Installing Door Trim

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Finished Trim, 5 Years Later!

The moral of this story is that you are a lot more likely to do those pesky projects that you’ve put-off when you have the help of your friends – plus it is way more fun. You tackle things you wouldn’t normally dare to do, learn lots in the process and have extra sets of hands.

The scoop: I think everyone would agree that after you go through a major remodel, the last thing that gets attention is the trim work. You are just tired tired tired. So finally after 2 3 5 years of putting it off, with the help/nudge of Monica and Mary Jean, we finally got around to installing the trim around the doorways on our 2nd floor addition.

Design:  The house is a 1911 Craftsman style. The trim on the first floor is very traditional for Seattle, the top horizontal piece is slightly thicker than the vertical sides, extends beyond the sides, and ends in a slight taper.

Craftsman Trim Styles

1st Floor Traditional Craftsman Trim

Our 2nd floor addition is a little more modern than the rest of the house. For a cohesive look, we decided to keep the general style of the 1st floor trim, except leave off the tapered overhang due to the fact there were already a lot of angles with roof/ceilings. We decided on 1″x4″ verticals and 5/4″x6″ for the horizontal header piece, with the horizontal piece extending 1″ beyond the verticals. These dimensions are a little smaller than the trim on the first floor, but thought it was acceptable to scale down for the second floor – the spaces are smaller, plus we could go with standard size lumber, which is less expensive.

Materials: We used re-claimed fir trim for most of the natural wood trim upstairs. But for this project (door trim), we needed a lot, and we were going to be painting it, so we decided the best route was to go with a manufactured product. Normally I wouldn’t go there because MDF (medium density fiber-board) seems fake and plastic-y and not very environmentally sound, but did a little research and found some moulding by Spero© that is LEED certified, does not contain urea-formaldehyde, and uses recycled content and wood that is harvested from sustainable sources. It paints up really nicely too. Dunn Lumber is a lumber yard here in Seattle that carries it.

Green Building Materials

Prep: We measured all the openings (11 doorways) and made a big list of verticals and horizontals. (Mary Jean did this part, she is very good about writing things down in an organized manner. Her charts look like a computer generated spreadsheet.)

How To Install Trim

After picking up the Spero© trim at our local lumber yard, we set up a little assembly line where Mary Jean and Monica measured and marked the pieces and I cut them on the chop saw. It went really quickly. Then we laid all the pieces horizontally in the basement and painted them. We used Daly’s C2 – 430, Potato Leek, which is a really nice off-white. The boards were pre-primed so painting went quickly too. It was way easier to paint them before they were installed – we didn’t have to be careful and there wasn’t much of a chance for drips. There will be some touching up required later after we fill the nail holes and caulk the joints.

Installing: After waiting for the trim pieces to dry, we hauled them from the basement. Because there was so much trim to install we used a nail gun with an air compressor to attach it. It was very handy, one of us held a piece in position and another used the nail gun. If you don’t have a nail gun (or for smaller projects) just use a hammer, finish nails and a nail setting tool.

DIY Installing Craftsman Trim

It took us a couple workdays to get this project done, but considering we put it off for 5 years, it actually didn’t take any time at all! Next we will need to caulk the gaps between the trim and the wall, and fill/sand/prime/paint the nail holes. Hopefully it won’t be another 5 years before that happens! Will keep you posted.

The final results:

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Hallway Trim – Before and After

DIY Craftsman Closet Trim

Bedroom Trim – Before and After

Door Trims Meet

Bedroom Trim – After

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Hallway Trim – Before and After

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

16 thoughts on “Installing Door Trim

  1. Wow! Again so impressed and inspired – who knows after reading about your projects I may get around to finishing some of my delayed (ignored?) projects.
    Heidi what is the flooring of your upstairs addition – kinda looks like concrete?

    • Thanks Candace! The flooring is an industrial grade particle board that we cut into 3′ square sections and secured down with exposed screws. We then stained it with a really dark stain (ebony) with a rag so it got that mottled look. Topped it off with 3 layers of polyurethane (2 gloss + 1 satin). It was really economical (we were pretty broke after the remodel) and has worked really well. Maybe we should do a post about it. Glad we are inspiring you to get to those ignored projects – grab a friend (or 2) and let us know what you get done!!

    • Craftsman style is great – substantial and simple. The doors in the hallway are from an architectural salvage place ( They originally came from an old house here in Seattle. We were able to find 15 matching doors. Sanded/patched/painted them. It was a great money saver and adds nice character to a new addition. We should do a post about that process – maybe soon!

  2. All looks fantastic! You have so much colour in your house and the trim really ties it all together room to room nicely. Silly question but, how do you decide where to put the nail to hold the trim to the wall. I had a piece of trim pop off constantly at out old house because the header (wrong or right term?) over the closet wasn’t thick enough for the trim. I ended up, removing it from where it hung and using wood glue to affix it to the drywall with clamps. Then when it was dry, I tapped in nails where the was something to nail it too. It seemed to work but I’m sure a pro would have done it different? Congrats on crossing another thing off the list :D Hey, btw, we finally bought a house. It’s only 10 years old and not really anything needs doing. We’ll replace the kitchen backsplash but will hire someone to get it done right. I also want to change some light fixtures and maybe have the floors refinished. June 6th!! Finally.

    • Thanks Boomdee! So excited you bought a house. Can’t wait to see pictures. And nice that it doesn’t need work. Can’t imagine! Monica is working out her backsplash too, you two can compare notes.

      To nail the trim, we tried to locate the studs and marked them with chalk. For the side pieces we nailed pretty close to the inner edge so we could nail into the jamb. So far so good. Your method sounds like it worked! What a hassle though. :(

      You’re right about a lot of color – sometimes I think maybe I should go off white, and I might do that in the living room – especially after we paint the floors dark gray – it may need more lightness.

      • I’ll share a few for sure. The current owners had the home custom built for themselves. They have a very nice antique wardrobe at the front hall instead of a closet that they’re leaving because the space was built special for it. Also a working antique phone in the front hall they had refurbished and installed with dial tone. It’s a fun touch because my hubby and I met at the phone company. There’s great light throughout due to transom windows over the doors. The main floor and upper floors have 9 foot ceilings. It’s in the river valley close to the trails and naturalness that we love. Thanks for cheering me on, I’m really excited.

        I’d be tempted to go with lighter walls when you darken the floors too. It’s almost like a gallery, cause when you add your other fun pieces they’ll really pop.

  3. I’m a bit late in reading this… But do you happen to recall the paint color you used for the trim in your molding? Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the description and pictures. Was looking for some inspiration for door and window casing, and really like the look of your finished trim. I’m also getting around to installing trim just a “couple” years after wrapping up the rest of the renovation. Thanks!

    • Thanks Ben, it takes a while to get done that’s for sure. After a while you just don’t even see that fact it’s unfinished until someone comes over and then you think, “oh, yah, our house is not really finished is it”. Good luck on getting yours done!

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