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Installing door and window trim

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  • Installing door and window trim

    Couple of questions here. I'm re trimming the doors and windows in my house.

    1. When trimming a door, do you start by mitering the top piece and then the sides or the other way around working around the door?

    2. Can you use a pneumatic finish nailer? If so, what length nails?

    3. If I have the walls painted first with the trim off and then install the trim already painted, is it customary to caulk where the trim meets the wall? If so, do you have to paint the caulk if its white and matches the trim or will it not show up?

  • #2
    There is a great book you should acquire: Craig Savage, "Trim Carpentry Techniques" (Taunton Press, 1998).

    In general, you do the side casings first. If the top casing is to be mitered (which isn't the best looking alternative), you do it last. Cut it a smidge long and nibble as necessary.

    In theory, the size of the nails varies with the construction of what you are nailing and what you are nailing it to. In most cases, 2 or 2-1/2 nails are right.

    Most people agree that hanging the molding after the walls have been painted is a bad idea. Yes, the caulk will show. Though, according to Savage, if the carpeter is any good, you won't need much caulk.

    ("A little caulk and a little paint,
    makes a carpener what he ain't.")


    • #3
      A "carpenter," too. (Need a spell checker on this site.)


      • #4
        Rgad, are we talking about the same kind of trim? I'm referring to the face molding (if that is the proper terminology) when you are facing the door and that is almost always mitered. With that said, does the do the sides first theory still apply?


        • #5
          According to Savage it does, as I remember it, but I can't for the life of me remember why. Perhaps it has to do with the problem of scribing the side casings for the floor.