Installing Trim

Installing Trim

Installing trim in an entire room can be done in a weekend with some patience and basic carpentry tools. A little practice and you can perfect both miltering and coping, two essential trim techniques. A power miter saw and coping saw are both necessary for trimming; you can purchase or rent them at most hardware stores. A tape measure, sharp pencil, wood file and combination square are other required tools. You’ll want to clear the room out before you start trimming, as well as sanding and staining the trim before you install it.

Casing a Door

Before you begin, you will want to draw a reveal line about 3/16 in. from the edge of the jamb. This will help align the casing to the door jamb. Check the miters at the corners – use two 12-in. sections of casing, and cut them exactly at 45 degrees to show how your casings will fit. This will also allow you to slightly adjust if a gap appears. Since the power miter saw allows for extremely accurate cuts, make sure you cut the pieces a little long and then check the fit. Once the inside angle of the miter aligns properly with the reveal mark, tack the casing in place. Ensure the first corner fits perfectly, and then proceed to check the second corner using the test pieces. Establish the angle of the miter, and then hold the top casing in place while transferring the reveal mark to the top casing from the side jamb. Cut the miter, ensure it fits, and then tack in place. Mark and cut the second casing, and when your miters fit, pin the corners. This will help align the two casings while ensuring the joint is tight. To use 3d finishing nails, you will have to pre-drill the corners and then tack the casing up. Once this is complete, use a hammer and a nail set to drive the nailheads deep enough to hold nail putty.

Casing a Window

There are two basic ways to case a window: the “picture frame” technique or by using a stool and apron. The picture frame method requires all four corners to be mitered to 90 degrees. The stool and apron method uses a small ledge at the window base, and has a portion of casing under it. Trimming a window is similar to trimming a door. Make sure to mark your reveal lines and use test pieces. If you choose the picture frame method, you will want to first install the top casing, followed by each side, and lastly the bottom. Ensure the miters are tight before using your miter saw to carefully trim until you reach the proper length. If you decide to install a stool and apron, follow the same order as you would a door. It is important to install the stool first, however, followed by one side, then the top, and then the apron under the stool.

Installing Baseboards

To begin, you need to locate studs by using a stud finder. Use a piece of painter’s tape to mark their location. You will then want to rough-cut the baseboard. Ensure it is cut roughly 2 in. overlong, and then place the pieces against the wall. You will also want to cut each piece about 1/16in. overlong to ensure a tight fit. Once this is complete, use 6d finishing nails to nail each piece in place. You will then want to install the base cape pieces, following the same order as the baseboard. Unfortunately, you cannot butt the inside corners because of the curved profile of the base cap, and will have to make a coped joint. Do this by cutting off one piece square before cutting the adjoining piece to make sure it matches the profile of the molding. Finally, set up the base shoe. Follow the same process as you did the cap; cope the inside corners and miter the outside corners. You will want to nail the shoe into the baseboard rather than the floor. Set all your nails, fill them with putty, and enjoy your new trim!