How to Install a Chair Rail to Drywall With Metal Studs

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Chair rail molding is typically placed horizontally on the wall at the approximate height of a chair back and is an effective way to add visual interest to your walls. You can install chair rail molding in a home with drywall and metal studs in a similar manner to traditional dimensional lumber framed homes. The most important consideration is that you must still fasten the molding to the studs for it to be secured to the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Chair Rail
  • Miter saw
  • Construction adhesive
  • Caulk gun
  • Box, self-tapping metal drywall screws
  • Screw gun
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Wood finish
  • Paintbrush
  • Measure up 32 inches from the floor along both ends of each wall of the room where you plan to install chair rail. Mark the measurements lightly onto the wall with a pencil.

  • Run a stud finder along each wall at the 32-inch height and mark each stud location lightly onto the wall with a pencil.

  • Measure the length of each wall. Measure, mark and cut the chair rail molding sections to length using a miter saw. Cut the ends that meet in the corners at a 45-degree angle. The long tip should be on the back side of the molding on each mitered cut so that the two sections of molding joint together to form a 90-degree angle in each corner.

  • Apply a bead of construction adhesive to the back of each molding section and to the mitered cuts. Align the bottom edge of the molding at the 32-inch marks on each wall. Press the molding into place against the wall. The construction adhesive should hold the molding long enough for you to drive screws into the studs.

  • Drive a screw through the molding at each stud location using a screw gun and self tapping metal drywall screws to fasten the molding to each wall. Drive the screws approximately 1/16 inch below the surface of the molding.

  • Fill the screw holes with wood filler and a putty knife. Allow the filler to dry at least 24 hours.

  • Sand the filler with fine-grit sandpaper until it is flush with the surface of the molding.

  • Apply a wood finish to the chair rail using a paintbrush. Allow at least 72 hours before anything is placed against the chair rail.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint the chair rail a contrasting color to the wall to make it stand out within the design of the room.
  • Wear eye protection when operating power tools.

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