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What is the purpose of Trim (Mouldings)?

Most often trim is used decoratively, however it can be a very important component to the structural integrity of your home. It has three main uses:

  • Barrier: Trim around a window or door will bridge the gaps between the jamb and sheathing to keep water out. Inside baseboards protect the walls.
  • Cover-up: Mouldings can be used to cover the gap that is left to allow for a wood floor to expand and contract.
  • Decoration: When mouldings are applied to plain surfaces such as a flush door or window the added pattern and texture can make it a more interesting focal point. Crown moulding will dress up the juncture between the wall and the ceiling.

What are the different types of wood mouldings available?

There are various species and grades of mouldings available. Generally, wood mouldings are split into two categories: Clear and paint grade. Clear wood mouldings are made from solid lengths of high quality wood in many different species and grades. This type of product can be painted or stained. Paint grade wood trim consists of many small pieces of wood joined together into one long piece using adhesives and interlocking joinery. This material is referred to as “finger-jointed”. The pieces are good quality wood but they may vary in color and grain. Usually this type of trim is painted, making it virtually indistinguishable from clear trim.

Once I have bought my mouldings how should I store them?

Proper storage cannot be overemphasized. Trim should always be stored indoors, preferably in the same place it will be installed. This allows it to acclimate to the moisture levels present in the room. During the course of the project, make it a point to save any scrap trim that is 6″ in length or more until the end of the job. You will often need some scraps to experiment on, such as when setting up test cuts. Also, you’ll find that shorter pieces are useful as stock from which to cut small pieces called “mitered returns”. Even after the job is finished you should still save some scraps- they may come in handy later if you have to make unforeseen repairs.

What are the different types of mouldings and where do you use them?

Base Trim: Protects the lower portion of walls and covers  gaps between the wall and the floor. Base shoe is used to conceal any variation between the floor and the base bottom.

Ceiling Mouldings: “Cove” covers the inside corners between sheets of panelling. It is also used for built-up crown moulding. Crown moulding can be used for dramatic effect at the juncture of walls and ceilings.

Wall Moulding: Wainscot cap can be used to cover the exposed end grain on solid-wood wainscoting or to finish off the top of flat baseboards. Chair rail is installed at the height that protects walls from being damaged by chair backs. It is also used on the edges of wallpaper wainscoting. Picture moulding is used in conjunction with metal hooks for hanging paintings. It eliminates the need to put holes in the wall. Corner moulding protects the outside corners of drywall or plaster in high-traffic areas.

Casing: Casing conceals the gap between jambs and the surrounding wall. Mullion casing is used as the center trim between two or more closely spaced windows. Be sure it is compatible with the window casing in style and thickness.

Other: Back band moulding can be used to give the outer edges of flat casing a more decorative profile. It can also be used as a base cap or even as inexpensive stock for framing small artwork. Shelf edging covers the exposed edges of plywood or particleboard casework and shelving.

Custom: Mouldings for different uses can be made into custom profiles either by manufacturing a custom profile or by creating a “built-up” using a combination of different mouldings.

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