Well hello there! Im finally getting my project mojo back after having my 3rd child mid march – I’ve been a bit preoccupied and sleep deprived haha! Now that my little gal is approaching 5 months (wahoo) I finally have the energy and motivation to complete all these crazy ideas that have been floating around in my head! Or at least a few of them…slow down Mysha, take a deep breath! First things first, the stairway makeover: How to install molding.
I’ve wanted to add molding to my staircase since we moved in. My initial thought was to install thin molding squares, but after sitting on the idea all this time I came up with a less expensive solution – yay for saving money$$! Click here to see how I installed board and batten in my FRONT ROOM and above my FIREPLACE so doing something similar seemed more cohesive.
My motto is “if your gonna paint it, why buy solid wood”? So I set out to Lowes to get a sheet of MDF. I purchased an 8 x 4 ft sheet and had it cut into 3.5 inch wide planks (8ft long). That leaves plenty of extra material for future projects (aka my basement).
I also purchased 20ft of chair railing, and 20ft of thin molding for the horizontal railing going up the stairs. I chose to mix the fancier chair rail with the strait boards to blend the existing molding in my home.
Before I break it down for ya, a couple notes- 1) For some reason I thought it was a good idea to install the boards before the railing (I blame the pregnancy brain…does that excuse still work)? Anyway I learned from my mistake and wrote you the easier path, trust me! 2) Ignore the blue tape in the photos and pretend it’s chair railing already installed. It obviously still worked out, but would have been WAY easier this way! So here we go, the staircase makeover: How to install molding.
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Installing Chair Railing:
Step 1: Measure
Measure up vertically from the end of each stair tread. The tread is the board or step where you place your feet. Measure up from each tread and make a mark on the wall anywhere from 30″-36″ depending on where you want your chair rail to hang. I installed mine right at 35″. Using a strait edge connect the marks with a pencil so that you have one continuous line going up the stairs. This just makes it super easy to place the chair rail at the designated height. (See blue tape… I’m telling ya, do as I say, not as I do lol!)
Step 2: Joining
If you need to install another piece (like me), measure the distance to the end of the staircase and use a miter saw to cut another piece. I had two joints in mine. One I just butted the 2 ends up with 90 degree cuts, clean and simple.
The other joint transitioned from the staircase into the upstairs hallway. This cut was a bit trickier. I aligned a piece of molding at my 35″ mark and extended it past the joint and traced a line across the top.
3: Glue & Placement
Run a bead of construction adhesive along the back of the molding. Place the molding on the wall, aligning the top of the molding with the 35″ marked line. My molding measured 2.5″ wide so the bottom of my molding was right at 32.5″ high, exactly where I wanted it. (Again ignore the mdf boards… we’ll get there I promise)
Step 4: Nail It
The construction adhesive will help hold the molding in place as you nail it up. I found that the railing was easier to handle and install if I started at the top of the staircase and worked my way down. Even still, If you can grab a helper to hold in place, thats even better! My hubs helped me here! Its best if you can shoot the nails only where the studs are in the wall. Otherwise, the nails won’t hold it tightly to the wall.
DISCLAIMER: I was not actually shooting nails here but I forgot to photograph this step, so I popped up there for a photo…Just so you know I’m not reckless! I would NEVER put my baby in harms way! That being said, this photo is an accurate depiction of my everyday life and DIY projects. She was attached to me during several steps of this staircase transformation, just not while using a power tool!
Now that my chair rail was in place, I secured a thin piece of molding right below it. I used the piece to transition the chair railing to the mdf boards. The mdf was thicker than the railing so this worked perfectly. Once its painted you’ll never notice the extra piece of molding. Another option would be to just use mdf boards for the whole project, chair railing and all!
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Installing Board and Batten:
To figure out the angle of the cuts I needed, I held a piece of mdf up to the wall and marked the angle of the chair rail. (again imagine the blue tape is the chair rail)