Email this article; Archives
Installing Door, Window and Baseboard Trim
Decorative moldings can dress up a room. If you plan to paint your trim, you can purchase finger-jointed molding (figure A), which is less expensive than seamless molding. You'll need seamless molding if you plan to stain it.
4-, 6- and 8-penny finish nails
Drill, with drill bits
Crown corner molding
Wooden shims of various sizes
Window and Door Trim
Measure around the windows and door casings to determine how much molding you need to buy. To save time and effort, paint or stain the molding before installation. If your molding isn't already primed, apply a coat of latex primer before painting.
If your room is completely unfinished, start your project with the doors and windows. It's easier to fit chair rails and base moldings against the window and door moldings than to guess how much room the window and door moldings will take up.
Note: When installing trim on a door casing (the trim that covers the gap between the doorjamb and the wall), set the molding back 1/4" to create a "reveal" that shows the edge of the casing.
- Measure and cut the molding for the sides of the doors. Miter the top edges at a 45-degree angle.
- Attach the molding with 4-penny nails on inside edges and 6-penny nails on the outside.
- Measure the distance between the top edges of the two sides, and cut the top piece to the exact size.
- Fit the top piece correctly, and nail it in place.
- Secure the miter joints with 4-penny nails through the top or sides (figure B).
- Use a nail set to drive all the nail heads just below the surface. Then fill the holes with spackling compound or wood filler, and sand them smooth when they dry.
Window molding is more challenging than door molding because it involves four components: the stool (also known as the sill), the apron beneath the stool, the case molding and the extension jamb between the frame and the inside wall.
- Begin by installing the stool, which forms a ledge at the bottom of the window. Use a good-quality wood such as 5/4" fir stock. Cut the stool to size, and notch the ends so that it fits snugly inside the window opening. You may need to install shims to ensure a tight fit (figure C). Secure the stool in place with 8-penny finish nails.
- Install the top extension jamb so that it fits tightly against the window trim. Shims may be required for a tight fit. Secure the jamb with finish nails.
- Use finish nails to install the side extension jambs, which are ripped to a width that will make them flush with surrounding dry wall.
- Fill the gaps around the window with insulation (figure D).
- Install the window casing in the same manner as you installed the door casing, starting with the sides and then adding the top piece.
- Cut the apron to the same length as the outer portion of the stool. Use finish nails to secure the apron to the wall studs.
Baseboard and Shoe Molding
Along the floor the walls should be trimmed with baseboard. In some cases you may want to use two pieces--for example, painted baseboard and shoe molding that matches your flooring.
Measure the walls, and transfer the measurements to your baseboard. Then begin cutting the baseboard to size.
Note: For most inside corners, use two 45-degree inside cuts. If your corner isn't square, you'll need to cut one piece of molding at a 90-degree angle and use a coping saw to trim the other piece for a proper fit. To cope the molding, cut a 45-degree outside cut on the molding. Then back-cut the molding on an inside 45-degree angle along the edge of the mitered cut (figure E). When you're finished, file the edges smooth for a tight fit.
Secure the baseboard with 6-penny finish nails driven into the wall studs. Use two finish nails at the ends of each piece.
For outside corners, cut both ends at an outside 45-degree angle. For long walls that require more than one piece of trim, join the two pieces with a lap miter joint. Cut one piece on an outside 45-degree angle and the other at an inside 45-degree angle. Overlap the two pieces, and secure both pieces with finish nails.
Cut and install shoe molding in the same manner as baseboard molding (figure F). Use 8-penny finish nails to secure the shoe molding to the sole plate, the board that supports the studs behind a wall.
Chair railing protects the wall from being scuffed by chairs and creates a visual break between the top and bottom of the wall.
Installing it requires most of the same techniques as needed for base molding. The only additional step is that you must first draw a level reference line around the room at chair-rail height. On a wall where your chair rail or base molding won't wrap around a corner, you'll need to install a return (figure G), which defines the end of a piece of molding. To create a return, simply make an outside miter cut on the molding, and cut a small piece of molding to fit.
Crown molding is installed in the corner between the ceiling and the wall. To avoid making compound miter cuts, which can be tricky, use premolded corners in the style of your crown molding.
Drill pilot holes in the corner pieces, and install them with finish nails on the inside and outside corners. Make 90-degree cuts on the crown molding, and butt it against the corner pieces. Adjust the crown molding until it matches the corner pieces, and secure it with finish nails driven into the wall studs and ceiling joists.