There's no need to buy the same stale molding

February 07, 2009|By PAT LOGAN / Creators Syndicate

Dear Pat: I would like to install decorative woodwork trim in my dining room, but I am having trouble finding a unique trim profile. Where can I find the best selection and how do I install it? ' Patty M.

Dear Patty: Decorative woodwork, baseboards, crown molding and window casings will enhance the appearance of any room. But when you visit your home center store, you will find only a limited selection of trim profiles. If most of your friends shop at the same store, one of them will likely have the same profile you select in his or her home.

Yet there is actually a large selection of stock trim profiles and styles available. The first step in selecting one is to review builder and custom home magazines to see what is in style and what you might like. You will be amazed at the number of styles and unique combinations there are for different molding profiles.


If you have a creative touch, you might consider designing your own trim profile. If you make a drawing or small model of it, a custom wood mill company can manufacture the long trim pieces for you. Custom wood mills also have many of their own custom trim profiles to select from. Check under "woodworking" in your local Yellow Pages or on the Internet, or you can contact lumberyards in your area for referrals to local wood mills.

Your budget and desired finished look will determine whether you select finger-jointed or solid pieces of trim stock. Finger-jointed trim stock is often made from poplar. It is a durable wood, reasonably priced and easy to mill to most profile shapes. Solid trim can be made of any type of wood, depending upon your preference.

Finger-jointed trim stock is made from shorter pieces of wood that are joined together in finger joints at the ends to make longer pieces. This makes it less expensive than solid wood. If you plan to paint your trim, the finger joints will be hidden.

If you plan to stain or clear-coat the wood, the finger joints will be visible. Some people do not mind this, but others prefer solid wood. If you are going to do the work yourself, you will likely need wood filler to correct inaccurate joints. In this case, painted finger-jointed trim stock will be your best choice.

If you decide on a custom profile, the wood mill will have to make a cutting knife to form your profile. This can cost up to $200. It is wise to have about 50 feet extra of each type of trim made to allow for any installation errors you make.

Measure your room to make sure it is truly square, and check the angle of each corner. They might not be exactly 90 degrees. If not, you will have to miter the cuts at angles slightly different than 45 degrees for a perfect corner fit. The door trim, window trim and baseboards are fairly easy to fit together.

Installing crown molding requires more hand fitting, because crown molding extends out at an angle on both the ceiling and the wall. There are special miter-saw attachments to help with this. Getting the exposed edge to fit is all that is important because no one can see behind it. You could end up using some carpenter knives to carve away the back for a good fit.

Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit

Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

The Herald-Mail Articles