Sabado, Agosto 8, 2015

Beginner Tips and Tricks for Installing Trim

The amazing Jenny is back today to show you more proof that, sometimes, the difference is in the details! You loved her white kitchen makeover, where she added small touches to give her kitchen a knock your socks off facelift — now you get to see more of her beautiful home! She did all of this new trim work herself, after teaching herself, and she’s here to share with you her tips and tricks for installing trim, plus plenty of beautiful before and afters — give her a BIG welcome back!

Few things can update a home like wainscoting. This beginner's guide for installing trim is so informative, including tool recommendations

A Beginner’s Guide to Installing Trim
by reader Jenny

It took about 200 hours over almost 4 months. I started when I was 8 months pregnant and finished when my newborn was about 6 weeks old. I don’t recommend doing it that way. Really. Don’t.  :)

Make over your living room and staircase wall with some picture frame wainscoting and fresh paint. DIY tips to get you started!

I put up hundreds of feet of trim: chair rail, crown molding, and dozens of shadow boxes. (The shelves and mantel around the fireplace in the family room were built by a carpenter, not me).

This tall fireplace wall with built-ins and added trim is stunning!

I am self-taught and I did every last bit of the job entirely by myself. And, yes, I’m pretty darn proud of what I accomplished!

Stunning living room wainscoting makeover

I had a general contractor come by to take a look at all of the trim work I did. He told me that if I’d hired him to do the work, he would have charged me at least $10,000.

The additional white trim details around these window makes the whole bay window POP!

I was fortunate to find a local lumber yard selling the crown molding, chair rail, and ogee molding (for the shadow boxes) that I needed at a cheaper price than the big box stores offer it. The trim wood for this project cost me about $1,500.

Shadow box (or picture frame) wainscoting makes a big impact, and it's so easy to DIY!

Paint colors are Benjamin Moore White Dove (white), Sherwin Williams Naval (dark navy blue), and Restoration Hardware Silver Sage (light blue). I hired someone to paint it all after I was done.
Beautiful living room makeover!

Jenny’s Tips for DIYing Wainscoting and Trim

When I first opened the instruction manual for a compound miter saw, all I saw were warnings about the appendages one could lose if the saw was used improperly. I was so frightened and so intimidated that three months went by before I tried to use the saw again. Unfortunately, power tool manuals are written for people who already know how to use the tools, not for DIY newbies like me. A manual won’t tell you the basics like how to release the blade lock. (It took me nearly an hour just to figure out how to do that!). But I stuck with it. I figured it out. And now, my miter saw is like an additional appendage to me and has yet to sever one!
This living room is so stunning, and she did all that wainscoting and trim work herself! DIY power!
To complete a large-scale trim project, I (not a professional, just a DIY-er) recommend the following:
1. Research
When I started my first trim project, I had no experience installing trim. Before I priced wood or considered what tools I would need or did anything else, I watched several YouTube tutorials. I searched under keyword terms like “how to” and “wainscoting” or “how to” and “crown molding.” This gave me an idea of what I was getting myself in to. It’s also how I learned to install trim (along with the help of the two books listed below).
2. Work Space
If at all possible, have a designated work space where your tools are organized and accessible and where there is sufficient room to work comfortably with long and unwieldy pieces of trim.
Tips and Tricks for Installing Trim and Wainscoting  -- get your workspace and tools ready!
3. Tools
I found the following tools to be absolutely necessary for my large-scale trim project. Rent, borrow or buy, but make sure you have them.
(These tools represent a significant investment. If you’re doing a large enough project, it will be worth it to buy, but for a smaller project, rent or borrow.)
  • A Compound miter saw (a sliding compound miter saw is ideal, but a 12″ regular one will work just fine). I have a Dewalt one similar to this model.
  • 18-gauge brad nailer (for shadow boxes) and 16-gauge finish nailer (for crown molding) and an air compressor. I bought a kit like this one and have been very happy with it. (I used over 2,000 nails to complete my trim project. If I had used a hammer-and-nails instead of a nail gun, I’d still wouldn’t be finished!)
  • A ShopVac. You are going to generate buckets and buckets of saw dust. A way to clean it all up is essential. Oh, and don’t forget a face mask to wear while you make your cuts—you don’t want to be breathing in all that dust! I found an 8-gallon wet/dry ShopVac at Costco for about $50.
  • A 24″ level like this one and 9″ torpedo level like this one.
  • Measuring tape
  • Multi-purpose protractor. I have this one.
  • Pencil
  • Wood Filler
  • Caulk
  • Trim Wood
  • Caulk Gun
  • A crown molding chart that tells you what degrees to set your saw for cutting angles. I used the extensive chart available in this book, but I learned all the practical knowledge I needed for cutting crown molding on pp. 128-137 of this book, which has excellent pictures to accompany the clear instructions.
  • A bag of pre-cut trim scraps. I cut several different pieces of scrap trim (the ogee molding for shadow boxes and the chair rail molding) in increments by degree to use for figuring out angles. I preferred to use a protractor to measure angles for crown molding, but found that for chair rail and shadow boxes, it was faster to use my scrap trim samples. For example, I might have pieces of scrap chair rail cut at 15-degrees, 18-degrees, 20-degrees, 25-degrees, etc. Then, when I came across a corner where two walls meet, I’d hold up pieces of my scrap trim (cut at different angles) until I found the 2 angles that came together for the best fit. That’s how I knew what angles to cut my trim.
  • The BuildCalc app. This app saved me all kinds of headaches when designing the shadow boxes. I simply measured the wall and figured out how many shadow boxes I wanted there to be and then entered the numbers in to the app to find out the spacing. I used this online tutorial here to learn to use the app for planning shadow boxes.
4. Planning
Plan the trimwork you want. Some of the rooms in my home already had crown molding and chair rail, so I simply matched what was already there for the new trim work. I priced the wood I needed at Lowe’s and Home Depot and at my local lumber yards. I found I could get the best deal at a local lumber yard and ordered from there. The lumber yard also delivered (for a fee), which, given the size of my project, was enormously helpful. Store the wood indoors where you’ll be installing it and give it 3 or 4 days at room temperature before using it.
Use shadow box wainscoting to add interest to those tricky angled stair walls. This is a DIY job!
To come up with a design for the trim work, I browsed sites like Houzz and Pinterest for ideas. (Remodelaholic note: We also have a post here with lots of wainscoting styles.) Once I decided what I wanted to do, I measured all the walls and calculated how much wood I would need. Word to the wise, give yourself plenty of overage. You won’t be able to use the entirety of every piece of trim and you will certainly make mistakes. If you’ll be undertaking a large, multi-room project like I did, I recommend doing a small room first to get a feel for how much wood you’ll really need (it will be more than the exact measurements) and for how much time it takes.
This DIYer taught herself how to install trim and then did her whole house and it looks AMAZING! Tips and Tricks for Installing Trim and Wainscoting --
5. Draw on your walls.
I drew every last piece of trim on my wall before making any cuts or nailing anything in place. I measured from the floor to the top of my chair rail molding, making a mark on the wall about every 18 inches. I then used my level to draw a straight line connecting all the marks so I would know exactly how to line up my trim when it came time to attach it to the wall. Same thing for shadow boxes. I marked where they would go and then used my level to draw straight lines connecting all the markings, making a road map of where everything would go. It’s a lot easier to make adjustments with pencil drawings than with wood. And, it made it easier for me when it came time to attach the wood because I could just line it up with the pencil markings (I still double-checked that the trim piece was straight using a level, at the time of installation). The pencil lines are easy to measure, too, when it comes time to take the measurements for making cuts. When I drew the lines, I measured them right then and there and wrote the measurements on the walls.
Tips and Tricks for Installing Trim and Wainscoting  -- yes, it's okay to draw on the walls!
6. Nailing
When it comes time to nail, remember you’ll have to fill each and every nail hole with wood filler when you’re done, so don’t go crazy, but you also want your trim to be stable and secure. I found that if I put a nail at each corner (not too close to the edge, though, or you’ll risk splitting the wood) and about every 8 to 10 inches, that was plenty.
Tips and Tricks for Installing Trim and Wainscoting
7. Finishing
The finish work (wood filling, sanding, and caulking) seemed to take as long as the measuring, cutting, and nailing, but it’s the finish work that really makes your trim look lovely. Use a light hand with the wood filler as you’ll have to sand whatever dries on your trim. (I used a lightly-damp rag to wipe over where I filled holes to minimize sanding later on.) Caulk! Caulk! Caulk! It will give you that seamless look where the wood appears to just grow out of the wall. Use wood filler, not caulk to fill your nail holes. This is my favorite caulk (I tried several different kinds over the course of my project). Buy by the case to save money. You’ll use a ton of the stuff! (Remodelaholic note: get tips for caulking here.)

Thank you so much for sharing your tips and your gorgeous home with us, Jenny!

Remodelaholics, leave your dropped jaws 
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