Do it yourself: Wall moulding

How to install wall moulding—the DIYer’s guide

If you want to learn how to install wall moulding, we have the instructions for you right here. Follow the steps below to make repairs or to give an older room a whole new look.

How to install wall trim: Prep and planning

Once you have decided what type of wall moulding you want to install, the first step is to figure out how much you will need to purchase. Simply measure all the areas where the trim will be placed and add them up. Be sure to add 15 to 20% extra to allow for mistakes and so that you won’t have to join two pieces in an awkward place.

Also, purchase fasteners. Use trim nails or screws, or you can use construction adhesive. Probably the best choice is to use a combination of fasteners and adhesive. The advantage of glue is that it bonds the entire length of the piece of trim. A few nails will hold it in place while the glue dries, but you will need fewer nails when using glue.

If you don’t want to use any nails or screws at all, hold the trim in place until the glue sets. Be sure to purchase an adhesive with a short “grab” time.

Finally, it is a good idea to prime and apply one coat of paint to the trim before installation. This minimizes the number of coats you will have to apply after the trim is attached. This is a huge time saver.

How to install wall moulding—easy as 123

Here is a list of the tools you will need so you can have them handy when you begin the job:

  • tape measure and pencil
  • mitre saw or another means of making precise cuts
  • utility knife and sandpaper
  • caulking gun and adhesive
  • trim nails and a hammer (or trim screws and a screw gun) if you use fasteners 
  • safety equipment like gloves, safety glasses and a fan for ventilation


To install wall trim:

  1. Measure carefully for each piece and test fit before installing.
  2. Apply a continuous bead of the adhesive to the back of the trim.
  3. Press the trim in place and apply some pressure all the way along the length to ensure a tight bond.
  4. If you need to adjust the position, do so within a few minutes before the glue firmly sets.
  5. Continue installing the wall trim right around the room. If a piece is too short for the length needed, splice two together by cutting each piece at a 45° angle, then joining them.

For a professional finish, follow these steps.

  1. Fill any nail or screw holes with painter’s putty or spackling. 
  2. Once the material is dry, sand the surface smooth. 
  3. Apply latex caulk to the edges of the wall trim you’ve installed and any corners or gaps between pieces. 
  4. Then apply your final coat of paint.

How to put moulding on walls—choosing the best adhesive

It’s essential to use a construction adhesive specifically made for this purpose. Make sure it will bond wood to drywall, plaster, or whatever materials are present. Also, choose one with nearly “instant grab” if you are not using nails or other fasteners. This means the glue will hold the trim in place within seconds of pressing it to the wall.

Need to make a quick repair to a piece of trim that has come loose? No need to get out a lot of tools. Reach for Loctite Extreme Gel. This highly versatile adhesive will seal and repair nearly any surface and dries crystal clear. It bonds quickly but you can reposition the parts for up to 5 minutes. You’ll appreciate the high viscosity no-drip gel formula, which can even fill sizable gaps.