A Measured Guide: Estimating Your Home Trim Package

In this overly visual world it is unavoidable to be inundated with a barrage of photos of gorgeously styled and designed homes.  It is only natural to look at that dated trim in your home that is starting to look worn and tired and really want to transform your home into that showpiece it deserves to be.  The process can be overwhelming, but you have recently been inspired and are willing to test out your hidden carpentry skills but you are unsure where to start.  We have put together a series of steps that can get you started on your remodeling journey.

Select Your Material Type

I know this may be easier said then done, as I had mentioned before the possibilities can seem limitless.  Most importantly, you want to narrow the scope of your search.  Here are some important questions to ask yourself when starting your process;  Am I painting or staining?  Does my home have a signature architectural/design style?  What is my budget?  All of these questions, once answered, will lead you down the road of the design choices most suitable and relevant to your project.

Paint Grade

MDF and Primed Finger Joint have become popular materials for the budget conscious.  MDF (medium density fiberboard) is an engineered product using a combination of sawdust and shavings mixed with a glue or resin.  Finger Joint, uses segments of real wood that are glue together in interlocking “finger joints”.  Both products come factory primed in convenient spec lengths.  There are many pros and cons for both options, so you will want to do your proper research.  Because of their affordability and accessibility, there are many options as far as moldings go in both materials, however, if you are looking for something that would be stain grade, neither of these options would work for you.

Stain Grade

Stain grade options are vast, however, your most important consideration will be cost and availability.  Depending on your region, there will be some solid woods that are more prevalent than others.  Here in the Pacific Northwest we have ready access to a good amount of softwoods; Hemlock, Fir, and Cedar.  In the Midwest and Northeast, you will see more of an abundance of hardwoods; maple, oak, cherry.  In the South, Pine and Cyprus are popular choices.  It will be important to check with your local suppliers and vendors to determine the availability of wood species in your area.  Keep in mind that solid woods are more expensive to mill and therefore there will not be as great of a selection stock profiles available as the paint grade choices, however, there will still be some great choices with the grain and character that you desire.  For more information about wood and the many different species, we highly recommend checking out The Wood Database.

How Much Material Do I Need?

This is one of the more challenging questions, there are many factors that need to be considered.  First, what sizes/lengths is your selected material offered in?  There are limitations when it comes to supply, for instance MDF and Finger Joint are usually sold in specific set lengths, like 16’s or 20’s.  Solid woods, on the other hand, are usually stocked in random lengths, which means they are stocked in an assortment of varying lengths based on availability. In either case, you want to plan and budget for a certain amount of overage. As nice as it would be to to get only the material you need down to the nearest inch, supply and availability make this a near impossibility. One method we would recommend is to come up with a “cut list” for your linear footage material. This would be all the cuts necessary to complete your project, if your windows net at 3′ and 4′,  count the amount of windows you have at these dimensions, know that you would need 2 pieces of each dimension to cover each window, (remember to add 6″ per side for miter cuts).

For convenience, it is best to round up to the nearest foot. Let’s say that you have 14 windows at these dimensions, your formula would look something like this; 4 x 2 x 14=112 or 28/4′ (to cover the 3’6″) and 5 x 2 x 14 =140 or 28/5′ (to cover the 4’6″).  Continue this process with all remaining doors/windows.  Apply the same method when totaling base and crown molding but this time take the dimensions of your room (i.e. 8×10, 10×12 etc.), for each room you would need two lengths of each dimension, (don’t forget to add minimum 6″ for miter cuts!). Take your list to your material supplier and they should be able to work with your requested lengths by maximizing their stock inventory.  Remember to account for contingencies such as cutting errors, material damage, or missing footage.  We recommend adding approximately 10% on top of your order to ensure that you will have all of the material you will need.

For more tips and resources, check out this link to a very helpful database of measurement and estimating calculators, http://bit.ly/2K1rsdP. McCoy Millwork is committed to providing quality millwork, expert advice, and exceptional customer service

By Jessica Hite-Communications Coordinator

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