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Updated: August 23, 2015
Trim and molding are decorative woodwork used to embellish the floors, walls and ceilings of homes. While the purpose is generally decorative, they may also hide gaps where a floor and wall or ceiling and wall aren't flush. Once installed, the trim can also provide minor reinforcement to the overall structure. This decorative feature may be made from wood or other composite materials.
Types of trim
Crown molding is found at the intersection of walls and ceilings. It is installed typically at a 45-degree angle, with a hollow space behind it.
Baseboards are the second most common trim, and it dresses up a room by serving as a defining line at the bottom of the walls. Baseboards also hide gaps between the bottoms of the walls and the flooring.
Casing is the trim that defines the area around windows and door frames.
A chair rail is a horizontal piece of trim, typically three feet from the floor, that originally served the purpose of protecting walls from chairs. Today, it's used more as a type of decorative element.
Picture rails are a chair rail that is much higher on the wall. Less common than other types of trim, picture rail traditionally served the function of holding the hooks for hanging pictures with wire.
Wall frame molding is not common. You may see wall frame molding in more upper-end houses. It is a purely decorative wall element. The most common use is when you find four pieces of molding assembled to create the look of a picture frame.
The pricing of the trim will be affected by the type of material you choose, as well as how intricate the design is. Based on over 3,300 customer reports, most homeowners spend in the range of $633 and $1,712 for an average trim installation. Most of the cost will be the labor of the removal of old trim, hauling away debris, and the installation of the new trim. The average cost for this is around $1,158.
By hiring a professional contractor, you can get perfectly tight joints and smooth, clean, professional results when installing trim, even on bad walls. The secret to tight-fitting joints is knowing how to adjust the cuts to make them conform to your walls' different conditions. No wall is perfect, but your molding and trim can be. Keep in mind the extra work to fit the trim might mean extra time, which could translate into more money spent by you.
Removing old trim
If you already have trim installed in your home, take into account the removal of existing molding and trim as well as the clean-up in your price of installation.
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