My Door and Window Trim, How-To

In my Quickie Dining Room Makeover post, we removed the boring plain jane casing from the door and windows and built up our own stylish trim using some very inexpensive and readily available building materials.

After removing the casing, check the existing jambs for any nails that may be left. This is also a good time to scrape the old caulk, and do any sanding required to make the jambs look good and fresh again. Next, take a tri-square, speed square, or ruler and mark 1/4″ back from the opening on the jambs so you will know where to nail your new trim boards and have a uniform reveal around the jamb.

For your door trim, measure from your finished floor up to the mark you just made on the header jamb.  Cut a 1X4 to this length and nail on your marks making sure the reveal going up the jamb is uniform and that the board is 1/4″ above the bottom of the top jamb. Repeat this process on the other leg.  This completes both sides of the door. Now to build the top.

Measure across the door from the outside of one trim leg to the outside of the other.  Cut a 1X6 to this length. Now add 1 inch to this measurement  and cut a piece of lath (the material used to make lattice) to that length. Evenly spacing the lathe so that there is 1/2″ past the 1X6 on both sides, nail it to the bottom of the 1X6. You can now put this assembled piece on top of the 2 trim legs installed earlier.

The final step is a personal one. I chose to use ‘Bed Molding‘ a traditional very small type of crown molding.  Many people will nail a 1X2 on the top and keep the look simple with straight lines. I like the extra elements and small curves of the bed molding, so I cut a piece to the length of the 1X6 with outside miters on each end. Then added a return piece on each side, cut to 3/4″ length and flat on one side and an outside corner miter on the other. This step may sound a bit complicated at first, but really it is not. If you are intimidated by cutting crown, just add a 1X2 to the top of your casing and place a straight piece of cove molding under it. It will look great!

This project can be done without the use of any power tools, but having a few will make the job much faster. A miter saw will make fast, precise cuts and can be purchase brand new for under $130, and a compressor and trim nailer set will make your nailing clean and fast
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