Final Chair Rail Selection

By Todd Fratzel on Finish Carpentry, Interior Decorating


We’ve finally settled on a chair rail for the baby’s nursery. In a previous post I shared a similar chair rail design that we liked. All I did was to make the proportions a little smaller and I changed the lowest moulding to a piece of cove instead of the miny bed moulding that sample used.

I’m going to be using finger jointed, primed pine for the main rail pieces (top and back). The bed moulding and cove moulding are regular pine mouldings that I picked up at the local lumber yard. I’m using a 9/16″ x 1-5/8″ bed moulding and a 5/8″ cove moulding. Most lumber yards have a pretty extensive selection of pine mouldings in stock.

I plan on installing the back piece of 1×2-1/2 to the wall first. I’ll space it approximately 32 inches above the floor. Typical chair rails are spaced from 32″ to 36″ off the floor based on personal preference. Once the back rail is installed I’ll attach the top 1×2 rail. It will be easier to install the bed moulding after the top rail is in place. Then I’ll nail and glue the bed moulding below the top rail as shown in the sketch. The final step will be installing the lower cove moulding. Again I’ll nail and glue it in place.

The last steps will be filling the nail holes and caulking between the wall and the new chair rail. A coat of primer and a couple of coats of semi-gloss latex paint and the project will be complete.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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