Some Molding Love


Posted by Michael, March 21st, 2011

Rebecca and I have always loved molding in a home. Whether it was crown molding, large baseboard molding or bead-board wainscoting, we were in love with it. For me, there was something about the clean lines it presented and the overall framing of the room. It is a great finishing touch that can ultimately transform a room.

We always talked about doing our own molding, but it was something we were scared to do ourselves. How do we do the corners, how do we make the cuts, will I cut my hand off using the power saw — all scary questions that ran through my head. We previously had a friend of the family install some molding in our formal living room.  Our plan was to eventually bring the molding into our foyer area, up the stairs, and the upstairs hallway.

So when I told Rebecca earlier in the week that I had an itch to do a chair rail, she kind of shrugged me off thinking it was just another molding conversation that would soon pass.

But when we woke up Saturday morning, we began passing along ideas to accomplish during the day since we both felt somewhat motivated.  Rebecca mentioned hanging some curtains and I mentioned the chair rail.  We decided to start with the upstairs hallway since it would be the easiest in terms of straight cuts and easy angles.  We made some measurements and a couple minutes later, we were on our way to Lowe’s to pick up some molding.

Here is the view looking down the hallway and into our master bedroom.  The plan here is to put up a chair rail and then eventually do boxes; similar to our living room in the picture above.

Everything is pretty straight so cutting+nailing would be pretty straight forward.  This was so until we got to an angle at the top of our stairs.

We struggled with this for maybe a half hour or so.  We could not figure out how to make this cut.  We tried several different cuts, holding them up and trying to determine how to do this.  We went back and forth a bit before I went downstairs to draw the angle on paper and try to calculate some numbers.  And just when I was about to lose my patience, Rebecca figured it out.  We made two cuts with some scrap, one angle at 20 degrees and the other at 25 degrees.  We held the pieces together and sure enough, we were golden.

A few more finishing cuts later, and we were finished.

So what did I learn with this experience?

  • We waited just about a year to do this project because we were scared.  We were scared for absolutely no reason.
  • Invest in a nail gun with a compressor.  We used an electric nail gun and half our nails barely went completely in.  We had to hammer a lot of them flat with the surface.
  • Take your time.  Measure twice, cut once.  Or if you have scrap pieces, make some cuts as an example and work from there.
  • The molding area at Lowe’s isn’t scary nor overwhelming.

I categorized this post as inexpensive design because this was an incredibly cheap project to accomplish — especially compared to what we would have paid a contractor.   All said and done, 40 linear feet of molding and some tubes of caulk ran us just under $100.  An absolute steal.

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6 Responses to “Some Molding Love”

  1. It looks great! Nice job!

    We have chair rail in our dining room and I’ve been wanting to add boxes below it. But maybe we’ll warm up with some crown molding first, haha.

  2. Jessie says:

    I love a good chair rail! This looks awesome, you guys did a great job, even with a confounding corner.

  3. Looks great! I love risks.

  4. LD says:

    Oh what you two accomplish on a Saturday… wonderful.
    Blog formatting wise, I love the bullet points at the end – good takeaways! 🙂

  5. Marissa says:

    Air 5! It love that it totally transformed the look of the hallway and landing 🙂

  6. michaela says:

    What a great idea! Your house is so purty (: The chair rail adds so much charm!

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