Transform Your Home With Decorative Molding

Many heritage homes were built with beautiful and intricate molding around the doors, windows, baseboards and ceilings. These elegant features transformed simple rooms into works of art.

Modern building trends are much different. With a focus on lowering construction costs, elaborate moldings are rarely found in new construction. Simple, inexpensive trim is normally used for baseboards and window and door trim. Of course, once you move into your new home, you can install any style of decorative molding that suits your own personal style.

Styles of Crown Molding

The three basic kinds of molding on the market are baseboard, casings and crown moldings. Baseboards go along the bottom of the wall to add visual appeal between the floor and wall. Casings create a frame around widows and doors.

Crown molding, which is very elegant and beautiful, runs along the top of the wall against the ceiling. Crown molding is particularly useful in large rooms with very high ceilings, as it gives the illusion of a lower ceiling, and can make a very big room feel much cozier and inviting. There are other specialty types of molding available as well, such as chair rail, spindles, banisters, and newel posts.

When choosing the styles of moldings to use in your home, take into consideration things like the size of the space, the style of furnishings you will have and your own personal style as well. If your home is an old-fashioned, classic design, then elaborate and elegant crown moldings and trim is a perfect addition. In a modern home with sleek, clean lines, a simpler design of molding is more appropriate. You want to complement the design of the room, not overpower it with elements that don’t fit.

Installing Crown Molding

Installing your own molding is not terribly difficult, if you are somewhat comfortable with the idea and have the necessary tools. If not, you can certainly hire a contractor to do it for you and save the trouble. Keep in mind it will cost you considerably more to have a professional do it than if you were to do it yourself.

If you decide to do it yourself, you will need:

  • Hammer or nail gun
  • Finishing nails
  • Nail set
  • Stain or paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Miter saw or a saw and miter box
  • Tape measure
  • Wood filler
  • Silicone or caulking
  • Sand paper

Once you have your molding all picked out, check your floor plans or draw out a diagram to scale of the room you’re working on so you can calculate how much you will need. Molding is available in different lengths, ranging from 6 to 16 feet. Try to buy pieces that are long enough to accommodate your wall so you won’t have to piece it together.

Cutting perfect joints is a little tricky, and will involve touching up with wood filler, sanding and painting. If you have to have joints, try to place them in areas where they will not be as likely to be noticed, like behind a door or piece of furniture.

Make sure your trim pieces are good and dry before you begin, as the wood will shrink as it dries out. Priming and painting it beforehand will be quicker and easier than doing it once it is installed. You will only have to do a few touchups afterwards this way.

Measure twice, cut once! Make very careful measurements and mark your cut before you cut your pieces. Remember, if your piece is too long, you can always shorten it, but if you make a mistake and cut it too short, that piece is wasted. Make sure you set your miter saw to the exact correct angle too or you will end up with pieces that don’t fit together or that have large gaps. A tiny gap or crack is to be expected and can easily be hidden with a little wood filler or caulking. As you cut your pieces, dry fit each one to make sure the fit properly. Lay each one out where it will be going and go on to the next one.

Finishing Crown Molding Installation

Once you have everything ready, nail each piece in place with a nail gun or very small finishing nails. Be careful not to damage the wood with your hammer, as it does dent very easily. Gently tap each nail in with your nail set, and fill in the tiny holes with wood filler. Touch up any small gaps and cracks with the wood filler and sand smooth. Use the wood filler sparingly, as you will need to sand and paint each spot where you have used it. Be sure to sand very gently and follow the grain of the wood. A quick touch-up with your paint or stain will finish the job. Gaps between the wall and molding can be filled with caulking and painted over as well.

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