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How to Properly Install Trim in a Room

Apr 29, 2024 | Blog

Laying trim might seem like a small part of a room’s finish, but it makes a huge difference in the overall look and feel. Whether you’re capping off a wall, window, or door, getting it right can transform a space. So, let’s break it down step by step.

1. Gathering Your Tools

Before you dive in, make sure you have the right tools on hand. Here’s what you’ll typically need:

  • Measuring tape: Essential for getting accurate lengths.
  • Miter saw: For making clean, angled cuts. A power miter saw is ideal.
  • Nail gun or hammer: Nail guns are faster, but a hammer works too.
  • Level: To ensure all your trim pieces are perfectly horizontal or vertical.
  • Finishing nails: These will hold your trim in place.
  • Caulk and caulk gun: For sealing joints and gaps.
  • Paint or stain: Depending on your finish choice.
  • Safety gear: Don’t forget your goggles and gloves!

2. Measuring and Planning

Measure each wall’s length where the trim will go. Add about 10% to your total measurement to account for cuts and waste. When planning the layout, consider the trim’s design and how it will meet at the corners. The goal is to have less visible seams.

3. Cutting Your Trim

The secret to professional-looking trim is in the cuts, especially the corners. Most room corners are supposed to be 90 degrees, but they rarely are. Here’s how to tackle them:

  • For inside corners: It’s best to use a coping saw to cut the contour of one trim piece so it fits perfectly against the other. Cut the first piece at a 45-degree angle, then use the coping saw to follow the cut’s profile.
  • For outside corners: Cut each piece at a 45-degree angle so they fit together like a picture frame. Always check the fit before nailing it in place.
  • Pro tip: Always make a few test cuts on scrap pieces to ensure your angles are spot-on.

4. Attaching the Trim

  • Align and check: Place your cut trim against the wall and check its fit and alignment. Adjust as necessary.
  • Nailing: Once satisfied, use the nail gun or hammer to attach the trim to the wall. Space your nails about every 16 inches (aligning with wall studs if possible).
  • Corners and joints: For a seamless look, apply a small bead of caulk to any gaps at the corners or between pieces.

5. Finishing Touches

Fill any nail holes with wood putty and let it dry. Then, sand lightly for a smooth finish. Lastly, apply your paint or stain. If painting, consider a primer first to ensure an even, professional finish.

6. Tips for Success

  • Keep it clean: Always cut in a clean, well-lit space to see your marks and cuts clearly.
  • Double-check: Measure twice, cut once. And then measure again, just to be sure.
  • Patience pays off: Don’t rush the finishing. The caulking, painting, and touch-ups are what make the final look truly professional.

Installing trim is one of those tasks where attention to detail really pays off. Take your time to measure accurately, cut precisely, and finish thoroughly. Remember, every piece of trim you install can either add to or detract from the aesthetic and value of the room, so make it count!

Feel free to experiment a little on practice pieces and always keep safety in mind. Good luck, and here’s to a beautifully trimmed room!