Dressing up a ledge

Old 01-11-05, 10:01 AM
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Dressing up a ledge

We recently moved into a "tri-level" style house with a finished basement. Whoever finished the basement put in a ledge where the concrete foundation met ground lever (about 4ft off the floor). The ledge runs the entire length of the wall and is about six inches deep. Right now, it is finished drywall. I think it looks terrible and would like to dress it up a bit. I would like to trim it out with a wood top and a chair rail on the sides, painted to match the rest of the trim. Since cost is an issue, I was wondering if I could use particle board on the top of the ledge and attach the chair rail to the edge of the particle board and the wall. There is approximately 75ft of wall length to cover.

If it is possible to use that combination, do I need to leave much of a gap for expansion? If I have to leave a gap, should I fill it with fill it with painters caulk or hide it with a 1/4 round molding? What should I use to finish the joint between the top and the chair rail?

If particle board is not appropriate, what is the cheapest alternative. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Old 01-11-05, 11:38 AM
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i'm not to keen on particule board.
I call that corn flake board. once the get wet the get muschy.
I would take pin board the deepth you need and then fasten the chair rail to it's edge.
as for gap i say no butt it tite to the wall and used latex caulk to seal it to the wall to hide crack.
If it's a new will there will be settlement on the house and you will have nail pop and crack in the trim after 1 year. then after u could used 1/4 round to finish it off and paint it
hope this helps

Old 02-04-05, 08:15 AM
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same shelf

We have the same situation in our home. I used pine 1x 6, which comes out farther than the existing ledge, leaving a nice lip. I used a small trim on the edge to dress it up. We thought having a small lip looked better than squared off.
Old 02-04-05, 07:42 PM
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here's what I'd do:

Buy a sheet of MDF (medium density fiberboard), rip it on a tablesaw into 7 1/2" x 96" strips. Sand the cut edges with a belt sander. Using a router and 1/8" or 1/4" router bit, round over the edge that will be sticking out. (top edge and bottom edge.) Now it will resemble a window sill.

If you lay these pieces on your ledge, they will stick out 1 1/2". You can then apply an apron (trim the underside with a piece of baseshoe, quarter round, or door stop.) The back side should fit close enough that you could caulk it. You could caulk the underside for that matter. You don't need to worry about leaving an end gap with MDF.

If you don't have a belt sander, or router, it's not a big deal. A palm sander or orbital sander would also work, but would take longer. You will just have to sand out the saw cuts with 60 grit, then 80, then 100, etc. And you could round the corners slightly by hand in the same manner. (just so that the edge is not sharp- it takes paint better if its rounded slightly.)

MDF is about $30 a sheet around here, and it would make 48' of ledge cap, provided you cut it 7 to 8" wide.

If you don't like the idea of it sticking out wider than the ledge currently is, I suppose you also could do something similar, but make the MDF exactly as wide as your ledge, then trim the front edge with a piece of casing that matches whatever profile you have on your doors.

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