DIY Network

How to Install a Half Wall Top

A half wall can be used to break up two rooms, but during a remodel, the top might need to be replaced. Learn how to add a new top on a half wall with these easy step-by-step directions.

More in Windows Walls and Doors

install a half wall top
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Rout the Top Board

Rout the edges of the maple board for the half wall to give it a nice finished look. '

Tip: A router is an extremely powerful tool and in the right hands can give you great looking effects. If you have never used one before, you should consider attending a woodworking class. That way, you will learn how to use one correctly and, as always, the correct way is the safe way.

rout edges of top board

Step 2: Measure and Nail Down the Top Board

Once it routed all the way around, line it up on top of the half wall. Measure both sides to make sure you have the top centered. It is a good idea to measure as you go down the length of the board. This will allow you to nail it down and make any slight adjustments needed to keep it straight.

Nail the top in place with 2" finish nails.

measure and nail down top board

Step 3: Install Trim

Install decorative trim where the wall and the new top meet.

install decorative trim

Step 4: Finish the Top Board

Once the trim is on, go back and fill any nail holes with maple wood filler.

Sand the top smooth with a soft sanding block.

If you like the natural look of the wood, you can apply a clear polyurethane sealer, or you can stain it.