Trim moldings give character and definition to many carpentry projects. In addition, you can sometimes use them to cover up carpentry mistakes, such as hiding small gaps in wall corners when the drywall hasn’t been cut perfectly. It’s important to measure and cut moldings precisely so that when installed, they fit together snugly without gaps. Predrilling moldings is recommended, especially when hardwoods such as oak are used. Predrilling makes hand nailing easier, reduces splitting during installation, and makes it easier to set nails cleanly. There’s no need to predrill when using a pneumatic nail gun.
Most moldings should be painted or stained before installation. Cove moldings and wainscoting can be purchased with a factory coat of white paint. Pine and poplar are good choices if you plan to paint. For stained surfaces, use a hardwood with a pleasing grain, such as oak.
Trim moldings are both functional and decorative. They can be used to conceal gaps at the base and around the sides of a carpentry project, to hide the edges of plywood surfaces, or simply to add visual interest to the project. Moldings are available in dozens of styles, but the samples shown here are widely available at all home improvement centers.
Synthetic trim moldings, available in many styles, are less expensive than hardwood moldings. Synthetic moldings are made of wood composites (A) or rigid foam (B) covered with a layer of melamine.
Baseboard molding (C) is used to trim the bottom edge of a wall along the floor line. Choosing molding that matches the baseboard elsewhere in your home helps your project fit in with its surroundings.
Hardwood strips (D) are used to construct face frames for carpentry projects and to cover unfinished edges of plywood shelves. Maple, oak, and poplar strips are widely available in 1 x 2, 1 x 3, and 1 x 4 sizes.
Crown moldings (E, F) cover gaps between the top of a wall and the ceiling. They can also add a decorative accent to other projects.
Cove molding (G) is a simple, unobtrusive trim for covering gaps.
Ornamental moldings, including spindle and rail (H) and embossed moldings (I, J), give a distinctive look to many projects.
Door-edge molding (K), also called cap molding, is only available in specialty stores in some areas. It is used with finish-grade plywood to create panel-style doors and drawer faces.
Shelf-edge molding (L), also called base cap molding, provides a decorative edge to plywood shelves or can be used to create a wider baseboard molding.
Base-shoe molding (M) covers gaps around the top, bottom, and sides of a wall. Because it bends easily, base-shoe molding works well to cover irregular gaps caused by uneven walls and loose floors.