the paint or stain. Once the primer has dried, apply your desired paint or stain according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to use a high-quality brush or roller for a professional-looking finish.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

After the paint or stain has dried, it’s time for the finishing touches. Use a small brush to touch up any missed spots or areas where the paint or stain may have bled through. Finally, add any decorative elements such as picture frames or artwork to complete the look of your newly installed chair rail on top of wainscoting.