Design Considerations

Selecting mouldings is very much a personal choice. Having said that, there are a number of factors which you should consider. These are described briefly below.

Overall

Symmetry: Normally your baseboards and casings will reflect the same profile. By doing so the house is brought together.

Depth of Profile: The thicker the moulding, the more profile it will have. Better quality mouldings usually are ¾” thick. These profiles give the room a much richer look. Generally suburban homes come with mouldings 3/8″ thickness.

Crisp Profile Lines: The crisper the profile line, the more the moulding will stand out. By using finger joint or solid wood the profile lines are very crisp. By using MDF the lines are less crisp and hence will not stand out as well.

Proportionality: Sizing the profile to your room is important. As a rule of thumb we suggest the following:

Ceiling Height

Stand 8 ft

9 ft ceiling

Over 9 ft

Baseboard

4″ to 5″

5″ plus

5″ plus

Casing

2.5″

3.5″

3.5″ with backband

Crown

4.5″

5.5″

5.5″ plus

Proportionality also appears to vary by community. Houses in Toronto tend to use larger trim and backbands than those in Ottawa.

Baseboards and Casings

We recommend you select the profile you wish and then settle on the size. Selecting profiles is very much a personal choice. Colonial (classic) profiles are the most popular. More modern profiles would include the Glebe or Hopper series which feature simple and straight lines.

For very large homes or when trying to match mouldings in older homes, you may need very large trim. Either a 7¼” base or baseboards with extensions may be the answer. For these options see our combination page. Another approach is to place a decorative moulding about 2″ above your baseboard. Again, check our combination page.

Shoe mouldings are placed at the bottom of the baseboard. Functionally they are used to hide any cracks between the baseboard and the floor. Aesthetically, shoe mouldings can add distinctiveness to larger baseboards. We suggest you look at our combination page for these options.

Crown Mouldings

First select what type of crown profile you want:

  • For ornate crown or those with stylized designs, plaster or polymer mouldings are the best approach.
  • For simple lines and curves, wood mouldings are best.
  • For price, MDF mouldings best fit the bill.

Wood and MDF mouldings are Classic Wood Mouldings specialities. Wood mouldings feature very crisp profiles which show extremely well.

You can enhance crown mouldings in a number of ways. You can add a casing trim either on the bottom or top of the crown. This makes the crown look bigger without encroaching on the room. Another option is to to make symmetrical combinations with a casing on either side with a crown in the middle.

Or you can add a decorative piece about 6″ below the crown. See combination page for any of these options.

MDF is becoming more popular. Just make sure you are happy with the profile, compared to that of wood. Many consumers have learned over time that the crispness of wood mouldings is their preference both for casings and crown.

Door Jambs and Door Stop

Our approach is to build and sell jambs which will last the life of the house. Hence we only use wood and our jambs are a full ¾” thick. There are definitely cheaper approaches such as MDF, but replacing these after a few years due to a door sticking or being heavily dented is not the best long term solution. We machine our doors with our jambs using 3 hinges, custom door stop and custom made for left or right hand hinge.

Wood Type

Generally we prefer fingerjoint pine trim. Both the depth of profile and crisp lines are obtained at reasonable product cost. In addition, it comes in pre-determined lengths of 14 or 16 feet which minimizes waste.

American Yellow Poplar is a good solid wood. It is excellent for painting and more durable than fingerjoint. Like any solid wood it costs more. MDF is great if price is your most important variable. It will not wear nearly as well as fingerjoint pine and the profiles are not as distinct.

Pine, Maple or Oak: If you seek wood for staining, any one of these will do an excellent job. Remember, with pine you can stain it to reflect any natural wood for colour.

Casings and Headers

Casings are for around windows and doorways. Normally your casing will be about 2″ smaller than your baseboard. Casing is the largest item and the most seen in the household. So select the trim which most appeals to you.

Casings can be enhanced with backband. For larger homes, using backband throughout the house is common, particularly in Toronto. Another option would be to use backband and headers in your main formal areas. Our combination page features these trim elements.

The use of headers is a great way to improve an entranceway. It can also be used throughout the house.

The use of bullnose or full sill coupled with a smaller apron piece is a nice touch on windows . Again, check the combination page for illustrations.

Decorative Mouldings

Panelling with decorative trim will enhance any wall area. Product #26a mullion is our most popular panel moulding. Generally there is a chair rail 36″ from the floor and panels are approximately 24″ high. Boxes can be of varying sizes depending on the wall width.

Chair rails are great for dividing colour schemes. They are not particularly popular on their own. Chair rails can be one piece or made from product combinations.

Rosettes and base blocks reflect a colonial design. They do enhance quality mouldings. We find customers either really like them or they don’t like them at all.

Using bullnose or full window sill for your windows is a very attractive approach. We suggest you use casing under the bullnose. This is called an apron and is one size smaller than the casing used for the rest of the window, e.g. casing for window is #6 then the apron would be #5.

Installation Recommendations

With a mitre saw, cutting casings is not difficult.

Baseboards

On the outside corners use a mitre cut where as on the inside corners a coping saw cut is best. For each of these applications a patient person with limited experience can achieve good results. For fine detail work, including crown mouldings and window sill applications, a more experienced hand is required.

Crown Mouldings

Crown Mouldings are much harder to install and imperfections show. A little advice from the experts – first do not expect corners to be perfectly square. A good coping cut will overcome much of this fitting problem. If need be, nail the bottom edge to the wall and do not nail the first 18″ at the ceiling level. Second, expect to have substantial waste as it is better to have one piece of moulding than splicing two together.

Decorative Mouldings

Decorative Mouldings such as wall panelling usually require some design work and a drawing made to get the best results. This way potential problems are discovered and corrected.

Casings and Baseboards

The old rule of thumb still applies. Measure twice and cut once. You can cut and place your door header first and then your sides, ensuring you leave a consistent 1/8″ reveal. The nailing rule of thumb is to use a finishing nail slightly more than twice the thickness of your trim for ¾” products. A finish nail gun makes the job much easier. To get your casings to mitre well, ensure your back surface is smooth and cross nail. (Cross nailing will not work on MDF products.) Paintable caulking can cover most imperfections.

Door Jambs and Door Stop

We custom make our door jamb kits with our ready made doors. Having these in kit form saves you time and they are easy to move and place on site. If the jamb is thicker, particularly if it is made of wood, it will not only last longer but it will be problem free for installation.

A frequently asked question is, “Should the product be painted prior to installation?“. For single rooms and smaller renovations it is easier to paint first. After installation you will need to repair nail holes and paint. For new homes and major renovations where there is going to be a lot of painting, moulding is generally painted after installation.

You are welcome to come and visit us and ask questions. Most of our staff are qualified installers with many years of experience. Advice is free and if we do not have the products you need we will suggest where you may find it. Please note that we try to give advice over the telephone or by e-mail.

Product Estimating

Casings and Baseboards

For doors require two sides and header. A 2 ½” casing set requires 18 feet on average. A 3 ½” casing set requires 20 feet on average. For windows, measure the size of the window and add 6″ for 2 ½” casing and 8″ for 3 ½” casing. Generally for windows a 10% waste allowance is needed.

For baseboards it is best to do a rough measurement of each room and add 5% waste.

Crown Mouldings

Generally wood crown mouldings come in 16 foot lengths. It is best to measure each room using the 16 foot length measure. For example, a 22 x 14 foot room would require 3-16 foot lengths for the side and 2-16 foot lengths for the other side.

Standard doors are 80″ tall and the widths come in 2″ increments. For a 30″ door the opening for our full ¾” jambs is 82″ by 32″. Call for oversize doors heights.
It is best to order a little too much than to have to stop work and get another piece or 3. At Classics you are welcome to return any unused full length pieces for full credit.
If you have a new house being built we provide an onsite estimating service. Please contact your nearest store for this service.
Frequently customers come in with drawings of the rooms requiring moulding trim. We will review this with you and provide both an estimate and suggestions.