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Welcome To Alfieri Renovations

How to Choose the Right Company for Custom Trim Work

Licensed and Insured Home Contractor

“Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky. Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same”.  Trim work changes your little box into a building of distinction.  Trim profiles are the architectural details of different historical building designs.  Historic homes have character from intricate moldings that often indicate wealth and power.  Money allowed for custom work.  However, modern tools and materials have brought trim accents into the realm of the average budget.

Professional trim carpenters cut, install, and repair trim and moldings found on windows, baseboards, doors, and ornamental features.  They ensure the seamless transition from old trim to new trim.  Trim carpentry needs to look defined in detail, shape, appearance, and texture.  The most popular places to add trim include mantles, doorways, ceilings, windows, and built-in shelving units.  A small room appears larger with custom crown molding on the ceiling.

Professional trim carpenters level doors and windows to ensure trim lays correctly.  They install exterior and interior doors and lock sets.  They install handrails on stairs.  They install custom design trim for high-end custom buildings.  They design and build custom woodwork pieces in high-end commercial and residential properties.  They do concrete formwork in commercial apartment complexes.  Overall, custom trim work adds personality and distinction to your little box.

Molding versus Trim

Trim is a general term that refers to all the molding in a home.  Molding is a broad classification of millwork in the home that adds nonstructural detail and beauty to a room.  Millwork is any type of woodwork that is produced in a mill and used for a decorative purpose.  Home moldings can be made of wood, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), press board (MDF), or engineered wood.  Most homes have a mix of different trims.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is a popular choice in many homes for its low cost.  MDF is machine pressed wood that is uniform in size and shape which saves time in matching wood grains.  MDF is soft and easily bent to the shape of walls that are not flat.  MDF is prone to damage and chips because it is soft, but it does not split when hammered or screwed in place.  MDF does not work well in high humidity or high moisture areas like bathrooms, basements, or shore homes.

Solid wood comes at a higher price tag.  The natural quality that makes wood warm and moldable, also means imperfections.  Solid wood can bulge and warp in high humidity or wet environments.  Solid wood can split when hammered or nailed and can be time consuming to match size and shapes for certain projects.   However, solid wood is easy to install on flat surfaces.

Popular types of Trim

  • Baseboards are installed where the floor meets the wall.
  • Crown molding is installed where the wall meets the ceiling.
  • Window casing frames the windows.
  • Door Casing is functional and decorative frame to the doors.
  • Chair rail is wall molding installed three feet above and parallel to the floor. Designed to protect the wall from chair back damage, it is now used primarily as a decorative accent.
  • Wainscotting decorative paneling that covers the lower 2/3 of a wall. Some types are capped with chair rail trim.  The purpose was to protect the walls from chair damage and to provide insulation in winter.  The most common styles are board and batten, beadboard, flat-panel, and raised-panel.  It is used in dining rooms and staircases.
  • Board and batten are a siding and paneling style that uses narrow strips of wood placed over the joints of wide boards for a geometric, layered effect.
  • Beadboard is a row of narrow wood planks lined up vertically on the wall. In between each wood plank is a little indentation or ridge also known as a bead. The vertical boards are capped off by strips of horizontal molding, which finish off the seams.
  • Tray ceiling has a recessed center that is a foot higher than the ceiling around the perimeter. Used to hide duct work, it delivers an elegant finish to a bedroom or living room.
  • Coffered ceiling is a decorative feature that has a series of sunken panels in the shape of an octagon or square.
  • Shiplap is vertical boards that fit together so that each board overlaps by resting on the board below it. Popular in southwestern design.
  • Tongue and groove are vertical boards that join and interlock.
  • Returns are pieces of trim that create a conspicuous termination giving the feeling that the trim has turned and disappeared into the wall.
  • Scarf joints are unnoticeable and smooth as two trim pieces are joined in one continuous piece.
  • Reveals are linear offset between two trim pieces that run parallel to each other and look like a little ledge.
  • Coping joints bring two trims together and are distinctive in quality trim work.
  • Fill-ins plug the gaps between the trim and the wall.

Professional trim carpenters are familiar with the benefits and limitations of the different trim styles and applications.  Before starting your project consult a professional trim carpenter, it will save money and frustration.  More importantly, it will turn your tiny box into a show piece that reflects your personality and taste.


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