How-To - Home Improvement

Molding and millwork

By
Eileen Cannon Paulin

Add wonderful architectural details to your home with these simple instructions.

Decorative molding and millwork were once the domain of a skilled carpenter. Thanks to the innovations of urethane molding, most first-time decorators can install a wide variety of crown molding, chair rails, door trims, and other architectural accents. Miterless corner systems require only straight cuts.

The corner piece is easily matched with the flat end of the molding to create a seamless trim that once took hours of painstaking work. Other millwork that makes a great addition to a room are ceiling medallions, door surrounds, and window trim.

CROWN MOLDING
Look at an older home, whether a stately manor or a cozy cottage, and you're likely to find crown molding. Most builders omit this detail in new homes. If you are familiar with working with a saw and miter box, you will find crown molding easy to install. If not, it's a good idea to leave this job for a professional. You can save cost by painting the molding the colour of your choice.

Installing crown molding
The following are instructions for installing crown molding with miterless corners.

1 Measure the length of the ceiling. Select the molding profile and inside and outside corners to be used. Subtract the size of the corners from the overall ceiling length.

2 For each 10' of space left after you subtract for the corners, add 1" to the overall length. This is the amount of molding you'll need for the ceiling space to ensure a tight fit, which is imperative because molding will expand and contract slightly with changes in temperature.

3 Install inside and outside corners to the walls first.

4 Use a top-quality urethane construction adhesive along the back of the corners and make certain to cover all joints with adhesive.

5 Firmly place the miterless corners into each corner of the wall near the ceiling. Wipe off excess adhesive immediately.

6 Fasten the corners in place with nails. Countersink the nails and fill in with wood filler or caulking. Let it dry completely, then slightly sand the surface smooth.

7 Using a saw and a miter box, make straight cuts on your molding to fit your measurements.

8 Install molding the same way as the corners, securing with urethane adhesive, then nailing in place about every 16". These pieces should fit snugly against the corners.

9 On the molding, countersink nails, fill with wood filler or caulking, let dry, then lightly sand the area until smooth. Use a good-quality latex or oil-based paint on the molding and corners. No primer coat is needed.



Excerpted from Decorating or the First Time by Eileen Cannon Paulin. Copyright 2004 by Sterling/Chapelle. Excerpted with permission by Sterling/Chapelle. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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