How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

By Robert Robillard on Finish Carpentry

How To Install Astragal Wainscoting Molding

I recently installed some astragal molding to a wall in a bathroom to simulate wainscoting.  This is often called faux wainscoting.  This article will discuss how to install astragal wall molding.

How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

Determine Panel Spacing

The first step is to lay out the equal number of panels on the wall. A construction calculator makes easy work of this but I did not have mine with me so I used a regular calculator.

How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

To calculate the wainscoting panel layout I began with an estimate of the panel size.  I used 10″ for my panel width.

The wall was 65 1/2″ long.  In order to figure out the panels exact size you first have to figure out how many panels you will install.

Determine Style and Rail Dimensions

I used 4″ as my style and rail width. The styles are the vertical spaces between panels and the rails are the horizontal paces above and below the panels.

I decided on a 4″ spacing because it matched the styles and rail on the entry door. Note – Every corner has a style which means that you will always have one more style than panels.

Panel Layout:

1. Start with 65 1/2″ and subtract one 4″ style.

2. 65 1/2 wall length minus a 4″ style = 61 1/2″

3. Divide 61 1/2″ by the “desired” panel width [10″] plus your style width [4″] [61 1/2″ divided by 14″ = 4.39 [4 panels]

4. Round that number up or down as necessary to get an even number of panels.

5. Divide the length of the room minus the extra style by the rounded number you came to. [61.50 divided by 4 = 15.37]

6. Subtract 4″ for your style from that number to get your panel sizes.
[15.37 minus 4 = 11.375 or 11 3/8″

How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

7. Start in one corner, mark 4″ for your style, then 11 3/8″ for your panel, 4″ for your style and so on. You should end on a 4″ style at the opposite corner.

8. Once your satisfied that you correctly laid out the panels use a level to plumb the lines. Below I used a laser level to double check my layout.

9. After laying out the panels on the wall I counted all of my horizontal and vertical molding pieces. All of the tops ad bottom should be the same size and all of the sides should be the same.

Cut all Parts At One Time

Cut all of the astragal pieces you need at the same time.
It may be helpful to set up a stop on the miter saw to make these repetitive cuts.  See my post Miter saw cuts for tips on how to do this.

How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

Fasten to Astragal Molding To Wall

Astragal molding is then applied to the wall with adhesive caulk and finish nails. All of the molding miters are glued and pinned together with a brad nailer.

TIP: When using the pneumatic nailer insert your finish nails at opposing angles into the drywall. The opposing nails help pull the molding to the wall and hold better.

Install the molding on your layout lines.

How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

On each panel, when applying the last piece of molding, I make sure not to nail near the miter end of the molding already on the wall until all the parts are fitted.

Doing this gives me some flex to move the moldings slightly and get the miters to fit just right.
How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

The chair rail [top horizontal molding piece] goes on last and was spaced 4″ off the panels. the result should be evenly sized and spaced panels to create a faux wainscoting look.

How To Install Astragal Wall Molding

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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