How to Install Chair Rail Without a Nail Gun

Having the best Nail gun is an inevitable part of molding jobs like installing chair rails. But maybe you don’t have any or do not want to invest in a new one for this project. Then you should know how to install a chair rail without a nail gun.  

Different ways are available to install chair rails without a nail gun. You can use a hammer or screw with drills, or glue depending on the situation.

The most important thing is to perform accurate measurements at every step. Unless you find the exact cutting angle, the output will be devastating. Also, ensure that your miter saw position and implementation are correct at the first attempt. 

How to Install Chair Rail Without a Nail Gun – Step-by-Step Process

Installing a chair rail without fancy tools like a nail gun is tough. But using some simple instruments, you can make it done easily. Let’s take the right steps to install a chair rail without a nail gun.

Essential instruments

  • Hammer (Medium-sized)
  • Finished nails (Adhesive)
  • Safety equipment
  • Measurement tape
  • Wood glue
  • Miter saw (40 or 80 tooth blades)

Approximate cost and time

The cost of installing a chair rail without a nail gun depends on materials and finish type. This job will require an average of $1.29 per linear foot. If you use average-grade materials, the cost will be increased to around $3. The material prices should exist between $195.00 to $225.00 in the case of basic chair rail installation. 

Including labor cost and instrumental rent, the overall installation cost will be $270.00 to $292.50. Finally, the total cost for installing a chair rail without a nail gun is $465.00 to $517.50. The cost will be increased if you use better materials and more labor. Also, it’ll vary from region to region. 

Safety measures 

Safety measures are simple: cover your risky body parts with protective equipment. Despite high concentration, a large number of people face accidents. 

  • Start by covering your fingers with rubber gloves
  • Protect your eyes with goggles 
  • Put on a helmet to protect your skull
  • Last of all, wear a pair of boot for your feet’s safety

How to install chair rail on beadboard

Measure the distance and apply a miter saw

Start by measuring the distance between the bottom of the chair and the top of the beadboard. Then, slice the beadboard using a miter saw at the proper height. 

Find the studs

It’s time to determine the studs in your wall. Do it by sliding a stud finder across the drywall. Once you hear a beep, mark the position using a marker.

Perform angle cut

There are two edges of your breadboard: the tongue side and the groove side. Position your miter saw at the edges at 45-degree angle. Cut down the length of the beadboard. 

Perform miter cuts

Hold the two pieces up together to ensure the miter cuts. For creating a corner seam, hold the pieces together in the upward direction. To get the best output, start from the outside portion.

Secure the chair rail position

Use a hammer to apply finish nails to the back of the corner pieces. The design will be zig-zag. This is how you secure the placement of chair rail more efficiently. Check our guide on how to use finishing nails without a nail gun.

Apply glue

You connect two pieces by applying glue to the back of another piece of beadboard. Use the tongue-and-groove connections to connect it to the corner pieces. 

Last work: use a rubber mallet

Pound up and lower the beadboard planks using a rubber mallet. Then, mark the joining line of the top and bottom of the breadboard with the chair rail. That’s all- you got a nice finished look. 

How to install chair rail on stairs

Doing measurement

Perform vertical tape measurement from the nose of the top and bottom steps. Also, put an identification sign on the wall 32 inches above each step.

Find the studs

Draw a chalk line from the quadrant to the top mark. The line is for.indicating the top of the chair rail molding. Now, run a stud finder along the wall. You need to find and mark each stud that’s passing behind the line.

Attach brad nails

Put the top of the chair rail molding with the line on the wall. Next, use a hammer to insert the 2-inch brad nail through the chair rail. Repeat this process for each stud. 

How to cut chair rail corners

Among various ways, using a miter saw is the best path to cut chair rail corners. Get the reading of the inside reading corner first. Then, divide the result by two to get the correct angle on each cut. 

Activate miter saw

After placing the miter saw on the right angle, set the first piece of rail on the platform. Activate the miter saw with the indifferent setting to cut the other piece. 

Perform cuts

Observe the board face now if it’s longer than the back face. It’s essential for ensuring a 45-degrees angle cut for outer corners. Put 45-degree cuts in each end of the trail in case you have longer pieces. 

How to install polyurethane chair rail

Determine the height

Installing a polyurethane chair rail isn’t that much different from a wooden chair rail. First, you need to identify the desired height of the chair rail. Generally, it’s one-third of the height of a room.

Perform angle cuts

Apply the miter saw to cut 45-degree angles in necessary places. The places, including the door frame and fireplace, must be avoided. 

Attach nails

Mark necessary points at the height you plan to install the chair rail using a marker. Using a hammer, apply the construction adhesive nails to the rear of the initial part of the chair rail. 

Applying glue

Next, put the bottom edge along the marked points and press against the wall. You can use glue to attach chair rail to the wall. Apply sufficient glue on the surface of the angle for better placement.

Sand the filter

After installing all the chair rails, use the wood or general filler to cover the gaps. In its dry condition, use sandpaper for sanding the filler level properly.

Fill the holes

Finally, put a thin bead of caulk along the top and bottom edges of the polyurethane chair rail. It’s approved to use the excess caulk to fill in any left holes instead of the wood filler.

How to cut chair rail inside corners 

Use coping saw

Insert the chair rail onto the miter box so that the front face has to touch the back of the box. Hold the piece in your hand carefully. At a 45-degree angle, apply a coping saw to cut in pieces. After completing one corner, shift the coping saw to the corner. 

Make angle cuts

Determine a part to cut the rail. Position the marked area on the miter box with the plane face of it. Ensure that it’s touching the back of the box. Perform a 45-degree angle cut on the marked position.

Repeat the steps

All you need to do to cut the mating piece is repeat the steps. Then, the piece will be fixed together with the first piece.

How to install chair rail on uneven wall

Measure the height

Get the right molding for your chair rail, depending on your style preference. Next thing to install chair rail on uneven walls is measuring the height of the chair rail. Simultaneously, you should measure and cut any miters for the chair rail. Angle measuring devices may help with obtuse angles. 

Carefully deals with the inner corners

When measuring the length of the chair rail, be careful about the inner corners. The peel and stick chair rail will look good if you paint different colors above and below the chair rail. 

Find the studs

The next move is finding the studs’ position in the wall and marking its position. 

Drive finishing nails

For covering chair rail corners without coping, drive finishing nails through the chair rail. Ensure that they’re traveling inside the studs. As you’re installing chair rail without a nail gun, it may put marks on the wall. Using a nail gun (if possible) is the best thing you should try. 


Installing chair rail is unimaginable without a nail gun. But it is possible if you know how to install chair rail without a nail gun. All you have to add is some extra focus on your work. 

When putting finished nails in the desired place using a hammer, make sure not to damage the wall. The challenging part starts from cutting the 45-degree angle. As it’s the last step before hanging the rail to the wall, be careful about your moves. 

When installing polyurethane chair rails, it’s not exceptional from the wooden one. As an extra part, here you need to use the filler carefully. Otherwise, the chair rail won’t seem so aesthetic. 

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