When you replace door molding and replace window molding, it’s like giving a whole room of your house a facelift in an afternoon. Old, cracked door molding and window molding can make a room feel dingy and unkempt. Fresh new door molding and window molding pulls the look of the room together with clean, polished detail. You can replace door molding and window molding in a room in a matter of hours, or easily replace all the door and window molding in your home over a single weekend. The process is simple, even for DIYers who have only recently mastered basic carpentry and power tool skills, and the results will make your home look its best, and can even raise the resale value of your house. Read on for a step by step guide that will teach you all the tips and tricks you need to replace door molding and replace window molding.
To replace interior molding and exterior molding around windows and doors in your home, you won’t need many supplies or tools, but you will need a few things that are simple to find at any hardware store, and make welcome additions to any home improvement fan’s toolkit. You’ll need:
Two flat pry bars
Large, flat wood scraps
Power Miter Saw
4d finish nails
6d finish nails
Stain or Paint (if desired)
Remove Old Molding
Before you can replace window molding or door molding, you’ll need to remove the old trim. To do this without causing damage to your wall surface, use gentle leverage rather than brute force. Take a flat pry bar, and slip it behind the trim. Then, slide a wood scrap between the handle of the pry bar and the wall, so that the pry bar never directly touches any area of the wall except for the area that is hidden under the molding. This way, the visible wall is protected from any gouges the pry bar might make. Insert your other pry bar on the other side of the molding, near the window. Working slowly, force the two pry bars in opposite directions, so that they are both pushing up the middle of the molding strip. Continue this process, working along the full length of the old molding until it is completely loose from the wall.
Mark Your Setback Line
Once your old molding is gone and you have a clean slate to work with, it’s time to mark your setback line. The setback line is your guideline when you replace door molding and replace window molding, so it’s crucial to be precise with your measurements. If you’re replacing the window molding on a double-hung window, you won’t need a setback line, because window moldings on double-hung windows are traditionally installed flush with the edge of the jamb. However, if you’re replacing the trim around a door, a casement window, or another type of window, mark a setback line 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the jamb. You’ll install your window molding or door molding flush with this line.
Prepare Your Vertical Strips
Hold a strip of molding up on the wall vertically, lining it up so that it is flush with the setback line, or in the case of a double-hung window, flush with the jamb. Once you have the molding strip placed where exactly where you’re planning to install it, mark the wood at the point where the horizontal setback lines meet it. If you are replacing door molding, mark the top join. If you are replacing window molding, mark the join at the top and at the bottom. Now, use this marking to miter your corners. Take your power miter saw, and cut the molding at a 45 degree angle using the mark you just made as a guide to where to start your miter cut. If the window or door you’re trimming isn’t exactly square, make test cuts on a series of wood scraps and try them on the window until they fit perfectly, then cut your molding at the same angle. Once you’ve got one vertical strip prepared, cut a second strip of molding to the same measurements. Now, drill pilot holes along both edges of the visible face of the molding strips: one hole every twelve inches is a safe bet.
Attach The Vertical Molding
To put your new window molding or door molding up, start by driving 4d finish nails through the pilot holes along the edge of your molding trim near the jamb, following the setback line as a placement guide. Then, secure the outer edge of your molding strip by driving 6d finish nails through the holes along that edge. This will hold your vertical molding strips securely to the wall.
Add The Horizontal Molding
Now, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself: you’re more than halfway done with the project of replacing your window molding or door molding! All you have left to do is prepare and attach your horizontal molding, then secure the corner joins. Start by measuring the visible horizontal setback line that runs between your vertical moldings. Then, cut your horizontal strip (or two strips, if it’s for window molding), mitering the ends using the same 45 degree angle or wood scrap method you used for the vertical molding strips. Drill pilot holes along the flat face of your horizontal molding strips, then attach them to the wall along the setback line using 4d finish nails along the edge closest to the window or door, and 6d nails along the other edge, just as you did with the vertical molding strips.
Finish The Details
Add a few final touches, and you’re finished replacing your window molding or door molding! Lock-nail the joints in the corners, fill in the nail holes for a smooth surface, and then stain or paint the trim to your liking. First, drill pilot holes on the thin side of the vertical molding where it joins the horizontal strips. That way, you can secure the corner joins by driving a nail through the side of the vertical strip and into the horizontal strip. Drive a 4d finish nail into the hole to lock the joint. Then, use your nail set to set all your nail heads below the molding surface for added security and cosmetic appeal. Fill the holes made by the nails with wood putty for a smooth appearance. Stain or paint the trim to your liking, then relax and enjoy your handiwork. You’ve finished replacing your old door molding or window molding with new molding!