Installing your own door trim and backboards can be extremely satisfying, and save you a lot of money. But what should be a fairly simple process can quickly become difficult if the woodworker isn’t prepared for the project.
When you are designing your door trim, remember that it will directly affect your baseboard holding. The most important thing to think about when designing casing is how it will affect the baseboard holding, especially if you plan on trimming the entire house.
There are many types of woods you can use to design your door trim. The color, texture and thickness of wood that you choose to work with should be decided based on what will compliment the area it will be installed into and what materials are available to you. Most of all don’t limit yourself in what you can accomplish!
For example, you may choose to use a 1×4 block of wood to build the casing off of. You can backband the 1×4 with a length of copper ripped down to 1 and 3/8ths inches, then fill the gap in height between the 1×4 and copper with shoe molding. Shoe molding is flat on two sides to fit flush with wood behind and underneath it but curves downward in the front, making it an easy way to garnish an otherwise plain design.
Remember that it is important to always consider how your baseboard will fit into the door trim. So, before installing the trim, design your baseboard so that it will lie evenly against the door trim.
Your house will be more pleasing to the eye if the door trim and baseboard have similar or matching designs. Using the previous example, you may select to use more 1×4 sized wood for the baseboard. You will install a base cap that lies flush with the baseboard and attaches evenly to the side of the backband on the door casing. Then select a shoe molding to finish the design of the baseboard, again making sure that there are no gaps between the touching surfaces of wood.
With your casing designed, and all of the woodpieces pre-primed, you are ready to install.
Establish the distance you would like between the door casing and the door jam. Make sure your casing will lie far enough away from the door’s hardware as not to be marred by it. Using a straight edge placed flat against the door jam, trace a straight line along the door jam. You will use this line as reference for where to place the inside edge of the casing.
The easiest way to attach the casing is by nailing it to the door jam. For the most secure placement, lay your nails into a stud in the wall. These are usually 1 ½ to 2 inches away from the door. You may also choose to apply some wood glue to the back of the casing to help them stay in place. Always lay wood glue in your miters before attaching them to each other.
Before you lay any piece of casing, be sure its miters are correct. You want all angles between pieces of wood to be as tight as possible. You may cut these as you lay the pieces of wood in order to get the best fit possible. Also ensure that the bottom of the casing is perfectly square, so that it will line up as evenly as possible with the floor.
Only after the base of your casings have been installed should you begin accenting them with the backband and shoe molding. Install the backband and shoe molding as you did the casing; checking that your miters are correct and gluing then nailing the wood to the door jam.
Finish installing all casing and backbands before placing the baseboard molding. All ends of the baseboard should match the ends of the door trim, making sure there are no gaps between pieces of wood.
If you’re new to installing door trim, molding or casing, begin by working on closet doors or other rooms that aren’t often exposed to guests. The process, however, is fairly simple and soon you should be confidently installing professional-quality door trim and baseboards.