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Installing wall frames

ABOVE Install wall frames as independent units on a bare wall, or include them as decorative accents instead of solid wainscoting below chair rails and windowsills for a traditional look.



Preassembling wall frames, and attaching them to bare walls, is a great way to dress up any room. This is not a difficult job, but it does demand careful layout. The best approach is to create a design on graph paper before you cut any wood. This gives you a chance to experiment until you find just what you want. Keep in mind some general rules. Frames that are narrow and high tend to make the wall look shorter and the ceiling look higher. Wider and shorter frames, on the other hand, tend to make the wall look longer and the ceiling look lower.


Step 1. Once you decide on the size of your wall frames, make an assembly jig by screwing together two pieces of plywood. The top piece defines the interior dimensions of the frame and the bottom piece supports the boards while they are being nailed together using a nail gun (inset).


Step 2. Snap level chalk lines around the room, and nail the chair rail boards to the walls. Then cut a scrap block to match the measurement between the bottom of the chair rail and the top of the frames. Slide this block along the chair rail while holding a pencil to the wall to draw a layout line.

Step 3. Using your graph paper layout, mark the location of all the frames on the surface of the wall. Once you have marked all these locations, go back and check the spacing between frames to make sure all of them are consistent.


Step 4. Spread a thin coat of construction adhesive to the back of the frame. Then nail the top of the frame to the wall using the layout block as a support board. A nail gun is the preferred tool for this job.


Step 5. Check one side of the frame for plumb with a torpedo level. Once the frame is plumb, nail it in place. Then move to the other side of the frame; check for plumb; and attach the frame to the wall.

Step 6. Nail the bottom of the frame to the wall. Then fill all the nailholes with wood filler. Let the filler dry, and sand it flush to the surrounding surface using 120-grit sandpaper.





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