Have you ever imagined how your walls would look with panel moulding or a chair rail? Without any previous experience, I tackled this, and the result is even better than I imagined, and it’s easier than I thought it would be to make and install. As I mentioned in the previous post, I have partnered with Metrie to acheive this look. I was already choosing their products before and besides having a vast selection of affordable profiles, their MDF is made in Canada, Ontario specifically.
I’ve broken down the moulding applications into three categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced. I would recommend starting from beginner to get comfortable with the process. It takes some practice to wrap your head around angle calculations but once you start it begins to make sense. The chair rail that I used is this one and the panel moulding is this profile.
The staircase was the hardest part to do. Not only are the angles up the stairs but there are a lot of irregular angles on the landings as well. Doing a staircase requires dusting off your geometry skills and it is not impossible, but if you area a beginner, I recommend starting with a typical room instead.
The process that I followed included some instructions I learned from books that I took out from the library, and some was my way of figuring it out. Planning is important to know how much material you’ll need and to consider how it will flow with potentially adding more moulding in the future. These are the books that I borrowed from the library that gave me some guidance: Decorating with Architectural Trimwork by Jay Silber and Trim Transformations. I found that these books were a useful reference and give lots more useful information as well.
To get started, choose your moulding and sketch it out in a little book. It helps with planning, if you have all notes contained in one place. To determine the placement and get a rough idea of how much material is needed, I found that using painter’s tape helped to get a quick visual. From there I was able to roughly figure out the size of the boxes and placement of the chair rail before sketching out and planning the exact sizes.
Calculating how much moulding is required for the paneled boxes requires a lot of planning. As a starting point, I used painter’s tape and placed it on the wall and adjusted as needed. You can also draw this out on paper, which I did afterward once I was ready to finalize the sizes. Even though I thought I had planned everything, little changes came up along the way so having extra material helped.
I am more comfortable using hand tools, but for the panel moulding, I borrowed my friend’s mitre saw to speed up the process. I also found that gluing the frames corners and then carefully installing the frame on the wall made it manageable to work alone. It is very helpful to write the length on the back because it gets confusing once you have multiple pieces cut.
For frame assembly, I originally made jigs and attempted to use a nail gun, but it split the MDF that I was using. Instead, I ended up using construction adhesive to connect the corners, and after checking that the corners were square, I left them to dry and carefully moved them and hammered them to the wall as pictured below.
To install the frames, I used a level and marked a consistent space between the chair rail and the top of the moulding frame. As I’ve mentioned before, I am more comfortable with hand tools and working with a hammer and nail setter allowed me to install the frames alone, which I couldn’t have done with a nail gun. That’s just my preference, but of course, nail guns work and are faster, just watch out for what’s behind the wall to make sure you don’t knick any wires.
The final step is caulking, which makes a huge difference for filling the cracks and giving the moulding a polished look. Of course, this doesn’t hide huge gaps but it does help get a nice finished look. I bought a caulking gun, just a basic one, and have found it to make a huge difference when applying caulking evenly. Cut the tip off with scissors to get a finer tip. On my model, if you use the spout cutter it cuts too big and makes the application sloppy.
I’m just about done, only part of the stairs remain and the whole process has become so much easier and it has completely transformed our home. Now the other walls seem so boring without any trim and after completing the staircase anything else will seem easy in comparison.
For more ideas of how interior finishing can be used, I’ve created an Architectural Elements Pinterest board which has some ideas from designers for inspiration. In addition on Metrie’s Pinterest page they show finished rooms using their Finishing Collections, which is helpful in selecting the right trim style and profile.
The previous post with before photos can be found below: