January 16, 2014

Trim Tutorial {& my husband's very first post!}

I thought it was about time that I introduce you all to Billy, my husband.  Truth is, I couldn't complete most any of the projects I write about here without his diy skills.  Sometimes, it feels like I am pretending that I do this all myself, and that is not the case at all.  I scheme up the ideas and he somehow figures out a way to create them.  He is going to be sharing some posts from time to time about some of the more technical parts of our projects.  Today, he is starting with something we are often asked about, our trim.

It never ceases to amaze us how much of a difference trim can make in a room.  It adds exponential amounts of charm in minutes!  Here is a quick diagram of the sizes of wood we use:
We first start by gathering all our materials which we usually purchase from The Home Depot:

1x3x8 primed MDF
door stop molding
small crown molding
2" finish nails (16 gauge) 
1 1/2 inch finish nails (18 gauge) for crown molding
Paint and Painter's Calk
Wood Filler

Tape Measure
Compound Miter Saw or Hand Saw and Miter Box
16 guage finish nail gun
18 guage finish nail gun
air compressor for nail guns
or hammer

   Prior to making any cuts, we paint all the molding.  It will be necessary to go back after the trim is installed and fill holes and touch up, but I have found that I prefer to do it this way rather than taping off and painting the whole window after installation.  That's just my personal preference.  You can certainly install before painting.  We use the same paint for all the trim in our house, Behr Swiss Coffee.  This way the trim is consistent throughout the house an it makes touch ups easier.  

Once dry, we take our measurements and start to make our cuts.  We use a compound miter saw, but if one is not available a hand saw and miter box will work just the same.  The nice part of this molding is that most cuts are straight (except for the crown).  
We start with the side trim.  Measure the window or door frame from top to bottom.  For casement windows, add 1/4" to the measurement (1/8inch for the top and 1/8th inch for the bottom), for doors and windows with a sill, 1/8"(because there is only top trim and no bottom trim).  

The 1/8" is added to leave a reveal around the window or door frame.  The reveal is the space between where the window frame ends and the trim begins, as labeled in the diagram below.  The side pieces (1x3's) are the first to be installed leaving an 1/8" reveal all the way around the window or door.   We then use a finish nail gun with 2" nails to secure the trim into the frame and stud every 12-16 inches.

Once the sides are installed, a measurement is taken from the outside of one piece of the installed trim to the outside of the other.  Another 1x3 piece is cut to size and installed along the bottom of the window flush to the outside edges of the side pieces.  

The same trim method used as door trim.
Next, we move to the top of the window or door where a piece of door stop molding is placed on its side across the top of the two side pieces.  We again measure the distance from the outside of the two side pieces (not always the same on top as it is the bottom) but add about one inch to the measurement so that the flat piece will extend equally past the side pieces as seen in the photo above.  The 1x4 is then cut to the measurement of the top of the side pieces and nailed into place.
We used the same trim on our bathroom built ins.  In the above picture, the crown wasn't added yet.
Now for the crown molding. 
 This took a bit of trial and error so buy a little extra.  I start by cutting a 45 degree angle on one end of the crown.  One thing to remember to get your proper angles is to cut the crown molding upside down (it sounds confusing but after a couple of cuts it becomes "normal" - this is why I recommend buying a little bit extra).  Then using the measurement of the 1x4, I place my tape measure on the inside edge of my 45 degree angle, measure out the length, and make a mark on the bottom of the crown.  This mark is going to be the inside of the 45 degree angle on the opposite side. Once the piece is cut, I nail it across the front of the 1x4 with the bottom edge of the crown approximately 1/4" down from the top.  Make sure that the edge of the crown lines up with the edge of the 1x4.  Next, the small side pieces are cut to go from the angle of the crown to the wall.  I start by cutting a 45 degree angle at one end.  I then measure 3/4" in from the inside angle and cut the piece straight at the mark.  This is done twice, one for each side.   The pieces are then nailed to the side matching the 45 degree angle to the one on the piece already nailed to the 1x4.

All nail holes are then filled using wood filler.  Once dry, I lightly sand the wood filler to a smooth finish and touch up the area with our paint.


  1. Awesome post...thank you Billy & Courtney!
    Ann R.

  2. Adding the molding really does add so much extra charm. Nice job!

  3. Molding makes all the difference. Our last house had molding every where. This house has very little and I miss it.

  4. Nice Suggestions of making Home Renovations..I am loving all your ideas..
    Thanks for sharing:)

    California Window Depot
    Entry Doors Installation-California Window Depot

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