I've got a contractor working on a remodel in my home. As part of the
job, he's installed some base molding. On inside corners, he has
mitered (rather than coped) the joint. The joints look crappy.
Is this what passes for workmanship these days? Is it now commonplace
to miter such corners, rather than coping?
Although this is partly a rant, it's mostly a question. I'm
wondering whether it's reasonable to ask him to tear it out and do it
right, or if mitering is what is considered normal these days in
construction and trim carpentry.
My 2 cents worth is that I'd be PISSED! A mitered baseboard looks like
hoky. Even with my lack of experience, with about 3 practice pieces, I
was able to turn out acceptable coped joints when I replaced all the
baseboards in my home. It isn't THAT hard to do. Sounds like he is the
laziest of the lazy. However, having said that, I don't know if you
have the leverage to make his redo the work. Have you paid him? did you
have a contract? Did it specify what type of joints he'd use?
Kelly E Jones wrote:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Kelly E Jones) wrote in
In the contract, is there a clause to the effect that the work will be
done "in a professional and workman like manner" ?
In the work we've had done around our house (involving different
contractors for plumbing, septic system, well, drain fields ..), that
was standard wordage; we never had to fall back on that, but I would
think that mitered corners would not look "professional".
Of course, IANAL, and all that ....
if it's going to be caulked and painted, then that's probably the standard
now. if it's to be stained (or already is), then i'd have them redo it
again. they may not know how to.
cave creek, az
Good point. I should have mentioned that this is pre-finished (clear-coated),
hemlock molding. Will not be caulked or painted (though the
contractor will probably try to hide the problem with some colored
My neighbor wanted to borrow my miter saw to re-trim several rooms in his
house. I loaned him that saw and a coping saw and taught him how to cope the
joints. He practiced in my garage/shop till he was comfortable with the
technique. He then proceded to do the entire job with carefully coped joints
and it looks great. He did a quality job and he is very proud of the result.
I coped all my joints in my house. There is no argument in my book good
enough for not coping. It's pretty quick, the result is way better than
mitering. On my trim, there was a tricky round part, I coped the straight
aways and basically trimmed the round part with the coping saw, then with a
big round bit on the Dremel tool, cleaned out the round part. I'd say it
took about a minute per joint.
So, on the subject of coping...I tried it for the first time in redoing the
family room last winter, and really liked the result. The method I used was
to cut the trim at a 45 degree angle, then cut along the profile created
with a coping saw. Where I didn't slip with the saw, the results were very
nice. Is there a better method, or is that the way it's done?
- Wm, dedicated amateur
William Morris, Tailor
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