[This is part of Our Molding Makeover series. See all updates here.]
Wall Molding Installation Sequence
- Scribe layout lines on the walls
- Install the lowest horizontal rail
- Install the left and right vertical stiles
- Install top horizontal rail
- Install the inner ogee molding starting from the bottom and work up
Now let me show you how I do it, step by step.
Vertical Stile Reveal 3-3/8″ Wide (ceiling and wall panels)
The vertical stiles will be butted up against each other rather than mitered, and that means that one stile will have to be cut wider than the other.
Here I’ve scribed what will be the vertical stile reveal; that is, how much of the flat-stock will be exposed. That reveal came to 3-3/8″ wide.
I arrived at that dimension by creating several vertical stile models with different widths until the model both accounted for all of the bathroom’s limiting factors and closely resembled the historic building here in Tucson (designed by Henry Trosp!) we are modeling this design after.
Scribing the inner overlap is just one of those things I do to help me visualize the molding buildup before do the actual installing.
It’s a sort of self-checking system. Not fail-proof, but it works most of the time.
The stile one the right will be 3-3/8″ + the flat-stock thickness.
The stile on the left will be exactly 3-3/8″ wide.
Install the Lower Horizontal Rail
The lower part of the wall frame buildup I call the horizontal rail. That’s the best place to start, working from the bottom up.
This horizontal rail should be wide enough to include the 3-3/8″ wide reveal from the step above, and whatever width you need to account for your baseboard buildup.
Mine ended up being 5-1/4″ wide.
Back Wall First
This back wall is the only wall with no complications to work around — no vent fans, no door jambs or water supply lines or light fixtures — so that’s where I start.
Bevel the Ends
The corners in this room are very irregular because of the textured surface, so I cut a bevel on each end to help the board sit tight in the corners.
I’m using more Liquid Nails on the back of these moldings than I normally would to ensure I get good adhesion between the wavy, textured walls and the molding.
Smearing Hold the molding firmly against the wall and move it back and forth. This helps distribute the glue between the molding and the wall.
Then nail the horizontal rail to the wall with brad nails.
Since the rest of the wall panels are built on top of your horizontal rail, it’s important that you take your time and make sure the fit is good.
Install the Vertical Stiles
Testing. One. Two. Testing. I’ve cut the three other pieces that fit on the back wall and am testing the fit.
I test fit my moldings before I glue or nail them to the walls, especially flat-stock like this where the butt joints have to be flush, to find trouble spots before hand.
Installing the Vertical Stiles
Hold the stiles in place and then scribe their location so you know where to smear the glue.
Note About Using a Biscuit Joiner
Using a biscuit joiner on these butt joints would make the installation a bit easier, but is not absolutely necessary. Especially when you don’t own a biscuit joiner!
Above & Below Always glue both contact surfaces when installing any molding buildup.
Install both the left and right vertical stiles using an 18 gauge brad nail gun.
Read this post If you are having problems matching the butt joints together Quick Tip: Making Two Pieces of Flat-Stock Flush with Each Other.
Below Repeat the scribe/glue sequence for the top horizontal rail. Then glue and nail it in place, too.
Install the Inner Ogee Panel Moldings
Cut the first piece of molding with miters at both ends and then put in place, but don’t glue or nail it yet.
Make Test Pieces
Take about a one foot section of your inner panel molding and miter it at each end.
This will be the piece you use to test the fit of your permanent molding.
Above & Below Hold your test piece in place on the left.
Then without moving your permanent piece of molding move the test piece over to the right side.
If it does not fit perfectly, then shave a bit of material from your final piece of molding to shorten and/or adjust the miter angle if it needs it.
When the length is just right you can glue and nail the bottom piece of molding in place.
Then install the rest of the inner panel moldings using the same technique.
Remember, the key to a molding buildup like this is to go slow.
Make sure each piece fits just right. Otherwise your problems will be compounded with each new layer of molding.
Besides, not everything in life should have a production process applied to it. Relax. Slow down and enjoy installing your moldings!
- Our Molding Makeover Updates To See all previous posts in this series.
- Our Molding Makeover For all the big picture stuff about our house
- How to install Moldings This series is for beginners and experienced do it yourself types