Trim Work 101
Moldings, also called “trim work,” are both functional and decorative in your home. Although they give a room distinctive style and detailing, they also serve a purpose. Trim work hides the joints between walls and floors, ceilings, doors, and windows that have been left exposed by rough carpentry and building techniques. Many different patterns and styles of trim work are made from a variety of softwoods and hardwoods, so the most important thing is finding trim work that is going to best match the overall design aspect of your home. If you’re feeling creative, these woods can be used in combination as built-up-moldings to create intricate patterns in your trim work design.
Trim in older homes may be made of plaster, particularly cornice and crown moldings, or any of the several hardwoods or softwoods that are still popular in building materials today. New trim is sold at lumberyards and millwork shops, and visiting these businesses is the best place to see the wide selections available to you. Hardwood moldings, which will need to be stained and finished, are naturally the most expensive. If you’re on a budget, look for paint-grade pine or fir moldings made from short pieces that are finger joined together. Doing so can save you a lot of money when it comes to adding up the costs of your finish carpentry.
Composite Trim Work
A range of ready-to-paint, highly decorative trim made from high-density polymers, are also available if you’re looking for a more budget friendly material. Polyurethane trim doesn’t expand and contract, warp, decay, or require heavy maintenance. And, because intricate polyurethane moldings are made as single-piece units, they’re also cheaper to install than real wood or plaster alternatives.