Beefing up your door trim and a little "bartering" for a desk....

My precious neighbors, Tammy and BR (his real name is Brian but we call him BR), have been projecting at their house. Their entire living area has "honey oak" wainscoting and BR has been priming, caulking and painting it for weeks. I have to admit it looks soooo much better! 

One of the things Tammy wanted to do was beef up the trim around her front door and back sliding door. I did mine when I built the house and since it is an easy DIY project, I took a few minutes to show BR how to make a huge statement with just a little effort! 

As you can see, I used fluted molding and plinth blocks on mine, but you can get the same affect using just plain 1 x 4s as the casing without the blocks. 

Like many houses built in the 80s, Tammy and BR's trim is 2 1/4" colonial trim...stained! Since he is painting all the trim, this is the perfect time to jazz up the doors. We did the front door this week and he is going to try his hand at the back sliding doors...knowing I am a phone call away! 

Before I got there, BR pulled all the old 2 1/4" molding and nails.

Anytime you pull trim, make sure you "score" around all the trim, door jamb and wall with a shape razor so you don't pull off the paint that might be stuck to the trim! I show you how to do that in detail here. This is important because if any of the wall paint or jamb paint has stuck to the trim, you will pull it off with the trim...not good!

The molding consists basically of four pieces...

Material List! This is all "stock" stuff at Lowe's (and most home improvement stores) and most come in 8' sticks. It will cost about $30 a door...not including caulk, primer and paint!

3-1x4x8 casing material...if you decide to go with fluted, you will need 2 sticks of fluted and one flat 1 x 4. We used pre-primed 1x4 MDF. Cuts and paints nicely. I would NOT use this in areas where the trim is likely to get wet or exposed to moisture! For that I would suggest using 1x4 pine or poplar....and prime both sides and the edges to keep the wood from absorbing the moisture!

1-8' strip of door stop. In case you are wondering what "door stop" is, open an interior door and look on the inside of the jamb. See that little strip that is about 1/4" thick and 1-1 1/4" wide and "stops" your door when you close it? That is door stop.

It comes in several "profiles." Some are flat, some have a rounded edge, some have a fancy profile...pick the one you like best. You don't HAVE to add this can just set the 1x4 header on top of the casing...I just think it makes it look a little "fancier" and it is a super easy piece to add! 

1 piece of crown. You will only need about 5' but they come precut 8'. We used the 3 1/2" crown. You can go bigger, but don't go so big it makes your door look top heavy.

As you can see, I have a piece of 1x4 on top of my crown that creates a little "shelf." BR and I decided theirs looked better without it...but Tammy may decide she wants biggy, it is easy to add and honestly, it is the last piece you add so see what you think when you get to that point! 

The first thing you will want to do is remove all the existing trim and nails. If you have narrow trim and you are making your door casing wider (1x4s are 3 1/2" wide), this would be the time to remove the baseboard adjacent to the door can cut it down and reinstall it against your new door casing!

Tammy and BR have wainscoting. Rather than cut the wainscoting, we just notched out the biggy...just a big "puzzle."

I would suggest checking the "gaps" between the door jamb and the framing stud and make sure you have ample insulation all around the door. This is a perfect time to stuff some more in there if you need to, or use spray foam insulation.

If you are going to use spray foam insulation (my fav!), spray it in the gap and then wait an hour or two and let it don't want it oozing out of the joints of your new trim. After it has expanded and has dried, just trim any that may have oozed out with your razor knife or scrape it with a chisel! It expands A LOT, so don't over do it! And don't mess with spray insulation foam while it is is sticky and will not come off without mineral spirits. Just let it dry and it basically becomes a hard foam that can be cut with a knife or scraped off.

You will work from "bottom to top" so the first pieces you will set are the two side casings. You want to leave a 1/4" reveal of the door jamb all the way around, so measure from the finish floor (tile, wood, whatever) to the inside of the top of the door opening, and add 1/4".


That will be your measurement for the side door casings. On most standard doors that should be around 80 1/4". Measure both sides...sometimes there is a smidge difference!

After you have MEASURED TWICE AND CUT ONCE, you will attach these two pieces to the door jamb with your trim nailer (see Tool Box here)! If you do not have a trim nailer (shame, shame) you can use trim nails and a hammer...the old fashion!

Before you drive in too many nails, now would be a good time to lay a level across the top of the two casings and make sure it is level. You will be laying your header on these two pieces and you want to make sure they are the same height. If you measured correctly, and left a 1/4" reveal, you should be good to go! 

The casing on the hinge side of the door should fit loosely against the hinges, and the casing on the knob side should fit against the door knob strike plate. Watch your "reveal" carefully when attaching these two pieces...remember, you want to leave about 1/4" reveal all the way around! If you have removed existing trim, you may even be able to follow the old paint or stain line left when you pulled the old trim! 

Once those two pieces are secure, measure from the outside of one side of the new casing to the outside of the other side of the new casing....

That will be the width of your "header" piece....the 1x4 that goes on top. Cut the 1 x 4 that length. Then cut the door stop 1" longer. (if you aren't using the door stop, skip this step)

Attach the door stop to the header BEFORE you attach it to the wall.

The best way to attach the door stop to the header is mark the center on both pieces. Dab a little glue on one edge of the header, lay the door stop on the glued edge, lining up the center marks, with the back edge of the doorstop flush with the back of the header, then tack the door stop to the header with a few nails. If you have a door stop that has a decorative edge, you want the decorative edge facing down...away from the header. Your doorstop should hang over the ends of the header by 1/2" on each side since you cut it 1" longer!

Now, attach the header, door stop on the bottom, directly above the door by setting it on the casings. If you measured correctly your header should be the same width as your door will line those up! 

Crown molding is a tad tricker only because you will have to make two miter cuts so that the crown actually "wraps around" the header. (If you don't know how to cut crown with a miter saw...Google it!) Your two crown ends will be 3/4" since that is the thickness of a 1 x 4...but measure just in case! The crown front will be the same measurement as your header.

To attach the crown, first measure  and mark 1/2" from the top of the header, on both sides...then draw a line. This allows you to attach the crown without having to fumble with a level. Run a little line of glue on the backside of the crown and then tack it with your nailer or trim nails.

I do not recommend using trim nails on the little pieces of crown or any small trim piece, unless you have a very small brad nailer. If you do not, I would suggest using a VERY tacky glue and just glue the end pieces in place. Remember, glue is really what holds everything together! If the glue is not tacky enough to hold the piece in place, try this little trick...dab a few small blobs of hot glue on the pieces...the hot glue will hold it in place until the wood glue sets up well! 

Now is the time to determine IF you want a little shelf thingy above the crown. I did, but Tammy and BR did not.

To add the little "shelf" on top, lay the 1 x4 on top of the crown and measure the distance from the front of the crown to the edge of the 1 x 4. You will want it to hang over the edges of the crown the same distance on each side. If it hangs over more than 1/2" to 3/4", you might want to rip the 1x4 down a bit. Cut your board and then smear a little glue on top of the crown, lay the shelf on top of the crown, and then just tack it in a few spots with a brad nailer. Again, if all you have is a big honkin' trim nailer or are "hand" nailing trim nails, you might want to just go with the glue...a good wood glue WILL hold when it sets up! 

See...super simple!!!!

Now just caulk all the joints, putty nail holes, prime any unprimed wood, give it a quick little sand and paint!

While I was there, I did a little bartering. Tammy had this ugly little maple desk in her garage and wanted to know if I wanted it. HECK YEAH! I told her I would help with the trim in exchange for the desk!

Truth is, I would have done the trim anyway but the desk was a great little find.

The old maple furniture is dated and a bit on the ugly side, but it is sturdy furniture and perfect for DIY projects. While I was working on this piece I also worked on a side table and a secretary...can't wait to share those!

A little plaster paint, a little distressing, a little "pop" of color on the inside and back panel, and this little guy is all decked out for another lifetime of use!!

Good trade if you ask me!