Trim, casing and molding 101

Phantom Screens / May 1, 2015

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Add a creative architectural touch to your plain rooms by installing trim, casing and molding. These features are both beautiful and easy to install, making them an obvious choice for a simple home remodeling project. There are many trim, casing and molding styles and types, so choosing the right one can be a challenge. Here’s a guide to help you upgrade your interior living spaces:

Types of trim

Trim and molding are decorative wood pieces that border or line features of your home. When these items are placed around doors and windows, they are called casings (imagine a picture frame). They can be added to the existing architecture of your home and enhance the features already present. Furthermore, you can alter your home later without disrupting the trim, casing or molding. Prestige retractable screens by Phantom, for example, can be stained to match the wood you choose for your window casing.

Architectural movements throughout the years have featured numerous forms of trim, molding and casing, so it may be hard to choose which works best in your home. First learn what options are available. This is a listing from the floor up:

Baseboard and toe: A baseboard is a type of trim that runs on the seam between the floor and wall. More contemporary styles feature just the baseboard, which is a single piece of wood. Others include a part that lays on top of the the baseboard called a toe.

Wainscoting: This feature is a little different than other trims. Traditional wainscoting is a type of wood wrap that covers the wall from the baseboard to another rail. Wainscoting can rise as high as 30 to 40 centimeters.

Chair rail: Wainscoting usually ends with a chair rail, a piece of wood that runs along a wall at the same height as seating. Originally, it was installed to protect the wall from scratches and nicks caused by chairs.

Picture rail: This trim is about door height or higher and it’s traditionally used to hang pictures or photos.

Molding: Molding is the decorative wood piece that sits between the wall and ceiling seam. It comes in all styles and is paired with other features, such as a crown and buildup (which creeps on to the ceiling).

Casing: Casing is a type of trim that borders windows and doors.

Matching the home

All the features in your home should support the architectural style. For example, your retractable window screens can be installed to match the casing you have around your windows and doors. However, you may not know what style of casing to use in your remodeling project. The key is to know the era after which your house’s architecture is modeled.

Victorian: These homes are very ornate and can feature every type of trim. If your home sports a Victorian look, choose decorative elements and include each component of molding, including baseboards, wainscoting, chair and picture rails and a crown.

Colonial: Colonial style is much slimmer than Victorian, though it can include each type of trim. Instead of being made of complicated wood carving patterns, Colonial trim uses layers of wood that create a step look.

Craftsman: This is the simplest style of trim, casing and molding. You might decide to include every type (i.e. baseboard, rails, wainscoting, etc.), or you can pick a couple. The molding is streamlined and features little ornamentation.

Bringing the elements together

No matter how many types of molding, casing and trim you decide to use, every wood feature should complement one another. For example, all of your wood features should be painted or stained the same color. If you add other elements, such as retractable screens, their housings should also match your window and door casing.