Today, expensive-looking base molding consists of three pieces. Begin with the widest piece - inexpensive four or six-inch particle board. Cap the top of the particleboard with a strip of decorative two-inch trim. Select a trim that has a profile to give the base molding visual interest. Attach it to the particle board with trim nails. Finish off the bottom of the base molding with a piece of quarter-round molding.
Building crown molding is like building base molding, it's just constructed upside down. Again, begin with four or six-inch particle board butted against the ceiling. Use decorative trim to visually join the particle board to the ceiling. Choose a trim with a profile that is thicker on one edge. Position this heavier edge against the ceiling. Attach a second strip of decorative molding to the bottom edge of the particle board where it joins the wall. Paint all the pieces of the trim the same color to give it a solid, elegant appearance.
Door frames are easy trim projects for beginners because the entire door frame can be trimmed with square wood rosetts and three pieces of fluted trim! Best of all, there is not mitering, just straight, 90-degree cuts. Select two square wood rosettes and a length of fluted trim from your local home center. Attach one rosette at each of the two top corners of the door. On both the right and left sides of the door frame, run fluted trim from the floor and butt it against the bottom side of the rosette. Position a third piece of fluted trim at the top of the door frame, butting it between the two rosettes. You can add decorative base trim to the bottom, if you wish, or simply leave the fluted trim plain.
Whether you do it yourself or hire a trim carpenter, custom crown molding and base trim will add an elegant touch to your decor, and can even improve the value of your home!
How to replace baseboard trim:
NOTE: If you're planning to paint the baseboards, you can purchase the cheaper finger-jointed trim. If you plan on staining, however, use continuous grain baseboard.
* To save time later, paint or stain the baseboard before installing it. Determine how much baseboard you will need by measuring each wall and rounding each measurement up to the nearest foot.
* Cut the baseboards to the approximate lengths and dry-fit them around the room to be sure you have enough material.
* If possible, start installing the baseboard at an outside corner. Because the corner is exposed, you will want to make sure the joint is nice and tight. Most corners will be at right angles to one another, so each piece will be cut at a 45-degree angle.
* For angles that are wider or narrower than 90 degrees, use a T-bevel. Wrap the T-bevel around the corner and tighten it to keep it in a locked position. Carry the bevel to the miter saw and slide the blade around to match the angle of the bevel. Check the angle shown on the miter saw guide. Divide that number by two and slide the saw blade to that number. For example, if the angle of the bevel were 120 degrees, you would slide the saw blade to the 60-degree mark.
* If the wall is not square to the floor, you can use coped joints. Coped joints are special for inside corners that make a tight, gap-free connection. To cut a coped joint, start with an inside mitered cut. Then make a 90-degree cut along the margin between the finished wood and the bevel. You don't need to make a mitered cut on the trim piece that butts against your coped cut.
* Use a stud finder to locate and mark the wall studs. If you don't have a stud finder, you can locate the studs by tapping a nail through the wallboard in the area that will be covered by baseboard. The studs are typically 16" apart at the centers. Studs will usually be present in corners.
* Attach the baseboard to the wall with sixpenny finish nails. Be sure your nails are long enough to go through the baseboard and drywall and into the wall stud.
* Start on the outside corner of each piece. To keep the wood from splitting, turn the nail backward and tap it into the wood to make a dimple; then drive the nail through the dimple.
* Drive the nails until they are almost flush with the baseboard, and then drive them just below the surface with a nail set.
* Use wood glue to help keep corner joints tight.
* To hide floor imperfections, raise the base molding approximately 1/8" to 1/4" with shims. This will also help make the vinyl flooring easier to remove in the future. You can cover the gap using flexible shoe molding, which can be formed to fit any floor imperfections.
* Use a wax putty stick to fill nail holes.