How to do door trims?


I had a carpenter hung five of my interior doors for me. Those are prehung doors with standard trims which I don't like.
I like the simple plain trim with no decorative patterns on it. I have seen those in many industrial places where it is just a wide strip (painted) of four or six inch strip that goes up and across and back down, done such that there is no seam between them and I can't tell if they are jointed at 45 degrees or butt jointed.
I am wondering how I can do the same.
I assume I can just buy some 4" hardwood strips at may be about 1-1/2 inch thick and cut them to size. I experiemented a bit and realized I have problems.
First, the doors were hung and some are level and some are not. Two of the doors when plumbed and leveled, when the door closes, the lock does not close (click), so the carpenter pushed and tucked and shimmed until they close properly, only they are no longer perfectly level. Also the walls are not perfectly straight and even, so when I lay a strip of trim against the edge, it is not perfectly level either. So the strip the runs top to bottom and the strip on top going across, they do not meet where they will align perfectly.
So how do I get these trim to align? and how can I paint them such that the joints are not noticeable? Is it supposed to be 45 degree joint even for a plain flat trim?
Thanks in advance,
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Did I offend someone with my post? or was it off topic?
MC

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miamicuse wrote:

Trim that has a square in each corner can cover a multitude of sins easier. But if you must have very simple then use 45 degree joints not butt joints. If everything isn't level and square, then you have to cut the trim to fit. That is, the corners may have to be a ways off of 45 degrees. Ideally the trim has only a narrow piece that touches the wall and a narrow piece that touches the casing. That is the surface of the trim that is against the wall is hollowed out (routed or otherwise shaped) so that very little touches the wall. This reduced wall variation problems. Trim can also be bent slightly to follow the casing. And you cover up problems by using caulk to fill holes, cracks, seams, and hollows where the trim is away from the wall if the trim is going to be painted. If not painted, then you do a lot more hand work.
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It will be painted. I will try 45 degree joints. I cannot get plain flat trims with hollowed out back (unless I order custom cuts from the millwork but those have a minimum length and $ amount so I prefer to avoid that). I can see how the hollowed back can help. Thanks for the advise.
MC
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If you have the time, you can buy the tools to do the hollowing yourself. You need only about 1/8" off the back.
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On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 22:55:06 -0400, "miamicuse"

The doors should be hung level and plumb.

They never are.

Running flat stock is somewhat problematic when trying to make the header piece run across and using a butt joint. The problem is that the legs may turn in or out to lay on the jamb and the wall but the header piece may be laying flat.
There are some other ways to solve the problem. You can use a thicker piece for the header or add another piece between the header and the legs. Either way accents the joint but eliminates the need for the pieces to lay flat to one another.
If you want to use the same thickness of material and try to make it all look flat, using a 45 degree mitre will probably be the easiest method. If your material is wide, you can try to cut the sheetrock back a little where it might be hanging beyond the jamb. Your cuts will hide behind the trim and it should help the trim to lay flat. Also if you can put a slight relief cut on the back side of the trim, the unevenness of the rock will lay into the relief cut which also helps. Once you get the trim up, sand and fill your joints if needed and paint.
Mike O.
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Typically interior door trim is 45ed unless the top board ends extend beyond the outer edges of the side pieces. In that case the joints are butt jointed. This is common on exterior trim around doors.

That is pretty big trim. Especially the 1-1/2" thick. Typical trim is 1/2" thick.

Get him back to do the job properly. Interior doors are especially easy to hang correctly as compare to exterior. You have no door sill to worry about. The doors typically come out better if the door is left close during the install. The door helps keeps every thing square.
Also the walls are

Well nothing is perfect in the construction of a house but if it is way off, call the carpenter back to fix the problem. That said however builders do use a lot of caulk and calk is a common product used on door trim.

Caulk the joints. As for whether to 45 or butt joint, either will create a gap if the door and trim are not plumb and square

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I am trying to get a specific look. It will have to be wide and heavy to achieve that effect. Ceiling is 12' high and I wanted the trim to pronounce but I don't want any details or accents but simple straight line. It is a contemporary home and everything else is very "plain". The trims will be painted eventually.

level and he said it is impossible unless the walls, headers, studs are perfectly level too and they are not. I said you could shim them until they are level no? He said he tried but difficult. Apparently two of the walls are tricky? One is at the end of the hallway, so one side the wall is sort of leaning in one direction (just slightly) and on the other side opposite. But the difference is such that the door had to be almost twisted a bit to fit. Now when I close that door it squeaked a bit and when I open it half way and let go it will open full by itself and bang against the wall. He told me if I hang them plumb and square he will have to remove the trim (the original trim) because they will not fit. Now that I have removed them anyways I can see I will have problems.

I will caulk the gap, what I am concerned with is not that there is a gap between them side by side. Hard to describe...it's if when I nail them on the casing one end sticks "out" further than the other end because of wall uneveness. Or when I lay them at 45 degrees, the board is 5" wide so at the mid point of this 45 degree joint it meets, but one end one side is higher and the other end it is lower, how do I solve this sort of problems? Not sure how to explain this better...I cannot use caulk to solve this. Someone suggested using a router hollow the back or cutting the wall back and that is beyond my capability...I have a compound miter saw and can cut and measure and sand and caulk and paint.
Or may be I should shim the side that is "lower" to meet, and whatever gap it creates against the wall, I caulk on the back side? Will that work?

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Trim Carpentry by Craig Savage is an excellent book. If you want a miter joint you'll find the proper angle is usually close to 45 degrees, not exact. A butt joint or using corner rosette blocks are other options. Thinner material will follow a warped wall easier than a thick one. You may need to use thin strips of wood or caulk.
On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 22:55:06 -0400, "miamicuse"

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If I measure the door opening and then connect the top and side trims using pocket screws on the back side first. Then mount it onto the door frame will it be easier? or will I be causing more problems?
MC

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You won't really cause any more problems, but it's overkill, and a lot of extra frogging around. Why not just cut and nail on the trim and then fill in any gaps with caulk or spackling compound, and paint it?
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When you use square edged trim, in the NorthEast, we commonly square the tops of the side pieces and run the header piece of trim across, at right angles. At the top of the side pieces, the bottom of the header will need to encounter a straight line from the outside, upper corner of the left side piece, to the inside corner of that same piece, across the top of the door frame, and again straight at the inside right hand, top corner and again at the left hand top, or outside corner of the side trim.
Sometimes in order to make that work out as flat, you have to leave the outside corners "floating" a little, maybe shim them from behind with a piece of cedar shingle.
The outside edge may need to be caulked if there is an uneven air space. If there is a lot of airspace, you might want to cut a thin batten strip to pad it out.
Once it's caulked and painted you won't really "see' the anomalies.
At Home Depot or Lowes you can buy 2.5" flat trim with the back relieved, as others have described. Around here a lot of trim is simply 1x4 clear, or D-select pine.
Allowing 3/16" or 1/4" reveal at the jamb/trim joint, makes it a little easier to :"fudge" some of the bumpy parts.
Not sure I am any clearer than anyone else here, but, of course, *I* think I am :)
Good luck
Jonathan
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