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Molding Installation Tips

"You can create architectural highlights in any room by adding various moldings, with crown molding as a particularly attractive and charming feature."

Baseboard, Crown and Window Molding Adds Architectural Interest

Authors Website: www.everydayhandyman.com

You can create architectural highlights in any room by adding various moldings, with crown molding as a particularly attractive and charming feature. You can also solve a variety of problems with molding, such as lowering a very high ceiling, or adding a designer look to uninteresting doors, windows, and walls. The most important tool used in creating these beautiful accents is a sliding compound miter saw, and if you don’t already own one, it’s time to go shopping. This versatile power tool is a circular saw on a low metal stand with a round table that turns to produce cuts at different angles. Its power head slides along rails so that cuts can be made along two planes – the bevel angle and the miter angle – at the same time, which is perfect for cutting mitered joints.

The Benefits of Adding Molding

  • Crown molding has always been a favorite design accent but is becoming increasingly popular. Once considered an elegant trim only in formal homes, it is now sought after by homeowners for any décor, even cottage styles. Cove moldings are similar to crown but have a concave face.
  • If a ceiling is unusually high and the room small, lower the ceiling by attaching molding 12 inches below the ceiling level and extend the ceiling color down the wall to meet the molding.
  • Baseboards as well as windows and doors are always enriched by the use of attractive molding – intricately scrolled in formal homes, quietly elegant in more casual surroundings.
  • Mirrors and picture frames lend themselves to moldings that coordinate with a room’s crown and base board molding and door and window trim. If you use the exactly the same style, stain or paint the mirror and frame moldings differently.

You can relieve the tedium of any room by adding decorative wood moldings:
* Fireplace mantels
* Moldings on the face of doors and cabinets
* Crown molding that conceals indirect lighting fixtures
* Wall art or applied panel molding
* Chair rail molding
* Casing around open doorways

What Are the First Steps?

  • Remove any old or damaged molding that’s already in place with a hammer and a pry-bar, and repair any wall damage.
  • Carefully measure around the ceiling, the doors, or new molding site with a standard metal retractable tape measure or the easy-to-use-and-read digital tape measure (metric is available if that’s your preference). Forget the desk ruler or cheap plastic tape measure substitutes. On a simple sketch of the room or the walls, or the door or the feature, record the measurements and count the number of corners that are angled "in" and "out."
  • After you’ve finished, measure everything again to avoid unpleasant surprises.
  • Choose your favorite type of molding. Select a more expensive wood (e.g., oak or mahogany) if you are planning to stain, and inexpensive if you are going to paint. Order 10% more than you need to allow for waste and errors.

Molding Hierarchy and Sizes

1. Some moldings can’t live without the other (e.g., crown molding without a baseboard makes a room look top-heavy)
2. To install moldings at different times or in different years, use this order:
* First, baseboards and then door and window molding and casing
* Next, crown
* Then, chair rail
* Finally, panel molding applied below the chair rail first; and above it, second.
3. Size matters: baseboards should be 6 1/2 to 7 1/4 inches high; crown faces should be 5 1/4 inches; casings 3 1/2 inches; chair rails 3 inches.
4. Choose moldings that complement each other (e.g., match curvy with curvy and boxy with boxy).

Tips for Installing Molding

  • Pre-staining or pre-painting saves time, and pre-drilling reduces the danger of splitting wood, especially at the ends of boards. Use a cordless drill to make this job faster and easier (e.g., a Bosch cordless drill). A stud finder and a nailing gun are also useful and you can counter-sink the nails as you drive them in.
  • Prepare a template for cutting both the inside and outside angles and check each corner with the appropriate template before you cut.
  • After moldings are installed, add a bead of caulking along the seams and fill the nail holes with a polyfil product, and, finally, apply the second coat of stain or paint.

Now, step back and admire the work you’ve done to beautify your home and to add to its resale value. Well done.

© 2007 Scott Gray

About the Author:
Scott Gray is currently a home improvement, handyman enthusiast and freelance writer who enjoys providing tips to consumers.

Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to our disclaimer.

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