Tips For Buying Trims/ Molding

Do you notice the way interior trim on the walls and ceiling can make the difference between a room that’s extraordinary versus one that’s ordinary? You can dress a room up the way you dress to go to a fancy party, and you know how great it feels with the perfect dress and accessories. Even better is that once you’ve added crown molding, ceiling trim or wainscoting, your room remains dressed up forever.

Some molding is necessary when a house is built. Doors and windows are wrapped with molding to cover the gaps between the rough opening (framing) and the actual windows and doors we see every day. The same is true with baseboard molding, that covers the gaps where the flooring meets the walls.

There are many opportunities to upgrade or add molding to give your home a more luxurious feeling, and this dark wood trim (below) illustrates how easily the right molding can become the room’s focal point.

Picking molding is like picking jewelry for your home.

Identifying Where to Add or Upgrade Molding


So the first thing you have to do is decide which rooms you want to add trim to, and experiment with different shapes to see which ones give you the feeling you want. Size is an important decision when picking moldings to trim your rooms and house. They need to fit the style of your home, as well as the same/similar size of other moldings in the room or open living space. It’s common to build up larger profiles by combining multiple moldings to get the look you want.

How to buy molding starts with picking what fits your home’s style. Update ordinary door and window casings – to enhance the beautiful views offered by windows, and present doors that are more artwork than functional. You can build them up with plinth blocks (shown at right) or add rosettes to the corners.


Add protective chair rails, plate rails and/or outside, corner molding – to protect your walls from scrapes and dings, or display collectibles. These moldings are both functional and add personality to otherwise plain walls.


Dress up walls – with waiscoting, paneling or picture frame molding and watch them come alive with personality.


Add crown molding for a touch of elegance and if it fits the room, you can extend trim to the ceiling – beams, lattice or an elegant medallion.


Keep it low key with taller, richer baseboard molding that accentuates your flooring and room decor.


How to buy molding starts with deciding where to put it, from floor to ceiling.

Buying Molding Means Deciding on the Finish


There are lots of wood alternatives to pick from when you’re buying molding. The exciting part is finding the profile you like (baseboard profiles above) but there’s more to decide. If you’re planning to stain or varnish the wood, that limits your choices.

So let’s review the various materials that molding comes in:

Unfinished, solid wood molding – is the most common type of molding in new home construction, made from pine or a hardwood.


Stain grade molding – is made from clear lumber without knots and other defects that would mare the final finish. This wood is meant to accept stain or a clear finish well, and without streaking.

Finger jointed molding is made to save moneyPrimed, finger joint or paint grade molding – is made from short pieces of pine, pieced together. Most paint grade molding comes pre-primed, ready for painting.


Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) – is an engineered wood product alternative to paint grade wood. It cuts like wood but it doesn’t react as much (movement) to changes in temperature or humidity, and comes pre-primed.


Synthetic moldings are lightweight and immune to moisture. There are numerous manufacturers offering different profiles made from different materials. They come pre-finished for easy installation but you want to research how durable they are.
We’d love to hear how you’re using molding to give your home it’s personality, and we’ll share your homeowner story here at V & S Handyman Renovations.

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